STRUCTURE YOUR BUYER CONSULTATION TO GENERATE MORE OFFERS FASTER
Once you’ve honed in on an Agent-Ready lead, the buyer consultation is your next best opportunity to learn about their motivations and timeline—it’s also where you can lay the ground work for quickly getting to that first offer.
When you nail the buyer consultation, you give clarity to the process, set expectations and lay the foundation for a happy working relationship. Let’s take a look at how the buyer consultation can be used to drive Offer Generation from prospective buyers.
Face-to-face meetings should always be top priority. We know today’s home buyers are busy, but in-person interaction is important when you’re forming a relationship with your client. These meetings allow you to read your buyer’s non-verbal cues and show them your dedication and high level of service by taking the time to sit down one-on-one.
Nevertheless, sometimes your buyers simply can’t come into the office, or the clock is ticking on an active listing that may get scooped up by other buyers. Don’t let your process get in the way of working with buyers who are looking to get in and out of the market quickly. Your
willingness to be flexible and mobile from the beginning will not only impress active buyers,
it may just be what wins you a quicker-than-usual commission.
STEP ONE GET TO KNOW
The buyer consultation is the puzzle piece that takes your understanding of your clients to the next level. You’ll learn their needs, qualifications and contingencies, and you’ll gain an overall sense for whether or not you’re able to help them achieve their goals. Most importantly, you’ll understand what it will take to get these buyers to make their first offer.
It’s not the time to overwhelm them with an in-depth discussion regarding each stage of the transaction, but come prepared with literature or marketing collateral that they can take home to learn more about what matters most to them.
This is also the perfect opportunity to establish communication guidelines and expectations. Ask buyers how they’d like to be contacted and if they have any off-limits times. Determine whether they like to receive phone calls and voicemails, or emails and texts. Ask them how they use other technologies like mobile devices and online search portals.
To develop a foundation of trust and comfort between you and your buyers, you’ll need to:
- Set Expectations: The home buying process is full of ups and downs, moments of high stress and periods of calm. Educate your buyers on the ins and outs of the process to
make them more successful and engaged when it’s time to make an offer.
- Build a Working Relationship: Understand how your buyers like to work, communicate and make decisions. By setting the stage now you can all be more successful working together in the coming weeks.
- Assess Intentions: While this is harder to do, get a sense for the intentions these buyers have. Are they sure of what they want, or uncommitted to the home buying process?
STEP TWO ASK THE RIGHT
In Step 2, you’ll want to learn about the client’s ultimate goal in doing business with you, and their motivation for buying a home. This is important because:
- When your client is aware of their true motivations, they can make important decisions with better clarity.
- When you know what’s truly important to your client, you are in a better position to act within their best interests.
- When you and the client are on the same page, you can accelerate the Offer Generation process.
You can uncover a client’s true motivation by asking insightful, thought-provoking questions and remembering to dig deeper. Seek to understand what’s important by using a questioning technique called What’s Important About ______ to You?
WHAT’S IMPORTANT ABOUT ______ TO YOU?
This is a technique that sales professionals in all types of industries have used for generations to get to the root of what their clients are trying to accomplish. It’s based on the principle that if you ask “What’s important about ______?” enough, you’ll get a clear understanding of what it will take for these clients to feel comfortable making an offer and their timeline for doing so.
If your buyers say they want to live in a certain neighborhood, dig deeper by probing each answer with clarifying questions…
You: What’s important about living in that neighborhood to you?
John: Because we need to be close to our mother-in-law.
You: What’s important about being closer to your mother-in-law to you?
Mary: Because when we have kids, she’ll be watching them during the week.
You: What’s important to you about having someone watch your kids during the week?
Mary: We both plan on continuing with our careers after the baby arrives.
When you’ve reached a natural stopping point in this dialogue, you’ll be in the best position to offer professional advice. You’ll know the client’s motivations and you’ll be able to recommend an action plan to fulfill their ultimate goal.
In the above example, you’ve learned that your clients are planning on having kids, and that the mother-in-law will be an important supporter, helping both of them fulfill their professional aspirations.
Maybe now you’ll focus their home search in a great school district, looking for properties that include a mother-in-law suite, a park around the corner and are close to the business corridor. Getting to the bottom of what is important to your clients can provide opportunities
to make your expertise shine.
- Why are you looking to buy a home now? What type of home are you looking for?
- What is important to you about location?
- How important is a large backyard and outdoor entertaining?
- Are you looking for a home that is move-in ready? Are you open to remodeling?
- What types of features are important to you?
- What is your price range? Have you been pre-approved?
- What are your top 3 priorities when searching for a home?
- How soon would you like to be in your new home?
- Do you see any obstacles that would prevent you from moving forward with an offer if we find the right home today?
STEP THREE LOCK IN THE
Ask your buyers to take the time to write down their top five priorities. If you’re meeting with a couple, ask them to write down their priorities separately – this can reveal whether or not their priorities are aligned. If they are not aligned, this is the opportunity to address what is truly a priority to them as a couple and what compromises will be made.
More importantly, however, asking your buyers to write down their priorities gives them ownership over the experience.
You’ll also be able to reference these priorities to drive towards an offer making decision. For example: “Mary and John, we’ve found a home that meets all of your top priorities. Tell me, are you ready to make an offer on this home?” This simple step can keep your buyers focused throughout the process.
- Have each buyer write and share with you their top priorities independently of their spouse, roommate or partner.
- Save these lists for use in the home search and closing process to identify potential homes and reinforce decision making.
STEP FOUR ESTABLISH YOUR
After you’ve taken time to interview your active buyers, walk them through the basics of the home buying process.
You’ll want to discuss how you’ll work on their behalf, and how you can help them find the best house and the best price. This is a great time to elaborate on your knowledge of the local market and the neighborhood they’re interested in, your experience level and negotiation skills – the things that separate you from the competition.
One of the most effective ways to establish credibility is by sharing success stories about (and references from) the people you’ve helped in the past. Be prepared with a variety of stories so you can draw parallels between past success and the results your clients can expect.
They have done research on their own and have an expectation of how the process should look. Giving them an overview can reassure them that they can trust you to guide them quickly and successfully to the right home for them.
- Demonstrate expertise and professionalism by providing buyers with a clear overview of the home buying process.
- Establish credibility by sharing similar success stories and references.
- Introduce home buyer collaboration tools and explain how they will be used. Your clients will expect your data and technology to be far more accurate and powerful than what they are used to.
- Determine if buyers search more on their phones, tablets or desktops and if they rely on a particular search portal for their independent research.
Today’s home buyers want to know that their concerns, priorities and questions are being addressed. They’ve heard the horror stories of real estate purchases gone bad and want to protect themselves with a security blanket of information.
One way to put them at ease is to de-mystify the process, including the anxiety-inducing parts of making an offer and purchasing a home. While it’s too early to talk about the closing docs, it is a good time to explain what a purchase agreement looks like, what escrow consists of and more.
By reviewing these documents up front you can eliminate questions that can be time
consuming and costly when it’s time to make an offer. You can use the documents as
a teaching aid and talk about the current dynamics of your market to help your clients
understand what to expect when it’s time to write their first offer.
- Be empathetic and available. Active listening can uncover key buyer motivations and insights that can help you be more successful in meeting their needs.
- Answer questions completely and transparently. Encourage discussion and ensure comprehension before moving on.
- Provide FAQs to help buyers think through the different elements of the process.
- Set the stage for an open and ongoing dialogue early to build trust with potential buyers.
- Review the purchase agreement with your clients and explain the various elements included.
- Set expectations about the current market conditions and the offer process for properties in your area.
Use insights gained from client behavior on your Offer Generation platform along with client input from the buyer consultation to assess the likelihood of closing quickly. Balance their time table against your other leads to ensure you’re prioritizing them effectively among your other clients and prospects.
POST CONSULTATION ACTION ITEMS:
- Reconcile consultation feedback with buyer search behavior to assess readiness and likelihood to buy.
- Prioritize buyers among your other opportunities based on their qualifications, timeline and motivation.
- Set reminders, CRM touchpoints and other processes into motion based on their current stage.