The Qualifying Conversation
Have you ever rushed out to show a home to a potential buyer only to have them no show?
Have you ever arrived at a come list me call to find out you are actually competing against three other Realtors?
Have you ever had a deal collapse when the buyers financing fell through?
These and many other hardships in the life of a Realtor can be avoided by getting better (much better) at properly qualifying your opportunities.
Before we talk about the process we need to talk about the mindset. Why do you fail to properly qualify your opportunities? Perhaps you don't have many leads - so when the phone calls you jump and run. Perhaps nobody has ever taught you the proper process. Whatever the reason you business and life will dramatically improve when you commit to properly qualifying your opportunities BEFORE you start to work with/for them.
So What Is A Qualifying Conversation?
In it's simplest terms it's a two-way conversation with a potential buyer/seller where you uncover their desired timing, motivation, what they want to buy, what they have to sell, and many other critical facts.
The best way to have a good qualifying conversation is face-to-face or voice-to-voice. It is possible to 'qualify' someone by text or email thread - however be cautious that a majority of communication happens beyond the words we say or type. Tone of voice, jokes/sarcasm, emotion are clear as day through voice or in person - it's a lot harder to get the real meaning of things when the responses are typed.
When Should You Have A Qualifying Conversation?
The simplest answer is as soon as possible in the relationship - and several times throughout the transaction. Real estate is never simple though so I suggest you audit yourself and place the qualifying conversation before you do any significant work or effort for your leads. The earlier you have the conversation the better positioned you are to actually service the client and win the business.
What's The Script?
I dislike the word script - it brings up thoughts of robotic speak and telemarketers. That's why I created the cheatsheet attached to this post - we get them printed as note-pads we can keep at our desk and in our bag. Think of it more as a conversation guide - the boxes provide reminders of what information you still needs while allowing the conversation to flow naturally.
Pick any question to start (my personal favourite opener is "...so...you're thinking of moving...." then shut up and let them talk. Be curious about there answers - the real answers often lie below the surface. Take good notes while they talk and don;t be afraid to tell them you are taking notes - they will appreciate how deeply you are listing and understand their situation.
Whenever the conversation slows or you have complete a box just switch to a new one and ask a new question - "That's great! so tell me out the home your looking to buy? Is being in [area] important to you? Tell me more"
The back side of the sheet is designed specifically to go deeper with home sellers - don't skip this step the more you know before you enter the house the better. Surprise are the enemy of the successful Realtor.
Many conversation and requests start digitally via email and text. When the client requests something from your just reply with "No problem - what the best time and # for a quick chat" - upgrade the conversation to the phone and do it right!
The absolute easiest way to have this conversation is face to face. When you are hosting an open house, showing a sign call on your listing, and any other time you find yourself in the same room as a client who has not had the full qualifying conversation - just jump it - people are much more talkative live. (of course you'll need to have the basic cheat-sheet memorized to pull this off well)
A simple follow-up call is great to complete the qualifying conversation between booking an appointment with a client and actually attending the appointment.
In a coming article we will share a more in depth contestation guide with suggested questions, probes, and objection handlers for the most common situations. Hope you enjoy!