What do you say when the customer objects?

In recent weeks we have talked about the number of calls you might make, the number of connections you might get, and the number of appointments you might book. If you are busy with activity you will find that most consumers are raising lots of objections. Sometimes these objections are so good we don’t even realise it’s actually an objection from the client.

A great example of a hidden objection is when your working with a potential client who says they will call when they are ready in a few months time. Most consumers are looking for a way to let you down gently. When the customer says they’re about six months away, reply with ‘Okay, great, and so what are you hoping will change by the time we get to six months down the track?’ From here they will start to reveal all of their objections.

The challenge is that most of us get caught up with the objections, when in all reality the easiest way to overcome them is to ask questions where it becomes difficult for the customer to actually say no.

Remember, the secret to consistency in your real estate business revolves around three key things: First of all that you’ve got a consistent message. So when people say to you, what’s happening in the marketplace? You can always say things are going really well but I could always do with one or two more houses to sell. The second is that the communication must be relevant to them and their situation; i.e., new properties that have been listed, properties that have been sold, buyer activity, etc. And finally, the communication needs to be as frequent as required in order to be able to move the conversation for the client.

Skills you need in that moment of challenge

Because of this, it is important to know that you must build vital skills long before you need them.

One thing that will separate you from the rest is continuously building your market knowledge. Not many people know what market knowledge is. Getting an email alert from realestate.com.au about new listings is not market knowledge.

To build great market knowledge take all of the new listings that have come to the market, physically print out a brochure, and put the list in a folder that carries all of the properties on the market today. Organise them by price range and continuously review them.

The next thing to do is go out and view as many properties as possible. Get to as many open for inspections as possible so you can get an idea of the value proposition of the property, not just its listed price. Doing this will allow you to build pricing knowledge.

Market knowledge is important as it helps you with 3 types of people:

• Buyers
• Potential market appraisals
• Existing sellers

To be a true property professional you’ve got to spend time researching market knowledge. Now, the great thing is, if your days or market in your area are 30 or 60 days, it will only take you 30 or 60 days to have really good knowledge of every single property that’s actually in the marketplace. The challenge is that, when you think you’re too good to be doing the market knowledge stuff, you’ll stop doing the activities that you know will actually lead to significant momentum in your career.

So today we offer a vitally important message for you: If you’re not already doing it, I want you to spend more time at actually building your market knowledge so that you can provide better advice, not only to your buyers, but also to your potential sellers and your existing clients.

How to substantially increase your number of listings this Spring

As we head into the spring one of the big things to start to think about is how you can substantially increase the number of listings that you’re holding. To do this, it is important to know what brings people to the market place and the sort of knowledge and information they need to make that decision.

It takes about 42 days to sell a home, and about 90 days from the day the signboard goes up to when the vendor moves out. So if people want to be out by December, it means they need to have their property on the market no later than the first week of September.

The number one lead source of most real estate agents we coach is their OFI list. Here you can work with people within the market place that are looking to bring a trade-in home to the market. The challenge for most agents is that they do too many opens in the lower price range where the people who purchase generally have no trade-in or their opening properties that have already been on the market for longer then 30 days.

There’s an old school rule that is sort of known in the real estate industry and it’s called the 7/2/2 rule. If a property has had seven inspections, or two open houses, or two weeks in the marketplace and it doesn’t have an offer, then we should actually have a price reduction. And the reason why that’s critically important is that if the property has a price reduction then it’s more likely to attract buyers.

If you actually want to really boom your numbers, what I’m going to suggest that you do is that we come into the month August spend a lot of time in getting on the phones and get as many people to your open for inspections as possible. If a potential seller walks into an open home and sees a large number of buyers about they then make judgments about what they perceive is actually happening in the market place. It also helps from a buying perspective because the buyer feels a greater level of competition, also known as compression selling, thinking that therefore they may be need to make an offer in order to be able to buy the property and do the transaction.

What I’m going to suggest that you do is that you really start to think of your business as a business. If you do the activities, you should get the results. If you’re not doing the activities you won’t get the results. What I know is that in creating an attraction-based business you want people coming to you.

What numbers do you measure and how do you manage them so you keep yourself on track?

There are two types of key performance indicators (KPIs); we have soft KPIs and hard KPIs. In training we focus mostly on hard KPIs, which are your listings, sales and income.  These are critically important as they lead to the end result, being the income that you produce.

Most agents don’t spend enough time tracking their numbers, particularly on the listings, sales and income side as they don’t understand how that correlates with the type of income they want to produce and the type of life that they want to live.

Soft key performance indicators are the things that lead to the hard key performance indicators.  They are the actions or the undertakings that you do in order to be able to get that ideal outcome. Things like tracking the number of calls you dial compared to the number of connections you make. About 50% of all calls you make will end up with a connection. About 40% of these move into a position where they lead to an appointment; whether it is a buyer appointment, a market appraisal or a listing appointment.

Make your calls in 45 minute time frames, aiming for between 8 to 12 connections. One of the most successful ways to close for an appointment whilst you’re on the phone is pretty simple.  Use the script “It would be great to see you.  It would be good to catch up.  I can do something tomorrow at either 2:00 or 4:00; what works best?”

Far too many people only measure one side of the equation. Track the soft KPIs – the number of call sessions, how many calls were actually made, how many resulted in a connection with someone and how many appointments were booked.  These lead to the hard KPI’s – the results that come out of the appointments in terms of listings, sales and income produced.

Getting on the phone and speaking to the customers you already have will actually transmit more business for you more than any other thing inside of the real estate marketplace.

Do you copy your competitors?

A lot of people copy what their competitors do. Every week most agents send out a buyer update email with a list of OFI’s, new properties to the market, etc. Over time that list builds and builds and you are never really sure if anyone is reading the email or not.

It is time to change how we market to our buyers and time to get on the phone and call them after they have received the buyer email for about four weeks in a row. Use this call to start to re-qualify the client. Repeat this process over and over again with the client.

The weekly email to buyers is there to build brand awareness and move a buyer to conversion. Most agents are stuck in brand awareness mode and don’t spend enough time in conversion. We don’t spend enough time understanding each client.

Here are a few simple things you can be doing to send more relevant information to your clients.

  • Introduce a potential seller email where you focus on case studies about properties that have gone to the market and sold. Explain the number of enquiries, inspections, etc.
  • Send a client testimonial video with one of your existing sellers speaking about how good you were selling their home.
  • At the end of every month, send a list of all properties you have sold to potential sellers and past market appraisals. This will help you build your social proof around what you are doing.
  • Send a really short email to all the people in your database saying ‘Hey, John, I just thought I’d quickly check in.  Have you found anything yet?’

We’ve got to start to get a lot smarter in the way that we actually work relationships and how we work our databases. Think about it this way:  If your email looks like marketing, smells like marketing, sounds like marketing, it probably is marketing.  And if the customer sees it as marketing, they’ll probably just delete it.  If, however, your email looks as though your grandma wrote it, so it’s nice and personal; you’ll actually start to build much deeper relationships.

Email is only one of the tools that we use as a part of our effective prospecting.  But what you need to do is understand the medium and how you actually work with the customer.

How to communicate more effectively

As a real estate agent, you have two different types of people that you get to work with. The first one is the people that you already know, made up of past market appraisals, buyers, past clients, etc. The second group of people are those that you want to get to know, these are potential sellers that sit inside of your marketplace.

Attraction based marketing is when the customer comes to you, the secondary type of marketing is when you target them. Inside our real estate office we actually don’t really understand the type of marketing that actually works for these two types of people.

People you know is far easier to target as you have already built up a relationship with them, however people you don’t know you have to go out and seek to get them into your database to start to build the relationship. One of the greatest challenges inside our business is trying to do both at the same time, however we aren’t doing either very well.

I want you to start thinking about the categories inside your database and focusing on how you you work the category. The five key groups within your database is;

Potential Sellers
Market Appraisals
Current Clients
Past Clients

We need to have a process in place to work with each of the client categories, whether it is just making contact with buyers with new properties on market or following up with past clients and potential sellers about how their buying process is going.

Your challenge for this week is to get on the phone and start to call buyers, your potential sellers, your past market appraisals, past clients, and see how many face-to-face appointments that you can book.

What is a real estate pipeline?

We need to understand what a real estate pipeline really is. The first part of a pipeline is knowing when your potential clients are looking to come to the market, and communicating to them on a regular and consistent basis.

Most people when you ask ‘When are you planning on coming to the market?’ will tell you in 3, 6 or 12 months, and you will generally call them at that time and they have already listed or sold their property with another agent.

It is time to start to be sceptical about what your client says and ask them what they are planning to achieve with putting the home on the market down the track. Ask them the questions:

  • What’s going to be different by the time we get to that point?
  • If I had to buyer today, could I mention your place or should I sell them something else?

Have real conversations with your customers, via the phone, or even better, face to face. When you are working with a customer, you need to learn how to get a deep understanding of the reason why the client is moving. Most people move because of only a few reasons:

  • Birth
  • Death
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Relocation
  • Financial gain
  • Financial loss
  • Lifestyle.

When you’re working with that potential seller, you should be asking more questions around:

  • What’s the reason for the move?
  • When did you want to be there?
  • If you could do it faster, would you do it?
  • What are kind of the road blockages?

Start to identify more of the objections around what the client is actually doing.  And if you can take those objections on board, then you start to work the relationship.

Moving the client into a market appraisal meeting is where they will work out the price of their property. What most agents don’t understand is when we deliver on price; it’s a red, orange or green light for the customer. At this point, we should be asking:

  • Is there is a particular price you need to get here?
  • If you didn’t get that price, would you be able to move?
  • What do you need me to do to help you to get to the next stages? Eg. Do you have a mortgage broker, solicitor, etc.

What I want you to do is have a look at all of your past market appraisals and all of the people that you know are thinking of selling. Get back on the phone and see – not if they’re ready to sell – but if you’re good enough to be able to get a face-to-face meeting with the client.  The more clients you can get face-to-face with; the more likely you’ll convert.