Category Archives: Buyers

What do I say when buyers call about my pending listing?

Getting buyers through the front door

What do I say when buyers call about my pending listing?

An agent recently told me that a buyer called about one of their listings that is under contract. I asked the agent how they handled the call and this is the response:

She was asking about my listing that is pending, so I let her know that if she had any questions, to feel free to ask and that if they can’t get this property, I can definitely help them find what they are looking for.

The offer of helping potential buyers with any additional questions is a good response, but I suggested the agent consider a more direct approach.

Mr./Ms. Buyer, As we discussed, the specific home you called about is under contract. I will keep you updated on the status of this home and I will inform you immediately should it come back on the market. In the meantime, let’s schedule a time this weekend to go out and visit similar homes in the area that match the size and price of this home.

You might want to try a more direct approach as well when dealing with home buyers calling on listings that are no longer available.

Staying connected. What to say when your customer is not ready to buy or sell.

stay connected with your customers

When the customer is not ready

There will be times when you meet a potential buyer or seller and the customer is not ready to move forward.  There are number of reasons why the customer has reached out to you for preliminary information but is not able to put their house on the market or purchase a home right now.

When this happens, you will want to make sure to follow up with the customer regularly using your CRM.  Once the customer has made it clear they are not ready to buy or sell,  I would suggest communicating the following:

Staying connected script

The real estate landscape will be different over the next 18 months (insert their time frame) so I will suspend my specific searching/researching for you and reestablish it again closer to your time frame for buying/selling.  With your permission, I will continue to provide you general information about the area.   In the meantime if I can be of any help at all please do not hesitate to call or email me.  I look forward to working with you again in the not too distant future.

Asking for permission to stay in touch regularly is important.  We don’t want to totally ignore them for 18 months only to discover their time frame changed and they forgot about us.

Using this simple script will help you stay in contact with and maintain a business relationship with customers not ready for your services.

Where can I find home buyers?

How does a new agent find buyers to work with?

New agents often ask when they first start with our Company; “Where can I find buyers?” As a new agent you have probably asked or thought the same thing as you begin you new career as a real estate sales person.

The simple answer is that buyers can be found everywhere.

  • Potential home buyers can be found all along your daily schedule. The clerk at the local convenience gasoline store could be a buyer or know of a potential home buyer.
  • The person busy making you your morning bagel may be thinking of buying a home.
  • The teller at your local bank taking your deposit or cashing your check may have thought about purchasing a house.
  • How about the waiter or waitress at lunch? It is possible that they are now ready to buy.
  • As you pull back into your drive way at the end of the work day, the neighbor you wave to as you enter your home might have a name of a relative looking to purchase a home.

Home buyers are scattered all through your busy day. The question you should be asking yourself instead of where can I find buyers, is do the buyers I encounter understand that I can sell them a home?

  • Did you hand your business card to any of those potential buyers mentioned above?
  • Did you invite them to check out you business Facebook page?
  • Do they receive your monthly email newsletter?

My answer to new agents is that they already know hundreds of buyers; they just need to know you.

What can you do to get the buyer committed?

The phone rings and a buyer is on the other end asking about the price of a home located at 111 Pick-a-name St.  Because this is your listing you can, in great detail, describe the home from the tile flooring to the new shingles on the roof.  However, the buyer only wants the price.

Your initial response to the buyer’s question is probably going to be along the lines of:

My name is Greg Staker. This is a great home you have called about, and may I ask your name.  Or your response might be; let me pull this information and send you an email or give you a call with the information, your contact information is? 

Your goal is to get the buyer’s contact information, find out what they want and then sell them what they want. More often than not you find out quickly that the person calling is not concerned about your goals.

Your goals are not the buyers

You are most likely one of several agents this buyer has called today or this week, asking about a house.  There is an old saying, why buy the cow when the milk is free, and this is played out daily in real estate offices throughout the country.  Inexperienced and less successful agents are more than happy to act as information providers without requiring any commitment from the buyer.  List prices or addresses are offered up freely to anonymous persons on the other end of the line.  In return, the potential buyer is unwilling to offer up the information you have requested and will counter you with any of the following excuses.

I just want to know the price.

I am looking for a friend.

I want to drive by the home.

Sound familiar?

When encountering those excuses, many agents offer the buyer the same service as other agents in hopes of starting a customer relationship with the buyer.  How many times have you said or heard someone say this to a buyer?

I have access to all of the listings for sale in this area; there is no need for you to call anyone else.

 It is better for you to pick an agent and let them do the leg work for you so that you don’t miss out on the latest listings? 

A few agents even give in to magical thinking; somehow, someway this buyer will just call them back.   The only thing of “value” the agent offers is their cell phone number.

I’ll provide you with my cell phone number and if you like the home or see another home you’re interested in, give me a call.

When you offer the buyer the same value as the agent before you, and the agent after you, what reason would the buyer have to commit to you? 

If they commit to you in the small things, the big things will follow.

 The buyer does not know you. There are no reasons for the buyer to feel comfortable enough to commit to anything.  Fear creates trust issues.  Buyer fears are based on their uncertainty, inexperience, bad experiences, or feelings of being rushed into a decision.  Establishing a relationship with the buyer or getting a commitment from them is best handled in small steps. 

The first step in relationship building is in letting them know right from the start that you can provide them with something of real value. Immediately after their initial inquiry about price or location you may want to respond in a manner similar to the following.

You may be happy to learn that my services as an agent are free to you.  Additionally, I am able to provide you with the information you need to purchase the best home for the best price.

You just told them you can provide them with what the 2009 National Association of REALTORS survey indicated that buyers want most from a real estate agent.  Help in finding the right home to purchase.  Initially, you’ve not asked for anything from them, which helps to ease their fears, you have also eased the fear of uncertainty as it relates to what this is going to cost them by your use of the word “free”. 

From your initial offer you will then move to the next step in helping them feel at ease.  When a buyer feels at ease, it helps them to open up to the possibility of their trust and commitment to you.  I suggest holding back from boring housing statistics which could result in you coming across to the buyer as cold and uninvolved and instead replace those stats with a story about the home or neighborhood that a friend might tell over a glass of tea. 

Let me provide you with the specific information you have requested.  By-the-way, my name is Greg Staker.  You are asking about the price of the home at 111 Pick-a-name St.?  I love that area.  I remember walking down that street on my way to school or the community park is a great place for picnic, or my granddaughter took her first ride on a swing close to the house you’re asking about.

If they are residents of your community, you might then add a follow up question, perhaps asking what school they attended or you could ask them a “do you remember when” question about the city or community. If they are new to the area, then your follow up might include an additional highlight about the area; you could tell them they will want to visit the local library or a popular downtown store.

So far, in addition to offering them something of value, you have shown them that you know the area, live in the area and can help them get to know the area.  You spoke to them about growing up in the community and a few of the good features to be found.  This helps to take you from a salesperson in their eyes and turn you into more of a neighbor/person. 

Your next step is to ask one small favor of them.

Ok, I have the information here.  I am sorry, when I introduced myself I did not ask you for your name?

At this point it is reasonable to expect the buyer feels comfortable enough to offer you their name.  Once you know who you are speaking with you can proceed with building a relationship by again offering them something of value.

By the way Mr. Buyer since we are talking about price, did you know that the median sales price of a home in this area is $$$$?  That is right, $$$$.  Half of the homes sold this year have been lower and half have been higher than $$$$!  Is it your goal to purchase a home lower than, higher than or around the median sales price? 

You are hoping to spend lower?  Great, there are 1,000 homes listed right now for sale that are lower than the median sales price.  The particular price of the home you’re inquiring about is $$$.  If you’d be willing to provide me with your email address/phone number, I’d be happy to screen the current list of homes in your price range.  I can also include size and location or other criteria you’re seeking and provide you with the addresses and prices, if that would be convenient for you?

 Earlier I discussed how every agent the buyer speaks to will offer to provide them with information on all houses for sale in their area.  But you are the only agent who will offer to provide them with more.

Not only can I provide you with a list of homes for sale in that area, I can take it one step further. 

  • I can provide you a list of homes that are being sold with a home warranty for your added protection against costly repair work after you move in. 
  • I can provide you a list of homes that have had new roofs or tiling or carpet or windows, etc installed within the past year. 
  • I can provide you a list of homes where the seller is offering to pay a portion of your closing costs. 
  • I can provide you a list of homes where the seller has indicated they are motivated to sell, perhaps resulting in a better deal for you. 
  • I can provide you a list of homes complete with a comparison chart of what similar homes have sold for so that you are comfortable you are not paying too much.

You can go on and on adding to the list or including features or concessions that the buyer has indicated is important to them, thus providing even more value to a task that everyone says they can do, it is just that you can do the same task, better.

Once the buyer gives you a name and contact information, you are half way there to commitment, to allowing you to assist them with the purchase of their home.  The rest of the way will require that you continue to offer them service and care of real value that other agents do not offer.

Using the steps above will help you get a commitment that allows you to start building a customer service relationship from buyers who call you while on floor or from your advertisements.  – Remember to listen, listen, listen and be sincere with your potential customer, instead of sounding like you’re reading, well, a script. –  From there it is up to you to continue providing the buyer with reasons to trust and have confidence in you in order for you to maintain that commitment with them throughout your sales career.

Find out what the buyer wants, give them what they want, if they do not buy, find out what they want.

It is not unusual to listen to an agent talk about their career buyer. You know the career buyer, right? They are always looking but never buying. Either they place offers that are ridiculously low or they never make an offer at all because they just can’t find the right home.

If you are going to work with buyers you should follow these steps:

Find them, find out what they want, give them what they want, if they do not buy, find out what they want.

Finding buyers

How you find buyers is up to you. The best way to find a buyer is to hang out where they hang out. Historically buyers have been know to hang out at open houses, they have been seen calling or stopping in an office during floor time, buyers have also been spotted associating with people you already know and an increasing number of buyers hang out around the internet.

Find out what they want

This is the qualification period in your relationship with the buyer. Qualifying a buyer goes beyond their financing. Finding out what a buyer wants involves understanding what type of home – style, pricing, location, enhancements – will motivate them to make a serious offer in an appropriate time frame.

Give them what they want

An agent who thoroughly knows the market will be able to easily identify all of the homes that match the buyer’s criteria. These are the homes you will want to present to the buyer and show them over the next few days.

Uh oh, the buyer is not buying you better find out what they want

So you have found the buyer, listened to them and thought you found out what they want but now they are not buying. It is time to re-qualify them in order to avoid having your very own career buyer.

Agent: Mr. Buyer when we first met we discussed in great detail the type of home you were interested in. You told me how many bedrooms you needed, the area you desired and you provided me with a price range that you would be willing to spend for the right home. You also indicated that you wanted to be in your new home within the next 60 days. Have your criteria or time frame changed?

The buyer’s answers to your questions will let you know whether you should modify your search criteria, hand them off to another agent in your office as a referral or stop showing them homes until they are really ready to buy.

Qualifying and then continuing to qualify your buyers during the buying process will result in you closing more transactions.

What is the customer’s first impression of you?

As the floor agent you need to be keenly concerned with the first impression the customer has of you when they walk into your office. During this first meeting the customer will form an opinion about you and your company within the first few minutes. When a customer walks into your office, what you do, what you say and how you act, is when the customer will form their opinion of you and your company.

You need to stand, smile and extend your hand in greeting whenever someone walks into your office. This will give the customer a warm, welcome feeling. Once you have determined that they are interested in buying or selling a home, take them away from the reception area and back into an office where they can feel comfortable to discuss their situation in private.

You should avoid; answering a ringing phone while they are with you or trying to conduct business with them at the front desk.

Customers who walk in are usually potential home buyers. Their expectation is that you will help them find a house. Take your time and work on building a relationship with them before you start hammering them for financial information. Make small talk first, why did they stop into your office? Do they live in the area? Have they lived here long? What do they think about the amazing weather, the local sports team? Let them get comfortable with you and you with them. Keep an eye on their body language and adjust your conversation accordingly. Ask them what type of house they are interested in and then listen. Find out if they are first time home buyers or repeat buyers and ask them if they have questions about the process; listen and answer . Once they feel you care and that you will listen, they will be more inclined to talk about the personal stuff like financing and getting qualified.

A great first impression followed up by great customer service will result in a customer who will turn to you for real estate assistance throughout your career.

What day(s) are you free to look at houses?

There are a lot of buyers taking advantage of the home buying tax credit, the low mortgage rates and the low prices created by bank owned and short sale listings. As an agent your task is to find these buyers and then make sure that they use you when they purchase their next home.

The fact is there are a lot more real estate agents in any given market than there are home buyers. Being that the competition is so fierce you will want to do all that you can to keep the buyer loyal to you throughout the buyer’s house hunting process. To help accomplish this I would suggest you add the following question to your buyer pre-qualification script.

What day(s) are you free to look at houses?

Knowing the answer to this question is crucial to your success of being the agent that writes the offer for them. Whatever day or days they are going to be free to look at homes or drive by homes or call about homes they find online or in the paper should be the same day or days you are free to look at homes with them or drive by homes with them or be available to take their call about homes they have seen online or in the paper.

Of course with multiple customers and your busy schedule it is not possible to always be available when your buyers are but you will increase your sales production if you strive to be available more often than not. Make sure ask the buyer about their schedule; are they off work during the week? Do they have the entire weekend off? Can they get free on weeknights? Additionally make sure they know that you maintain a schedule that is conducive to helping buyers find and purchase homes so that they never feel like they are “bothering” you.

The floor agent who asks this question up front will close more transactions than the agents who never find out what the buyer’s schedule is.

Agent websites are just as important as the company site

Don’t have a website? Or do you have a website but the website never results in business? Some agents rely on the company website and see no need in having a website of their own nor do they see the need in spending time and money on their personal website to make it productive. This attitude may result in them missing out on additional customers.

According to the National Association of Realtors ® 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Florida Report buyers who used the internet indicated that when searching for a home they used agent websites and company websites nearly the same. 46% of all buyers responded that they use a company website in their home search and 45% of all buyers surveyed reported using an agent website.

What are the advantages to a home buyer in using an agent website when searching for a home? Agent sites tend to be more local in nature and include more that just homes for sale. Buyers can find addresses and detailed information on the community including schools, shopping, and government offices. They can receive a wealth of information about buying a home, financing, inspections and related issues dealing with the home buying process. Buyers can receive all of this and also have the ability to search for homes on the agent site.

If the same amounts of buyers are looking to agent sites as a source for home buying information as there are looking at company sites, shouldn’t you be looking at your personal site a little closer too?