If you estimate incorrectly, it can irreparably damage your relationship with a client and ruin your chance of gaining high-value referrals.
On the one hand, if you try to close the deal too soon people will think you’re overly aggressive and you’ll leave them with a foul taste in their mouth. On the other hand, if you wait too long you’re putting the ball in their court and they’ll resent you for moving too slowly. It’s a delicate balance to achieve, but it’s critical to get it right.
To make sure that you don’t lose them at this stage, there are some signs you should be on the lookout for. Not all of these signs are going to be present in every deal, but if they start to pile up you should move them to the “Closing” stage of your sales funnel.
People get impatient when they know what they want and they think something is standing in their way. This is especially true when what they want is a nice new property that they’ve been eyeing. Impatience is good to a certain extent, but be careful – if they think that you’re an obstacle standing in the way of closing quickly, they’re not going to react well.
Because of this, you need to keep an eye out for questions about long certain steps are going to take. If the questions are broad and vaguely worded – “How long does it typically take to wrap up closing?” – then you don’t need to be concerned. But, if the questions are shifting to a more aggressive tone and if the buyer is asking pointed questions about the number of days it takes to wrap up a specific point in the process, they’re ripe for closing.
Selling homes is a financial decision and money comes up at every stage of the process. However, the money discussions tend to change over time. In the beginning, it’s about the rough budget the potential homebuyer has in mind. Then, as the buyer starts to move towards closing, the financial discussions start to shift. Instead of broad generalities, they begin to ask more detailed questions about very specific points in contracts.
This is a clear sign that closing is on the buyer’s mind. Questions about the closing costs, inspection costs, and how to transfer the money all only tend to enter the discussion towards the end of working the deal. When these start to come up, they’re a great opportunity to ask if they’re thinking about closing and then outline what the financial side of the transaction is going to look like. Doing this will edge them closer to signing on the dotted line.
As their representative in the real estate market, your clients will be heavily relying on you for local knowledge and tidbits about the neighborhood. Most of the time, these questions come up when you’re touring a specific home or in follow-up emails about properties. As a result, many real estate agents miscategorize some of these questions as vague interest and not a clear signal that people are intending to purchase a property.
It’s all in the type of questions they ask. If they’re asking about what grocery stores are nearby, they’re not engaged yet. However, if the questions are about local moving companies, lawn care companies, or things that only make sense if they already owned a home in the neighborhood, there’s a good chance they’re ready to close. When these types of questions come up, a great way to figure out their intent is to ask if they have any other questions about the neighborhood and offer to answer even the most specific, nuanced ones. If a stream of detailed questions comes your way, begin to organize your paperwork.
People who aren’t serious about purchasing a home are also not serious about making time to explore their options. Sure, they may have indicated their interest online and they might have even met you at a property for a quick looksee. This may seem like a hot lead that you’ve managed to engage, but just because they’re inclined to work with you doesn’t mean they’re ready to close on a deal.
One of the surest signs of this is that they are constantly reshuffling their schedule. Yes, they agreed to meet at another property on the 17th, but they’re just too busy and they aren’t sure when time is going to open up again. Of course, the 29th should work, but they want to put it down as tentative and not commit to anything. These are the people that may seem vaguely interested, but pushing them to close or commit to working with you scares them away. It’s better to not actively reach out to them and waste your time, but also keep the door open to working together in the future.
Having customers that are happy to explore new properties is a good thing. It means that you can help them find something that will really suit their needs. Even after looking at ten properties and none of them feeling quite right to the buyer, there’s a chance that number eleven will really catch their interest. This is part of the process and their continued interest may seem like a signal that you’ll eventually find the perfect place for them. In your optimistic mind, it’s all a matter of waiting until that property comes on the market.
Sadly, though, this isn’t always the case. There comes a point when people either need to pony up and make a decision or get realistic about what properties are within their budget. If they aren’t willing to do this and the number of homes is going past two dozen, it’s time to cut your losses and run. Their interest isn’t all bad, but they aren’t going to be ready to close anytime soon.
Closing on a sale is what you’re all about. If you don’t close on deals you’re going to end up closing your business. Despite the importance of closing, it’s an art to figure out when people are actually ready to close. By looking for conversational clues and how people’s attitudes evolve as they visit different homes, you can be perfectly poised to seize the moment when they are ready to close.