Last year we saw an unprecedented seller’s market, with demand for houses greatly outpacing the supply.
No matter if we surge ahead into a continued seller’s market, or if it loses steam and we return to a housing market resembling pre-pandemic conditions, my advice for how to stay competitive is the same.
The key to success as a real estate agent this year is having productive conversations that lead to conversions. We are not just talking about run of the mill scripting though. You have to teach your sales people to transcend the script.
They must be able to conduct a genuine conversation with consumers and be even better at their conversational skills than they ever have been before. It’s no longer enough to be able to “argue well” or “follow up incessantly”; now you really have to create a true bond with the lead and become the advisor of choice. You do that by learning how to orchestrate a powerful conversation, not by memorizing sales scripts.
The way to stay competitive whether the market is going up or down, is hot or cold, or favoring buyers or sellers, is to effectively and consistently generate new business. With how competitive the real estate industry continues to become, the only way that can be accomplished is by being a better sales conversationalist.
How do you do that? By learning a few of the concepts that we engrain in our clients at Smart Inside Sales:
- Your guiding principle in every conversation should be now, sooner, or logical next step
- Determine the lead’s main objection early in the call
- “Follow the no” and understand the lead’s perspective
The Critical Tip for Real Estate Lead Conversion: Now, Sooner, or Logical Next Step
For every single conversation that you have with a real estate lead or prospect, your core guiding principle should be now, sooner, or logical next step. That means you follow this hierarchy of questions when you’re on a phone call:
- You start from the assumption that your lead wants to buy or sell right now. If they don’t, then your questions and conversation should be focused on getting to the bottom of why they can’t sell now. If they say they want to wait until next spring, ask them, “what’s important about next spring?” or “what’s holding you back from selling right now?” or “is there a reason you want to wait until next spring?”
- If the lead convinces you that selling now or even selling sooner in the near future is not the way to go, then not to worry, the conversation is not over. At this point, you keep the call going by discussing the lead’s logical next step.
The way you bring the lead to the logical next step is to work them backwards. Nail down their end date and walk them slowly back through the home buying process. Always ask if they understand and if what you’re saying makes sense, so they have a solid grasp of what they need to do.
Here’s an example conversation:
Lead: “I want to wait until spring.”
You: “Okay, that sounds great, when you say the spring, what does that mean to you?”
Lead: “Well, my lease is up in April, so I should probably have a house by then.”
You: “So do you have to have keys in hand by April 1st?”
Lead: “Yes, I’ll need to have a house by April 1st.”
You: “Okay, well if you need to have a house by April 1st, then it typically takes about a month and a half after finding your perfect home to have the keys in hand. Did you know that?”
Lead: “No, I didn’t realize it took so long.”
You: “Yeah I get it, oftentimes people don’t realize it takes so long. So, if you want keys in hand by April 1st, then you have to find the perfect home by mid February. Does that make sense?”
You: “It also takes our people about 30 days of serious shopping to find you the perfect home. So, if you want to find the perfect home by mid February, then that means you really need to start serious shopping by about mid January. You think that would work for you?”
Lead: “I think so.”
You: “And if you need to start serious shopping by mid January, when would you want to sit down with me and start coming up with a game plan to help you get a great deal on your home”?
Lead: “I guess January if that’s when we need to start looking.”
You: “Great, so let’s meet at the beginning of January in case we need to make any changes to our plan or timeline prior to us actually getting started. Would that work for you?”
Lead: “Yep, that works.”
By walking the lead backwards you help them understand the process, provide a next step that makes sense to them, and make them more invested in actually meeting with you.
Find the Lead’s Objection Early in Your Call
The next piece of advice for real estate agents in 2022 is to determine the lead’s objection or their “no” as early as you can in the call. You have a much higher chance of converting the lead if you tackle their reservations head on and build the conversation around understanding their objection.
You can ask all the questions you want about what kind of property they are looking for and how many rooms, but you’re not going to get the sale if you don’t overcome their main reason for saying no. To do that, you want to ask questions early that will help you discover their “no”.
Example of a question that won’t bring out the “no”:
“I saw you were looking at homes online, how many bedrooms are you looking for?”
“What area are you mostly looking in for your new home?”
“Do you want to get the most money possible for your home?”
Instead of asking those types of questions right out of the gate that won’t really help you uncover the “no”, give the lead some room to tell you.
Example of how to find the “no”:
“Hey I saw you were online and you signed up on our website to look for homes.”
Then you pause and wait and see what they say. Chances are they will say something along the lines of:
“Yeah, I was looking for homes, but you know we’re not moving until June, and I can’t even come visit the area until April.”
Now you know what the “no” is and can start to address it. If you had started with the questions about the home and the area, you would have gotten all the way to the end of the call to hear their big objection that you don’t know how to answer.
Follow the “No” to Understand the Lead’s Perspective
The next tip is how to deal with the objection once you discover it. When leads offer resistance, it can be tempting to be direct and just explain why they are wrong and why you are right. The problem is that all you’re doing by making the lead wrong is either causing them to dig in their heels even more or just want to get off of the phone.
Your goal is to move the lead to the next step, not show them that you know more about the real estate process than them. To do that, you have “follow the no” and see where it leads.
Here’s an example of what not to do when talking to a lead who wants to sell their home on their own:
Lead: “I want to sell my home on my own.”
You: “Have you ever sold a home on your own? Do you know how much work and effort it takes?”
In the situation above you made the lead wrong and probably made them feel stupid. Here’s what to do instead:
Lead: “I want to sell my home on my own.”
You: “I can understand that. But can I ask, what’s more important to you, selling your home on your own or making more money on the sale?”
Lead: “I just want to make the most money that I can when I sell.”
You: “Okay, well my team specializes in X and typically will get above market value for the homes that we sell” (or something like that to show the value that you add).
You need to find the objection early in the call, determine why the lead is actually saying no, show that you understand, and then explain how you can help them achieve their goal faster, better, cheaper, etc. At the end of the day, understanding a lead’s objection will give you the ammunition you need to close successfully.
These three real estate tips may seem simple, but they are rarely done consistently or effectively. If you understand why leads are saying no, you can effectively counter it and then move them to the next logical step in the process.
About the Author
Dale Archdekin is the founder of Smart Inside Sales, a coaching and training company serving residential real estate agents and brokers. If you’re an agent or ISA struggling to convert your leads, then Smart Inside Sales has a training program that can help. It’s called Conversion University and Follow Up Boss members receive free access to the course, as well as a discount on live training with a real estate sales coach.