Dale Archdekin is director of marketing and lead generation for the Global Living Companies at Keller Williams Realty in Philadelphia. He is also the founder of Smart Inside Sales, an inside sales training and coaching company that operates Conversion University.
Teach Inside Sales Agents How to Close
Effectively converting real estate leads comes from having real, authentic conversations with people to understand their needs.
February 25, 2019
The ability to properly and successfully close on real estate lead phone calls is one of the most critical parts of an inside sales agent's job. Even if your agents are masters at overcoming objections, can relate to leads on calls, and hold enjoyable sales conversations, it’s all for nothing if they don’t know how to close correctly and consistently.
Successful closing is closely related to successful objection handling. So, first and foremost, real estate inside sales agents need to be trained on how to successfully deal with objections. As I explain in my Conversion University course, the key to dealing with caller objections is to understand the lead’s perspective, process, and outcome—the three parts that make up every objection. This is called the PPO process.
The key here is for inside sales agents to understand these three parts of the objection from the lead’s point of view, not just from his or her own perspective. Below are the five most critical aspects of dealing with an objection:
- Acknowledge: The inside sales agent should listen to what the lead says and let him or her know they understand it.
- Paraphrase: The agent should restate what the potential client said without leading and without interpretation.
- Inquire into their perspective, process, and outcome: This is where the agent digs into the lead’s thought process and how they see it. The idea is to get the person to walk through their knowledge, plan, and unique thing they hope to accomplish. These are the three things your inside sales agent needs to know in order to counter objections, so make sure they ask questions to get all the answers.
- Determine the benefit or result the lead hopes to achieve: This is their sought-after outcome.
- Close if appropriate: The agent should close if the lead does not bring up another objection as a result of the PPO process, or if it becomes obvious that meeting is the next logical step in the conversation.
More often than not, the objection (and how the agent deals with it) is going to lead to the opportunity to close. Through dealing with the objection successfully, the agent will have had to convince the lead that your real estate group can either assist them with their process, or you offered a better process that will help them achieve their desired outcome.
The problem that many agents have is with timing—knowing when to close and not closing too early. The solution to this is actually pretty simple: Closing has to be the logical conclusion to the conversation you are having with the lead. This means the agent has to be having actual conversations with leads on phone. They can’t just be going blindly from a script—they have to be in the moment, reacting to what the lead says and asking relevant questions given where the conversation goes.
If an inside sales agent (or any real estate agent) is working with them to get an understanding of the outcome they desire—and power through any objections they present—then the time to close is going to naturally arise once they are satisfied with the answers to their objections. Just train your agents to follow the conversation.
If the lead says they are starting to interview new agents to get their home back on the market in a few weeks, then the logical way to close would be to say, “Oh, great! I am excited to show you how our team sells homes in less time and for more money than other agents. I am available on Wednesday or Thursday to meet. Which day works best for you?” That would not be the logical close if the lead says, “We’re not interested in selling. We took it off the market and are going to wait until the market improves.”
Closing With Empathy
This largely gets back to the PPO objection handling process, but it is critically important to close successfully. Your agents have to close with empathy. Ask them to put themselves in the clients’ shoes, and understand what they know, what they want, and how they want to proceed.
If, from the lead’s perspective, it does not make sense to meet with, sign with, or have any sort of next step with your brand, then your agents haven’t done enough work to get them ready to close. Remember, your inside sales agents have to be constantly viewing the conversation from the lead’s point of view. If it doesn’t make sense for them to take the next step with your group, then your agents need to be asking more questions and acquiring more information from them until you can present a proposition that works—for them.
Closing is the key aspect of any sales call. If your job is selling on the phone—or training agents to sell on the phone—then a successful closing is all you can have to show for your work. It comes down to having a real conversation with the lead and understand what they are dealing with from their perspective. Close when you know you have something of value to offer them that will help them achieve their goal in their specific situation.