Rich Levin is a national real estate speaker and sales coach. His company, Rich Levin's Success Corps Inc., Rochester, N.Y., takes a "whole business approach" to coaching, focusing not only on essential sales skills such as presenting and prospecting, but also quality of life and personal finance. Contact Levin at 585-244-2700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Win Over Buyers
No matter how well educated your buyers are, they still need information on how a real estate transaction works. Use consultation appointments to inform them and become a trusted resource in the process.
May 1, 2011
Buyers are more educated in today’s market. They have more access to information regarding properties and their value. Plus there are practically unlimited real estate resources online for practitioners.
These combined factors should make the real estate professional’s job easier, but for many, they don’t. Why? There are two problems:
- The information may not be accurate or relevant to a specific market.
- The information is almost certainly incomplete.
“An Educated Consumer Is Our Best Customer”
Two adages speak to today’s buyer:
- “An educated consumer is our best customer.” (the slogan of Syms clothing stores)
- “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” (written by English poet Alexander Pope)
Whether the real estate pro finds buyers easier or more difficult to work with depends on whether that practitioner respects and completes the buyers’ education.
Have the buyers obtained a copy of the contract and paperwork online? Probably not, and most paperwork has many pages plus addenda. Do the buyers know what real estate trends apply to their market? Do they know what to do when the inspection reveals a problem?
Contracts, inspections, financing, negotiation — there are far too many steps in the transaction process for most buyers to pick up on their own.
A Simple and Powerful Process
The most successful buyer’s agents learn to ask a few simple questions (adjust to the circumstances of you and your buyer accordingly):
“The purchase documents in our area are six pages, plus disclosures and addenda. Has anyone given you a copy of the latest documents and reviewed with you the parts that are going to be relevant for your purchase? I find it helps a lot to be familiar with the documents so you aren’t seeing them for the first time when you’re making that $200,000 decision. Would you like to get a copy and take a look at those together?”
“There are inspectors, appraisers, attorneys, title companies, lenders, and real estate agents involved in the transaction. Would it be helpful to go through the process step-by-step so you know what to expect and get some idea of what might come up? It often reduces some pressure and allows you to enjoy the process with greater confidence. Would that be helpful to you?”
These simple questions lead buyers to make a consultation appointment, which can establish enormous confidence and trust in you, the agent. Buyers subsequently go along more easily with your recommendations through the negotiations, which actually can reduce the number of homes they need to view. They find the experience so valuable that they begin to refer you to friends and relatives.
At the consultation appointment, review each step of the process, educating and preparing buyers. Do they understand the type of financing they’re trying to get? Do they have any questions about it? Even if you don’t have the answers, you can take the lead getting a clarification and making sure buyers are aware of what’s included in their closing costs and their payments, and in reducing cash needed with seller contributions.
You also should explain what buyers can expect: Describe problems that could arise and how you’ve solved them and protected buyers’ interests in the past.
As you conduct these presentations, you’ll quickly discover two things: how much buyers don’t know — even the educated ones — and how much they misunderstand. As you realize the value and power of these consultations, you’ll learn to go into deep detail, continuously confirming buyers’ understanding.
Changing laws and financing situations — such as explaining short sales and foreclosure procedures — are just a few reasons that the time you spend preparing buyers works to everyone’s benefit.