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Prescreening for Business: How to Handle a Customer Who Grills You

Blog Contributor Business Challenges, Commitment to Excellence, Personal Fulfillment, Professional Development, Sales & Marketing, Sellers 2 Comments

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Jason O’Neil

By Jason O’Neil

Last week, I received an unusual call from a seller. As a REALTOR®, getting a call from a seller is not out of the ordinary. However, when this particular seller explains that he has developed a list of questions to use for a “prescreening” of potential REALTORS®, I really perk up. Despite what some may think, the approach did not come across as arrogant or stodgy, and as he asked his questions, I could only think how professional, thorough, and very interesting they were, and how crucial it was for me as his prospective employee to answer them.

After I hung up the phone, the experience prompted me to develop my own set of questions that are not only important for sellers to ask, but are also equally as important for REALTORS® to answer:

1. In what areas or neighborhoods do you predominately sell homes?
2. On average, how many days do your properties spend on the market?
3. What is your sale price to list price ratio?
4. More important, what is your sale price to original list price ratio?
5. What is your marketing strategy?
6. What is your communication strategy? How do you reach out to potential clients?
7. What is your team or company composition?
8. What three attributes set you apart from other agents?
9. What is your process for determining a listing price?
10. How do you make your listings stand out in the market?

I know most real estate professionals have been asked these questions countless times before. We could talk for hours about just one of them, explaining our marketing strategy or relating all the ways we are unique when compared with other REALTORS® in our market.  But have you ever really taken the time to craft written answers to these questions?

Here’s an exercise to try right now: Take out a blank sheet of paper, and one at a time, work through these questions, even adding some of your own. Write as little or as much as you’d like for each question but make sure your answers are thorough and complete. Now go back and read what you’ve just written. Your answers may surprise you. You will certainly learn how much you already do that you may not always talk about. You’ll also have a renewed sense of confidence about your professional practices. Finally, through this exercise, you’ll have content. Review your answers; check them for grammatical errors or repetition of words or phrases, then post them somewhere on your Web site, blog, or Facebook page.

While this exercise is valuable for us as practitioners, it is ultimately even more valuable to our clients. Consumers are rightfully cautious about where and how they spend their money. The power to place ourselves in our consumers’ shoes for a few moments changes our perspective on what is really important and where our focus as REALTORS® should be, ultimately making us all better at our jobs.

Jason O’Neil is an associate broker with Encore Sotheby’s International Realty in Indianapolis. Connect with him at jasononeilrealtor.com.

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