By Jasen Edwards
The fall is traditionally a hectic time of year for the housing market. But this year, when you consider the election, pandemic, and exceptionally low interest rates, “hectic” seems like an understatement. One thing is clear, most agents I speak to are busier than ever. Because of the situation we find ourselves in, agents are putting a ton of effort into their enhancing online marketing and client communications, and discussions about showing safety have taken on a totally new meaning.
That’s why I want to talk to you about working more efficiently with buyers. Conditions are ripe for even the most talented agents to get frustrated and burned out. But there’s a simple way to make sure that doesn’t happen to you: Ensure your potential buyer can pass three tests before you take them on as a client. This will save you time, energy, and keep you inspired.
Ask your prospect to attend a proper buyer consultation with you before you begin showing them homes. In-person is always best, but Zoom will do for now. Skipping the initial consultation robs you of the opportunity to connect with your buyer prospects on a deep level and learn about their plans. When prospects refuse to meet with you before going to look at a property, they’re trying to tell you that they aren’t serious about buying (at least not yet). And that would mean they failed the first test. Top producers just don’t show homes to people who won’t meet with them for an initial consultation. Instead, they follow up until they agree to the meeting.
Is that the buyer willing to open up to you during the consultation? Think of it as though you’re forming a team with the prospect to help them navigate the marketplace as opposed to being just another agent with a lockbox key. Buyers have to be willing to speak freely and openly about what they want and why. They have to open up about their finances, including sharing what their lender is telling them. They also have to open up to you about their lifestyle. This is because people don’t buy a house for the bedroom and bath count, but for the lifestyle they think they’ll be living once they’re in the new house. If you don’t understand that, then you’re basically flying blind.
Once you have a good idea of their full vision, you can set up an action plan in your real estate CRM. This will allow you to schedule personalized messages so you can keep in close contact with the buyer and be notified if anything changes on their end. It will help you save time, and buyers will feel like you’re speaking directly to them. To make sure you’ve got the best tools, you can check out online reviews from a third-party site like Agent Advice to compare different CRM options.
Ask them to sign a representation agreement along with your agency disclosures. I mean really, this shouldn’t need to be said, but sadly it does. Working with someone in a professional capacity without a formal agreement—where you’re liable for your performance—is bad business. No one does that with listings, and top producers don’t do it with buyers either. Anyone who refuses to sign your representation agreement is also trying to tell you that they aren’t ready. Or, if by chance they are, then they have no loyalty to you.
While there’s nothing wrong with finding operational efficiencies in your practice, your most crucial leverage point is setting up these tests as your standard for working with buyers. Here’s why: The tests help you separate the lookers who may eventually buy, from the buyers who are ready right now. You could have the most refined system for showing properties and guiding people from contract to close, but it won’t do you a bit of good if you try to send lookers through that system.
So, as we fly through the rest of 2020, set up these tests for your potential buyers. If you do, you’ll be happier, you’ll make more money, you’ll make it faster, and because you’re not wasting time with the lookers, you’ll have more time to spend looking for your next listing.
Jasen Edwards is a sought-after sales expert, performance coach, and motivational speaker with more than 25 years of real estate experience. In his production heyday, he was the youngest person ever listed on the Austin Business Journal’s Top 50 agents list and was featured on the cover of REALTOR® Magazine as a member of the 30 Under 30 class of 2002. Jasen’s first book, The Top Producer Life: How To Build The Real Estate Career Of Your Dreams In Any Economy, will be published in December 2020.