(This is an elaboration ofAnd HERE)
This is the arena. It’s where all of your marketing dollars and hours of business building activity come together to produce either a potential client or a lost opportunity. It is the pivot point on which your entire business turns. And yet it gets little more than a passing thought from most brokers.
I’ve sat in lots of real estate offices and listened to many agents handle an incoming call and have generally been sickened, saddened and disgusted by the experience.
‘Brand X Realty,’ says the duty agent, ‘How may I help you?’
‘Of course, just a moment . . . let me look it up.’
‘That home is priced at $189,500 . . . would you like to go see it?’
‘Well there are others a little less expensive I could show you.’
This is the point at which the ‘agent’ holds the receiver out and stares at it for a moment, shakes his or her head and hangs it up — just like the caller did, a moment earlier.
Listen: I know of no better skill to polish than those required to handle a buyer inquiry if your goal is to improve your bottom line. And if that’s not your goal, you need to get busy getting publicity for your firm because you’ll be the world’s first official non-profit real estate company! Step 5!E. And HERE.
This is a pivotal point in your quest to Rule the (real estate) World, too. You’ve used your wonderful consumer offering to get more than your share of listings and now the listings are creating inquiries. You have to capture those inquiries and convert them into leads and then into clients to move to the next steps: staffing, accountability and closed sides. You’re not ready for the next step – staffing – until you do this because you have nothing to offer a new recruit unless you have a buyer pool book and you get that by effectively handling inquiries.
There is a set of simple telephone techniques that work together to produce favorable results with incoming buyer calls. Mastery of the techniques — using an ‘interrupt’ to gain control of the call; never answering a question without asking one to keep the conversation going and earn you more information about the caller; taking advantage of opportunities to demonstrate the value you bring to the transaction, and so on — is very important. But what’s just as important is attitude.
Funny. I have a really good friend who will turn 78 in a few weeks. You’d never guess his age because he looks a lot younger and acts even younger than he looks. I’ve been thinking of buying an ocean Kayak and a few weeks ago, he agreed to rent one with me — a tandem — to see how it performed. We put it in the bay and had a great time paddling about, playing with the sea lions. What I didn’t know until later is that he’s terrified of water. He never learned to swim. When I heard this, I suggested maybe he ought to go down to the Y and learn . . . and the other day he had his first lesson with his coach. I think buried in that verbiage is one of the secrets to staying young, but that’s not the point. The point is what the coach told him.
He said that, while technique and breathing are very important in swimming, what’s most important is your attitude about water.
That’s true with the buyer inquiry, too. You have to know, without ever having to think about it, that the person on the other end of the line needs you. They may have amassed an artificial barricade between you and the need, but it’s there. You also have to believe right down to your marrow that And HERE. Honestly, that’s what makes you good on the phone. It makes you purr with confidence and competence. You become an irresistible force and you own the call.
So, how do you get to that glorious state? You have to know your stuff. You can’t fake it. You have to know what’s on the market — which means previewing regularly. You have to know all the ways to buy a home today — which means learning about financing and contracts and keeping up on what’s new. You need to be comfortable getting down to that caller’s wants, needs and financial capabilities and mixing that information with what you know to produce . . . the dream house.
I know of no better way to build this knowledge and confidence than by doing (really doing) the training exercise our great founder, Don Taylor, created, Step 5!. It is absolutely what a new agent should begin on day one. If they do they will have tangible business in 30 days. But it’s also what you old dogs should do if you’re running out of steam and fire. Science to Sales is activity based and if you do the activities you can’t help but create new business. Plus, no matter how much you already know, you will uncover some real gems while working through the program.
Finally, role playing the buyer inquiry should be like brushing your teeth. You do it so often that you don’t even think about it. There is no discomfort, no hesitation, no embarrassment. You create an office culture of constant improvement through the three P’s: Practice, Practice, Practice.
So set a goal today: You want to get contact information and earn the right to continue the relationship with 5 out of every 10 buyer inquiries you receive (of course, this means you’re going to have to fastidiously log and track incoming inquiries!). Then get busy studying and practicing.
On to Step 5!