Updated: Aug 25
Do they know why you are going to their house?
Better yet, Do they know why you think you are going to their house?
Our clients don’t have the same amount of experience as we do in real estate. They don’t study the market, they don’t know the process as intimately, and they certainly don’t know what we want and expect from a meeting with a potential client as much as we do.
Somehow, we often forget this. It sounds silly but an easy way to see this show up everywhere is the way agents communicate on MLS listings and social media: “ELF’s included” “GB&E” and “Sold over asking” are phrases which I saw regularly in public facing marketing.
This lack of awareness trickles into our communication with prospects, having a negative effect on the appointment setting dialogue. Chances are if your agents aren’t converting enough appointments, it’s because they aren’t spending the time to really understand what their clients want from the meeting and setting clear expectations on the purpose and goals of what the outcome will be.
It boils down to two things:
Qualifying your prospects
Setting expectations for the meeting
Part 1: Qualifying your prospects
As I write this, we are about a year and a half into a serious market correction. Prices and transactions are down often as much as 40% from where they were and we have enjoyed a very active media environment this entire time.
The general appetite for real estate right now is very apprehensive. Even buyers and sellers who are willing to work in this market are finding it challenging.
Finding the right people to focus on is key to succeeding in this market.
Agents need to confirm their prospects are A-M-A before pouring their energy into them
Are they financially able?
Are they motivated enough to go through with it?
Are they accepting of the current market and price realities?
#1 - are they financially ABLE?
Being financially able to complete a transaction is the most important and, thankfully, the easiest to confirm. Sorry, but unless they have the money or can find it, there isn’t any transaction to be had. Move on and nurture the relationship while they continue to prepare.
#2 - Are they MOTIVATED enough to go through with it?
The second one is the meat in the sandwich. Are they motivated enough to go through the process of moving?
Moving is a pain in the ass.
It’s true! Financially it’s risky and the process devours capital, the process of packing and moving personal items is exhausting and it’s hard (or impossible) to get everything you want! To go through with a move people need to have a significant amount of motivation.
Dig deep surrounding the motivation of your potential clients:
Why would they leave a beautiful home where they worked so hard to establish themselves?
What will it do for them?
How will that make them feel?
What will it do for their family?
How will that make them feel?
What does their life look like if they don’t make this move?
What does that look like for their family?
How will that make them feel?
When qualifying the motivation of your prospects, SLOW DOWN. Take as long as you comfortably can to understand what is really going on beneath the surface. Dig deep and keep asking “tell me more”, “tell me more”, “tell me more”.
You will have a better understanding of who you should spend your time with, you’ll have a stronger connection with your clients through demonstrating that you really care, and you’ll also understand what’s making the move worthwhile. At the very least, you can use this information later if they hit a challenge and need to go back to why they took this journey in the first place.
#3 - Are they ACCEPTING of the current market and price realities?
People move away from pain more readily than they move towards pleasure.
This is a simple psychological rule cooked into the most primal parts of our brain. Fight or flight reactions are some of the oldest reactions humans developed and the part of our brain which controls this is one of the first to develop and fastest to respond.
The urge to protect ourselves is baked into us before we are born. Throughout our lives, the need to protect our money is ingrained in us. This combination can be a powerful deterrent from moving forward and it isn’t reserved for falling markets either: In down markets people are concerned they will sell for too little or buy something which loses money, and in up markets people are worried they will over pay.
Sometimes, even people who are clearly motivated will struggle to accept the current market. This is something you often can overcome with strong reasoning and by reminding them of their true motivation… but even with strong motivation and good discussions, some people will be too risk adverse to move forward.
The key to this is that you need to be AWARE.
Being aware of their fears, helping them judge what the best course of action is and always being mindful of who you invest your time with is key.
Part 2: Setting Expectations:
If making sure your clients are Able, Motivated and Accepting will put you in conversations with the right people, Setting Expectations will make sure the conversations you have are the Right conversations.
Setting expectations falls into 2 categories:
Setting expectations on the process
Setting expectations for your appointment
Setting expectations on the process:
One of the ways people manage their fears surrounding a move is by procrastination. People tend to think of moving as an event, rather than a process. This causes people to wait until it’s really quite late for them to get through the process of preparing their home, getting financing approval, finding and securing a home and lining up the move date.
We need to help them by educating them on what they should expect both from the process and while working with us. We start by learning what they want to happen throughout the process and teaching them what is truly involved.
Help your clients play from ahead, as opposed to catching up from behind.
Setting expectations for your appointment:
“Do they know why you think you are going to their house?”
Often they don’t, agents often book appointments under false premises.
I’d love to take a look, I’m in the area on Friday…
I would be happy to give you an idea of what it can sell for in today’s market…
I’m in the area tomorrow, why don’t I come by and take a look at the updates you are considering?
I’m not saying these aren’t valuable meetings to attend. Creating rapport and bringing value to the people around you is part of sales and it’s a huge part of why our industry continues to thrive despite all the competition coming from tech.
What I am saying is that when you are heading to meet with one of the “Signable appointments attended” which we discussed in our previous posts, they should be aware of what your expectations are.
Will all the decision makers be there when I come to meet with you?
Is there anything that would stop you from being ready to move forward with this move?
Are you planning to interview other realtors before you are ready to make a decision?
If, when we meet, you feel comfortable and you like our plan, will you be ready to list with me?
Is there anything specific you want to discuss which I should research or prepare before the meeting?
When we meet I’m going to spend some time working on your plan with you, we will tour the home and discuss pre-sale prep and then I’ll share my marketing plan and we can set dates to get started together. Is there anything else you want to make sure we cover?
Creating this specificity isn’t pushy, it shows them you are a professional and it gets everyone on the same page as to the goals you have for your time together. Live without fear and take charge of the situation!
People want to be guided, that’s what they are hiring you for. You should have the confidence to give them what they need.
Our meeting will be about 45 minutes plus however long you need for questions, I’ll come by at 3pm on Tuesday, will you have enough time without distractions?
I’ll send you a summary of what to expect by email before I arrive
I’m also going to send you a package in the mail before I come, will you have time to review it?
1-2 days before the appointment I will call to reconfirm. If I don’t get you I will still come to the appointment, if you can’t be there I need you to call me back and let me know, sounds good?
Can you also find your survey, most recent tax and mortgage statements and prepare a spare key for me?
If you have these conversations it gives the prospect absolute clarity on the expectations you have for the meeting. If they aren’t in alignment they will let you know, if they don’t do this - GAME ON!
Remember, your role in this transaction is to be their guide through the process. This should start early and shouldn’t be confusing or ambiguous. Show them your confidence, it’s what they want. Anyone who is uncomfortable or scared off by this kind of directness likely isn’t ready to act objectively. You’re saving yourself from anyone who pulls away from this, trust me.
Working with people who are Able, Motivated and Accepting will make sure you pour your energy into the right people. Setting clear expectations and being firm in your process gives you both the confidence you deserve to move forward with. Your clients, and your schedule will be grateful for it.
As always, thank you for your time!