So the buyers love the house. They’ve done their online homework, looked at the listing information and photos, and toured the house. Now what? How do you get them from “maybe” to “Yes! Take my money, please”?
If you’ve worked with the buyers, you know them and their wish list; be sure to tailor your approach to their personality and situation. Ask open-ended questions, for example how they use the kitchen and dining room. Lots of entertaining or small intimate gatherings? Are the buyers amateur chefs, home carpenters, green thumbs, grilling fanatics? This will help you connect the features to the benefits for them and move the process of closing the buyer forward.
Closing the Buyer and Handling Objections
Review the features, the listing price, possible contingencies, and other details. Take another tour of the property if necessary. Encourage the buyers to take a closer look, noting areas and features they didn’t notice the first time. The agent can help the buyer avoid any overlooked repair problems by simply saying “Let’s walk the walkways.” If something needs attention, make a note of it in expectation of writing an offer.
Agents who hear “I’d like to make an offer, but …” and handle the ‘but’ and write the offer, understand the power of NOW. Don’t postpone a sale by putting off writing the offer when the buyer is ready to make an offer. The postponement could turn into a no sale.
There is a basic process for handling objections that should prove useful in nearly all cases:
Step 1: Treat all objections as valid
Step 2: Clarify and define the scope and character of the objection
Step 3: Address the objection head-on
Step 4: Verify resolution or satisfaction
Try a pro-con list. Start with the good stuff and then address the cons, resolving the issues that are simple to solve first. Are there ways of mitigating problems or adding contingencies for some of the cons? After that, hopefully you’ll have few objections left. Everything an agent says regarding answering an objection should be pointing to an offer.
It can never be emphasized enough to listen to the buyer! The biggest mistakes agents make could be prevented if he or she had just focused on what the buyer said.
Thoughtful, appropriate questioning is a key tool for dealing with objections because we can use it to discover the underlying motives and interests that lie behind an objection. Use questions to:
- Gather information about people’s dispositions, priorities, and basic worries.
- Clarify and understand the buyer’s responses. Clarifying questions often take the form of “Are you saying that _____?” or “Do you mean that _____?”
- Draw attention to central tactical issues that need to be addressed if negotiation is to move forward. Try to stimulate thinking and press them toward a decision.
You’ve got the buyers ready to make an offer, now it’s time to close the deal. Here are some “rules of negotiation conduct” to guide behavior from the beginning of any negotiation:
- Communicate clearly, thoroughly, and often
- Make an effort to be patient, and encourage your client to do the same
- Clarify your client’s motivations and those of the other party
- Connect benefits with people’s needs, wants, and desires to show them that this deal, or this property, satisfies their interests and concerns.
Because benefits are so important to a successful deal, we should not be shy about pointing them out to people.
An important step toward agreement is identifying each party’s goals and motives. That means doing your homework. Things to remember include:
- How long has the house been on the market? Has the price been lowered? What’s the seller’s motivation? This information can give buyers more leverage to get a lower price.
- Get independent appraisals and home inspections: Having their own verified data will put the buyers in a stronger negotiating position.
- Remember: It’s not all about the price. There are other areas to play with and make an offer more attractive: closing date, closing costs, repairs, warranties.
- Advise buyers to stick to their poker faces. You don’t want the sellers to sense how badly the buyers want the house; he or she will be less likely to consider lower prices or contingencies.
- Build rapport: If a seller likes the buyers and the agent, he or she is probably more willing to compromise.
Keep in mind that this will likely be the largest financial transaction of the buyers’ lives. They’re going to be nervous. Most homebuyers aren’t experienced real estate investors, so they need the help of trustworthy real estate agents like you.
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