Solid leads are both the lifeblood and the bane of real estate agents’ existence.
When you’re converting leads to listings and sales you feel invincible and suddenly all is right in your property world.
Without leads or without converting leads, you have no listings and without listings you can’t make sales.
The trouble many agents face is avoiding the ebb that follows a flow of listings.
Just like a sapling needs water and sunshine to grow into a tree, agents need to nurture leads if they want more potential vendors signing on the dotted line.
A recent survey I conducted with my clients revealed 28 per cent felt turning leads into listings and listings into sales was the biggest issue in their business.
One agent said listings were down 35 per cent across the market, another said “no-one is ready to sell yet,” and a third deplored “listings are more difficult than they have ever been and there is very little stock”.
The challenge agents face is overcoming last-minute resistance from potential sellers.
Objections are a natural part of the sales process and potential vendors could bemoan putting their property on the market for a range of reasons.
I urge my agents to delve deep and discover why their client is selling, where they are going and in what timeframe they are moving.
Clients’ problems could include a birth or a death in the family, a marriage or a divorce, relocation, financial gain or loss and lifestyle issues.
Perhaps a seller has lived in the property for 50 years and is struggling emotionally with the thought of selling, maybe they need to find a new home first or they may have blinkers on when it comes to selling their property at any time other than spring.
Whatever the objection, savvy agents need to know how to jump the resistance hurdle.
These are my top five tips to beat last-minute resistance and turn a lead into a listing.
1. Tailor marketing to your client
The first step in the process is to identify your client’s needs and then sell the features and benefits that specifically relate to their situation. Remember if the customer can’t see the difference they won’t pay the difference. If a client is shopping around based on agent fees and has been quoted one per cent by rivals then you need to adapt your pitch to suit. The first thing you need to do is book the appointment, as it gives you a chance to sell why you are different and should be their preferred agent. You can always value-add later.
2. Prospect ahead of the curve
If you want to sell properties now, don’t wait until the last minute to find them. If you know that potential vendors become hesitant when they feel uncertain, allow yourself time to reassure them so they feel confident with the sales procedures. I suggest prospecting two months in advance, so if you want to have a good August, start listing properties in June. If your client wants to sell and reach settlement before Christmas then the next five weeks is the time to list their home.
3. Spend your first hour every day on marketing
Prospecting is not a sometimes activity, it’s an all the time activity. Every day make sure you are doing at least one and preferably two or even three phone call sessions. You need to measure your calls, how many times you speak with a potential vendor and how many appointments you set up. You should try to book at least one, or preferably three, appointments per day with potential sellers.
4. Progress the customer at every point of contact
Take the client to the next stage of the sales process each time you contact them. Many clients tell me they only follow up a lead with one phone call and if the client says they’re not ready to sell, they’ve hit a dead end. The trick is not to give up. Instead, ask the client what they would like to happen.
This lets you know what you need to do to move along in the sales process.
5. Show your customer what needs to happen
There can be a big difference in what customers believe is an important step in the sales process and what actually needs to happen. You need to show them what the next step is as clients have often not sold their home before or it has been a long time since they have done so. One of my clients had a vendor who didn’t realise they needed the contract of sale prepared prior to taking their property to market, sometimes you just need to guide them through.