It can be quite a challenge to match serious, motivated buyers with your sellers in the current market. Bill Robertson takes a look at how to categorise your buyers and sellers to ensure you spend your efforts wisely.
Ask yourself these questions: How is your marketplace travelling? What is the biggest problem you have at the moment? What is your major problem with buyers? What are your competitors doing? What would you change if you could?
In to which category do most ‘problems’ or ‘challenges’ belong?
Category 1 – things that are within your control
Category 2 – things that are outside your control
When the real estate market is flying and the average ‘time on market’ is a few weeks, getting a serious offer from a serious buyer is not that difficult. Unfortunately, the above real estate climate happens for about two years in every nine years or so. For the remaining seven years – welcome to the normal world of real estate sales.
The condition of the real estate market is a problem that is absolutely out of your control. Instead you must focus on those challenges that are within your control.
Working with buyers can be an extremely frustrating process for sales agents, even for those who have years of experience under their belt. A definition of insanity in real estate sales could be:
- trying to match a motivated, serious seller with a buyer who is unable to buy
- trying to match a very serious buyer with an unmotivated seller
- trying to match an unmotivated seller with a buyer who is unable to buy
Naturally, your focus must be on trying as hard as possible to match a motivated, serious seller with a buyer who is able to buy. You need a simple process whereby you will be able to rate your buyer enquiry so as to be fairly sure (allowing for a degree of uncertainty) that each buyer falls into one of three levels:
- ‘A’ prospect ¬ ready, willing and able
- ‘B’ prospect ¬ ready, willing, but not able
- ‘C’ prospect ¬ able but not ready or willing
Remember – you are in business for yourself. Your aim is to find good saleable stock, market the stock so as to find good, serious buyers, get the offer, get the offer accepted and get paid for doing so. You must know how to seek out the genuine buyers and work effectively and efficiently with them, and know when you are dealing with time-wasters disguised as buyers.
In most cases, there are three distinct levels of working with your buyers :
- The ‘get information and qualify’ level
- The ‘come to my open house(s)’ or ‘show a property or two or three’ level
- The ‘help, support and negotiate’ level.
With the listing side of real estate, you need the ability to build a solid relationship with the prospective seller to get their trust and, finally, their business. If you learn those skills well and become pretty good at dealing with sellers, you will become awesome in dealing with buyers. However, do not end up spending too much time with a time-waster disguised as a hot-to-trot ready, willing and able buyer.
Therefore to become more time-efficient, you must rate buyers relative to their readiness, willingness and ability to buy.
‘A’ prospect – ready, willing, and able – three out of three, can buy a property today and have either completed the sale of their current property or they have cash and do not need to sell before purchasing.
‘B’ prospect – ready, willing, but not able – any two of the three and may be very similar to ‘A’ buyers, but there is usually a property to be sold (or something else that needs to be taken care of) before they can purchase.
‘C’ prospect – able but not ready or willing – one out of three, typically in no hurry, may be shopping and when the perfect home comes along they’ll make a move; may buy – but usually not from the agent who put all the time into showing dozens of properties.
However, the big trick is to know which category of buyers you are currently working with. Yes, you will get a few wrong, but you shouldn’t get most wrong.
You must become good at this. Remember, two very important words in real estate are ‘getting paid’, for all the time and energy you put in.
If you are like the ‘average’ sales agent, you could be putting many hours in and not getting paid. If you’re not convinced, remind yourself – you are in business for yourself! How much is your time worth?