Since buyer’s agents work in a commission-based business, it’s crucial to quickly identify which leads show the potential to become a real client so you prioritize them and invest your time in a smart way.
This is why we need to talk about qualifying clients, a process that allows you to understand who the lead is, what they need and if your services are the right fit for their needs. Let’s see how it works and why it is important for estate agents.
Why is it important to qualify a buyer?
Imagine that a client comes to you recommended by a friend, but they are interested in a type of property or in an area that you usually don’t work with. Even if you wanted to solve their problem, you may not have the knowledge to do so, which means it’s probably best to not take this person as a client.
Now, imagine that you’re working with a client that is visiting many properties, but is willing to wait for months or even years to find the perfect property. Maybe it would be best for your business to not spend time commuting, communicating and searching for properties for a client that’s clearly not interested in sealing a deal anytime soon.
So, first and foremost, the main reason for a buyer’s agent to qualify a client is to increase their productivity. Once you understand the potential client, you learn which clients you can actually help and will actually bring revenue to you.
Another good reason to do so is because by getting to know your potential client, you can adapt your service to their needs and increase both the speed and the probability of sealing deals.
After all, you don’t want to be looking for one-bedroom apartments for a you couple while they’re thinking about having a baby really soon, for example. The more the buyer’s agent is aware of their clients hopes and expectations, the better they are prepared to find exactly what the clients need.
And, finally, this process also allows the estate agent to develop a trusting relationship with potential clients, that is much needed for both parties to achieve what they are aiming for: the commission when the sale agreement is signed and the satisfaction of owning your dream home.
What a buyer’s agent needs to keep in mind when qualifying a potential client
When it comes to qualifying a buyer, the best idea is to meet the potential client to try to extract all the information about their motivations, needs, expectations and financial capacity. This will give you an idea of how willing to really sign a sale agreement are they.
Invest some time to book an in-person meeting, look your prospect in the eye and try to answer the following questions.
Why are they looking for a property?
Are they looking for a bigger place to welcome a new kid? Or to have a bigger home-office? Do they actually have a reason for it or are they just exploring to see what’s out there? The more pressing the need, the higher are the chances of them becoming your clients and buying a property with your help.
When do they plan to buy?
Try to understand how urgent they are about it and how long you would have to find a suitable property. Also, ask your potential clients about their doubts and insecurities about buying, to find out what could delay their decision.
Finally, pay attention to how available they were to meet you and how fast they have answered previously. Slow answers might indicate a lack of urgency or of real interest.
Which property are they looking for?
In which area of the city or country do they want to live in? What are the characteristics they are looking for on a new property? Which of them are a must-have and which are negotiable?
These questions will give you an idea of how much they would need to spend to live in their dream home and start managing their expectations when it comes to the market. Also, you get to understand what would make them back away from a property and what would attract them.
Bear in mind that when it comes to couples, relatives investing together, business partners or big companies, quite often the decision about buying a property is a shared one. Meaning that the buyer’s agent will have to walk an extra mile to persuade everyone involved in the decision-making process. So, get to know all of them and understand their expectations as well.
How much are they willing to invest and how?
This is a sensitive topic because people may not be that open to talk about their finances, but, as the buyer’s agent, you need to find out whether they have the means to pay for the property they are envisioning.
Ask them whether they are counting on being approved for real estate financing or if they already have the capital to pay for the property. And, if they opt for financing, try to understand how much do they have for the down payment and how are their professional lives, so you can have an idea of the amount of financing they can actually get.
Can you help them with these needs?
Do you work with the kind of property these potential clients are looking for? Do you have the market knowledge to make sure they get the best investment possible? Are they actually going to find the property they look for with the amount of capital they have available?
Remember: quickly solved deals that leave clients satisfied have the potential to make them advocates of your good work and bring new leads. The opposite is also true, in the sense that accepting clients that don’t exactly fit your services may take up too much of your time and leave clients unsatisfied for lack of results.
Saying yes to every client will lower your chances of doing a good job for all of them and reduce your productivity. So, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to recommend them to another professional that can work better with their wishes.
Stay true to your work and to potential clients: decide whether you have the capacity to truly help them and let them know.
Were they already property searching before they got in touch?
Finally, check with the potential buyers if they already started looking for properties, whether by themselves online or with the help of another professional. Since time is money, you don’t want to waste your time with properties that have been already visited and denied.
Another relevant point here is understanding why they did not buy any properties before coming to you, what drove them away. This way you know what should be avoided and what should be encouraged to make them feel confident enough to buy. Also, try to grasp if they missed enough capital, if there was a difficulty in making decisions or if their delay can be interpreted as a lack of willingness to really buy, something that could be harmful to your business.
And finally, if they started searching online before they asked for your professional help or had another agent working for them before, this probably means they have been expecting to find the perfect home for quite some time. This means that it might be a good idea to prioritize these clients, since you don’t know how long they can be kept waiting before they give up.
After having all the answers you need and having had an honest and empathetic conversation with your potential clients, it’s time to qualify your potential clients based on how hot a lead they are – or, in other words, how urgently they should be cared for. Divide them into categories such as “ready to buy”, “interested” or “not ready”, so you know with which clients you should invest your time first.
If a client is seen as very interested and ready to make an offer on a property, you may even want to sign an exclusivity agreement to make sure they won’t go running to your competitors to see who finds their dream home first.
But what if you can actually help a client, but they are going to take quite some time to buy?
While you don’t want to waste precious time, you also don’t want to leave them hanging and end up losing interest in buying. So, this is a good moment to use your CASAFARI CRM to automatize emails and send properties that may be of interest to them without spending too much time until they are ready.
Now that you know the advantages of qualifying your clients, add this routine to your everyday work and improve your productivity!
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