How To Not Stress Your Future Buyers on the First Interaction
A buyer reaches out to you because they want to start the process of buying a home. At this point, they’ve already decided that they need your help with this entire process, and somehow, they found you. Perhaps it was through Zillow, or perhaps it’s through a personal recommendation.
Whatever it is (though, you should definitely know how it is they found you), it’s your job to make them feel comfortable and essentially, reel them in as a lead. Although this may not necessarily be the hardest part of the whole process, it is the most important. Chances are, this person is “interviewing” other real estate agents at the same time, and your interaction at this moment can determine whether or not they choose you to be their agent.
Sometimes, it’s not how much you can impress them—it’s how little you’ve stressed them out at the beginning, compared to their experience with other agents.
Asking Too Little or Not Enough Questions
When you first speak to this person, you should immediately get familiar with how much they know about the buying process already. Perhaps they are not first-time homebuyers, or they’ve already done a lot of planning and they know what it is they’re looking for. So, ask some questions. Get to know who this person/family is so that you can determine not just if they are a good fit for you, but if you’re a good fit for them.
However, be careful not to ask too many questions because these people may not yet have all the answers. Instead, give them some prompts—some things to think about as you begin this journey. You want to show your interest in working with them, without being too upfront or wasting too much of their time.
Sending Them Too Many Options
Once you get an idea of what type of property your potential buyers are looking for, you should start sending them some options. Of course, these buyers need a pre-approval letter first, but there will be some cases in which you have buyers who don’t want to take the hit on their credit until they know what they’re looking for exists. And, that’s okay. Without taking too much of your time, you can still send forward some options.
But, if you don’t want to stress out these buyers—especially those who do have their pre-approval and they are ready to go—be careful not to send too many options. Clients can tell when you simply are dragging listings from the MLS, without checking that they meet the basic requirements. While many options may seem great, some buyers may get easily overwhelmed.
When a potential buyer first speaks to you, they are likely very excited and nervous about the process of buying a home. Even if it’s not the first time they’ve done it, it is the first time they are speaking with you. (And, that’s more of a reason to be open-minded). No matter the situation, you don’t want to do anything to tear the hopes down of these clients. For instance, if they tell you they are looking for a three bedroom home at a certain budget, and you’re sure that that doesn’t exist, you don’t have to immediately say, “that’s going to be hard to find”, even if it’s true. You can worry about that later. And, anyway, when it comes time to actually send them some listings to look over, they’ll see for themselves.
Not Answering in a Timely Manner
Not everyone is in a time crunch when they’re buying their first home. And, not everyone is buying their first home, either. Yet, while some people have a lot of patience when it comes to buying this property, others may be in some type of hurry. Maybe they have a new job starting in a few months, or they are relocating to a new city and don’t want to waste time or money with renting.
The point is, whether your potential clients are in a rush or not, one way to surely stress them out is by not answering in a timely manner. Now, a timely manner does not necessarily mean you have to answer right away. What it does mean, is that you are consistent in how frequently you answer, period. S
o, if when you first talk to this client, you’re usually answering them within a day, then always try to stay within a day thereafter. If at first, you’re answering their calls/texts/emails immediately and don’t think you can realistically keep up with that as time goes on, aim for a response rate that’s reasonable and most importantly that you can manage, from the get-go. It’s always better to improve your response rate than bring it down.
Sounding Distracted or Disinterested
There’s nothing more deterring than when a person is speaking with a real estate agent who has the phone ringing in the background or other distractions taking place. Of course, during coronavirus, agents who are working from home and may very well have some background noise, which is understandable. While you don’t necessarily have to acknowledge a distraction, a simple, “sorry about that, I’m right here!” can make a difference.
Additionally, even if there are no distractions, you should make sure you are focused on this call. We know—you’ve had these initial conversations a gajillion times—probably even more than once a day. But, you need to remember to treat each potential client as if they are your first client ever.
Last but not least, the easiest way not to stress your potential client out is just by being yourself! You can be the smartest, most experienced real estate agent in the world. But, at the end of the day, people are going to judge you based not just on your competence as an agent, but by how well you vibe with them.
Your personality may not be a great fit for everyone, but by being true to who you are, you’re going to find the best clients for you and you for them. It can also save a lot of time and disappointment later in the process if your clients decide to go with another agent who fits their needs better.
And, a good way to offset any problems later is to go over your client’s expectations at the beginning of the process. Find out what they know and don’t know, and what they are looking for in a real estate agent. Too many agents forget to ask this when the process starts, as we are so focused on just bringing in the lead as quickly as possible. So, take a few minutes to ask them what they’re hoping to get from you, and how you can make the experience for them run as smoothly as possible. (And, to know that if you can’t meet your needs, you’ll refer them to someone who can!)