The Psychology of Selling – Moving Your Client Along the Path to Saying Yes
Every Real Estate agent on LabCoat Agents has heard the saying that 20 percent of salespeople make 80 percent of all the sales. Do you ever wonder why that is? It might be easy to assume that they just work harder, have more talent, or have better luck, but the truth is they are using the right techniques for success. Below, I will explain why so many salespeople fail to move their prospects into a mindset that allows them to offer something of value. Without creating a need, the best salesperson in the industry won’t transition a prospect into a client.
It’s important to start by recognizing that you have something of value to offer the prospect. Since most Real Estate agents have never had any formal sales training, they might not realize that success has to start with them. Not every prospect can be helped by our services, and qualifying the opportunity must precede any other aspect of the sale. We are not trying to “trick” someone into using our services, we offer something of value and our goal is to move the prospect into a state of mind where they will listen to our offer with an open mind and determine for themselves if they agree that we offer them a valuable service.
Once you have a qualified prospect, then you can begin to use the Psychology of Selling tools to create an environment that will move that prospect to a client.
The first thing you need to understand is that most prospects will come to you in what I call a “Positive Present.” What this means is that they are happy with what they are currently doing and may not have any motivation to change direction. In Real Estate, this might mean they are planning to sell the home without using an agent (FSBO), expecting to just use the listing agent as their buyer’s agent or perhaps they have a friend whose daughter is starting in Real Estate and they want to help. Regardless of the situation, they plan to continue their present course because they foresee a Positive Future by following that path.
Positive to Negative Future
This is your barrier. In order to motivate a prospect to act differently, you need to help them see that by continuing their current path, they will have a Negative Future instead. Put yourself in the prospect’s place…until you can create a need to do something different, you can never offer the solution. In other words, you need to start to understand their situation and their needs.
Practice Questioning and Listening
When you first meet with any service provider, the first meeting is generally a question and answer session so they can understand your needs. A doctor, attorney, architect—what is the first thing they do when you sit down? They ask you questions, probing to understand your problems, challenges and needs. Only then can they offer solutions that will help you.
Successful selling uses the same technique. Careful questioning can uncover the beliefs that lead the prospect into thinking they have a Positive Future by staying the current course. Let’s take the example of a For Sale by Owner prospect.
The FSBO prospect believes that there is no value to a professional Real Estate agent. They don’t understand everything that goes into marketing and showing a listing and how it can benefit them. Most of the time what they think is that they will save money by keeping the commission they would pay to an agent. We need to uncover this and then offer facts, which move them away from the expectation of a Positive Future by selling themselves.
Take a look at this interaction:
“Mr. Prospect, what are your plans to market your home?”
“I plan to buy a sign and maybe hold an open house when I’m home on the weekends.”
“I see. That’s great that you have the time to do this. Since most of the people coming through will be those who have just stopped in without an agent, have you thought about how you will ensure the safety of your home, valuables and family?”
“I hadn’t thought about that. Wouldn’t agents bring their buyers by?”
“Perhaps, but because you’re not advertised on the MLS, they will not know about your home. Most of the time agents carefully plan their time with their clients and don’t have time to make unexpected stops. Open houses typically bring lookie-loos and curious neighbors because serious buyers normally use an agent.”
What just happened here?
The prospect was anticipating a Positive Future of potential buyers coming into the home, liking it and writing an offer. What the question and answer did was to create the expectation of a Negative Future by discussing the pitfalls of the course the prospect intended to take.
Successful Real Estate agents will prepare and practice the questions they know will lead to the change in the prospect’s expectations. Then they can seamlessly discuss the issues and plant the seeds of doubt in their prospect about the Positive Future they want. Once again it’s important to remember that you are offering something of value and make sure your questions and answers are truthful and valuable.
Offer Solutions That Move the Prospect Back to a Positive Future
Just as a doctor might ask questions that uncover issues the patient might not even realize they had, so too your questions will help the prospect understand that they do have a need. Now is the time to offer a solution. This is the way we move their expectation back to a Positive Future…by using your services.
“Mrs. Prospect, I would handle the marketing differently. I would be present at all showings to ensure that everyone who comes into your home is a qualified potential buyer. I will have another agent with me at all open houses to make sure no one wanders through the home unattended.”
The solution is that by using your services, the property and its contents are protected. Real Estate agents are first and foremost salespeople. You must learn the techniques that allow you to move the prospect to client by offering your valuable services in a manner that allows them also to realize how you can help them achieve the Positive Future they want. This process might entail a number of questions and answers to make sure you uncover all the possible barriers to using your services, but in the end, you will have a client who is excited about the service you provide and the Positive Future it will bring them and move your into the 20 percent of successful agents.
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