The Unresponsive Agent
One of the recurring themes I hear from potential customers thinking about buying property is that they contacted 10 agents and only a handful responded. Some of the reason for this occurrence is the barrage of “inquiries” that agents get from people that think they might be interested in a property. Many agents have adopted the “buyer will have to hunt me down” method of qualifying their customers. This is sort of a default switch with agents, as it requires little action on their part to simply pick and choose who they respond to. I must confess that I have been that agent as well. However, I have found taking one proactive step will keep me from being the subject of conversation with “the agent that called them back.” This secret is really no secret, and the magic trick is really not magic. It requires some effort on the part of the agent. It requires an understanding of the product the agent is marketing, and an understanding of people’s needs, wants, and desires. It requires a customer that is willing to communicate with the agent, and not stonewall the enemy…which seems to be many people’s idea of pre-negotiations.
That’s the folks the agent wants to talk to. That’s the people that an agent can help. Most people reach this stage at some point in their buying cycle. Our task is to coax out the ones that are ready, willing, and able to buy. After all, that’s the people that sign our paychecks in today’s market. Ready, willing, and able buyers. Indeed all the listing agreements I have ever seen stated that we earned our commission when we produced a ready, willing, and able buyer for the seller.
Customers listen up! Agents WANT to talk with ready, willing, and able buyers. They WANT to help you. They WANT to communicate with customers that really communicate with them. Agents listen up! You are missing out on business because your method of sorting out customers lacks any method at all. You have to QUALIFY your customers. That sounds like a dirty sales word to some people, but when done effectively, it will lend professionalism to your service.
Customers… Use the list of questions below to help you understand what an agent needs to know in order to effectively respond to you. Chances are you are not going to work with all 10 agents you contacted. Chances are that if you select carefully, and provide one agent with this information, you can have a very happy and successful relationship with an agent that understands what you are looking for. The job of marketing real estate is how we make a living. It is how we feed our families. Our time is valuable. If you desire a serious response from an agent, one that costs the agent his time and knowledge, then you need to communicate your sincerity to the agent by giving them the information they need.
Agents… Use the list of questions below to help you draw out your customer’s needs, wants, and desires. Use it to guide them into a purchase that is realistic for them. Use it to QUALIFY your potential customers so that you can spend your time working with ready, willing, and able buyers. Use it to “weed-out” the tire-kickers and time wasters (Yes, I just called some potential customers time wasters). Use it so that you don’t succumb to customer apathy. Be proactive. Be professional.
Questions Every Customer Should Answer When Buying Rural Property
- Are you currently working with any other agents? If so, do you have an agreement with them to represent you?
- What part of the world are you open to buying in? If you need to be close to some place or something, let me know that.
- What is the minimum amount of acreage you would be satisfied with?
- How will you be using the property? Residence, Investment, Recreational, Farming, Hunting…etc. Please elaborate.
- If you are looking for a property with an existing home, tell me what type of house will fit your needs. Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Style, Size…etc. Please elaborate.
- What special features are you looking for?
- Are you looking for Timberland, Pasture, Farmland, or some variation/combination?
- Does the property have to be on a paved road or do you have any other “must have’s” or “must be’s”?
- Have you been pre-qualified with a lender for a land/farm purchase or will you be paying cash? (Note that being prequalified for a standard mortgage is much different than being prequalified for a land or farm purchase. Down payment requirements are higher in most cases.)
- What is your budget for this purchase?
- How soon are you willing to make a purchase commitment?
- Tell me anything else you think I should know about your perfect property, those things that are important to you…
So there you have it. Obviously this list will need some customization for your particular market and way of doing business, but the point is the same. Communication and a proactive process of QUALIFYING.
Customers… If you want a response, QUALIFY yourself by providing the agent with this information.
Agents… If you want to avoid customer apathy and spend your time with ready, willing, and able buyers, then get this information prior to driving all over the planet with tire-kickers and time wasters on $3.50 gasoline.
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