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The red-hot market we experienced from 2020 through the first half of this year is decelerating. Because of these incredible market conditions, many real estate agents have forgotten the fundamentals of this business, specifically the buyer consultation. This initial meeting with the consumer will establish credibility with clients and help agents gain more business.
Over the past two years, buyers have moved quickly. As a result, seeing offers at $100,000 or more over the asking price with all contingencies waived was common.
With such a strong consumer intent to buy, amazing demand and low inventory, agents have lost fundamental skills they will need as the market begins to normalize. The buyer’s consult is one of these skills, including how and when to offer it.
Mastering the buyer’s consult establishes credibility with clients and helps agents find the most motivated buyers with the highest intent to transact. That’s why knowing how to deliver the buyer’s consult and what topics to include is essential as the market changes.
The driveway consult
The driveway consult is a simple yet effective way to connect to buyers. At showings, ask clients to stick around for a few minutes afterward. Then, walk the client through how the buying process works and what they can expect along the way.
It’s much easier getting potential clients to meet you at the home they want to see and spending extra time there than driving to your office or a coffee shop.
The 2-step consult
The two-step consult takes the driveway consult one step further. After asking clients to stick around after the showing, talk to them about the process and other factors like the market conditions and sales activity. Then, schedule a follow-up meeting on the spot.
Whether in person, on Zoom, or over coffee, the second meeting should describe the buying process in more detail. This is your opportunity to onboard them as a client.
Asking questions like, “Has anyone taken the time to explain the purchase process in detail?” will help you win business and get a yes to the follow-up onboarding appointment.
The immediate consult
The immediate consult is a proactive approach that asks clients to commit to a consultation before looking at any properties. This strategy is especially beneficial for first-time homebuyers because they don’t know much about real estate despite how educated they are.
When scheduling the consult, use phrases like, “Before you look at anything, let’s make sure you know what’s involved with buying a home so you can make an informed business decision that’s best for you.”
After scheduling the buyer’s consult, establish credibility with the buyer by discussing four main points:
1. The purchase process
Even if a client has previously purchased a home, describe how the purchase process works. Develop a timeline or bulleted list that includes every step from the initial meeting to the closing, and everything in between.
Review every element so nothing is missed throughout the process. When unexpected steps happen, an agent is no longer the knowledge expert and has lost credibility with the buyer.
2. Cost of acquisition
Prepare a sample closing cost estimate for the client. It’s a simple and effective way to review the financial details of the transaction.
The two most critical numbers for buyers are cash needed to close and how much the monthly payments will be. If working with cash buyers, only discuss closing costs.
This is the buyer’s financial plan to get into the home. It eliminates surprises and will speed up the offer process when the client finds a home to pursue.
3. Ask: What are you looking for in an agent?
One of the most important questions to ask during a buyer’s consultation is, “What are you looking for in an agent?”
The answer to this question helps agents know what clients value so they can deliver well above their expectations.
For example, if a client appreciates communication, walk them through your communication plan, and be prepared to follow through on it. If they value market knowledge, explain how you educate your clients on sales activity and market trends.
Be ready to send a plethora of resources. These actions demonstrate that you are listening to them and meeting their needs. This type of approach will also make your clients feel supported and start the trust-building process.
4. Points of difference
Lastly, clearly articulate your points of difference. How will you help the buyer get what they really want by the end of the process? What do you do differently than other agents to deliver your clients a better result? Articulating your value proposition is more important than ever in the shifting market climate.
At this point, you’ve got it all covered when it comes to the buyer’s consult: what the process looks like, what it’s going to cost, what clients are looking for, and how you stand out from other agents.
If you use the three different ways to close a buyer’s consult and review these four topics, you will close more business and, more importantly, find motivated clients who value your time and want to work with you.
And in this climate, all three are critical.