Stop Killing Sales with These 11 Tips & Tricks
Real estate proves a hard sell. Don’t make things harder by getting in your own way. Everyone can improve their selling skills. As real estate agents, we spend an incredible amount of time on getting more leads, focusing on marketing, and investing in expensive Zillow and Trulia leads. Instead, you should be learning how to stop killing your sales.
As someone who ran a quilt business for 18 years, I know when sales go south. Faces never lie; as soon as you see a client’s face fall, you know you’ve lost that sale. These 11 tips helped me boost my success, and they’re sure to help you too.
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1. Decision Maker
First and foremost, find the decision maker in the group. Every group has one. Look for the person who other group members want to please. If you’re unfamiliar with body language, here’s a question that always brings out the decision maker: “Who wants to give me the grand tour?” This goes one of two ways. Either the decision maker will offer, or they will tell someone else to do it.
Now you have the decision maker. What next? Firstly, make sure you’re tailoring your sales pitch to that decision maker. They’re the one who’s most likely going to be writing the check. Secondly, do not ignore the other members of the group. This is important. Make sure everyone gets involved. You don’t want to disrespect other group members because you’re only talking to the decision maker. Keep everyone in mind, but spend a little more time with that decision maker.
2. Opposite Sex
This one’s tricky. If you are showing a couple around a house and you’ve identified the decision maker as the opposite sex to you, be careful how you act. Sometimes partners of the same sex to you start to feel uncomfortable when you’re speaking to their significant other. They may not know why, it may be subconscious, or they may actively think you’re flirting, but if that partner does not feel comfortable the sale will walk out the door.
To combat this, just be aware of how you speak to clients and what kind of body language you give off. Don’t get too touchy-feely—a firm handshake to both parties suffices—and try to dress in a conservative manner. As long as you’re aware of how you conduct yourself, you’ll get that sale.
The minute you get out of rapport with a client, that sale goes away. Clients want to feel like you know them on a personal level. You’re helping them buy a house after all! That’s a big decision. You want your clients to feel like they can trust you. One of the best ways to do that is to keep a constant rapport with them.
This goes beyond shared interest with the client. How you talk, your tonality and body language contribute to rapport. You don’t want to speed through a sales pitch if you’re talking to two older clients who keep asking you to repeat yourself. Listen to people when they speak. Do they speak softly, or are they loud? Most real estate agents learn to be vivacious and extroverted to attract clients, but some people are put off by that. A friend of mine has a client that speaks so quietly he can barely hear him on the phone. Instead of speaking in his normal, high-energy manner, he changes his tone to nearly a whisper. Because of that, his client trusts him to understand what he wants in a house.
4. Too Much Information
Working at my quilt shop, we got all kinds of customers. Some asked questions about every little detail while others preferred to take our word. Either way, the most asked question when they entered the shop was, “Where did you get all these quilts?”
Though the question seems simple, it hides a trap for unsuspecting sellers. Say you got most of the quilts from China because they cost less to make. If you tell people that, they won’t know what to do with that information. Why? Because they only asked to be polite. In fact, they probably don’t want to know, especially if the answer involves something negative. Instead of giving more truth than you need to, make it a positive. Tell them this: “Well, you know we get our quilts from just about everywhere! China, India, and some are might right here in the States.” When you open up the conversation with something positive, the customer feels comfortable with you. Most importantly, give customers surface level information unless otherwise asked.
5. Do You Like A or B?
Another way to ensure a sale is to make customers choose. In the quilt shop, we had people who had no idea they were going home with a quilt. The best way to get people to bite is to put options in front of them. Some people would touch the same quilt every time they passed it. When you notice that, make a reason to spread it out. Then take down another one. Spread that one out too. Ask the customer which one they like best. Once you engage with them, they’ll start opening up to the idea of purchasing.
Do the same thing with real estate. Buyers don’t always want to commit to such a big purchase, but it’s your job to show them what they want. Sometimes all they need is that extra push.
6. No Negative Opinions
This goes off of the last tip. Don’t bring negativity to the discussion. You can always tell when something you said makes a customer feel bad. Let’s go back to the two quilts. One has ornate zig-zag borders and the other has standard borders. You know that the zig-zag border costs more to make, so you try to sell the customer on it even though they prefer the standard border. You say, “This quilt has this unique, ornate border. Absolutely beautiful. This other one has a plain border.” That’s when you’ve made a mistake. The customer replies, “Oh, yeah, I guess that is plain.” The word “plain” has stuck with the customer. Now they feel like they can’t tell the difference between a good quilt and a mediocre one.
Of course, that isn’t the case; however, by using an adjective with negative connotations, they now feel bad about their choice. Always keep things positive. Instead of “plain,” say “simple” or “elegant.” Never offer a negative opinion. Your words stick with a customer, so speak carefully.
7. What Your Client REALLY Wants
If a client comes in with a strong idea of what they want, you may think all the work is done for you. Not the case! Know what the client wants—beyond what they bring to you originally. The way to do this is to ask questions. Someone can come in saying they want a mid-century farmhouse, but in reality they just want something that looks historical. You won’t know that, though, unless you ask. Whenever you show someone a house, ask them what they like and what they don’t like. If you don’t ask, they may not tell you. A surefire way to lose a sale is to show clients houses they don’t like. Make sure you get it right.
8. Gotta Know Your Stuff
This goes along with knowing what your client wants. Above all, clients want real estate agents who know what they’re doing. That’s why they came to you in the first place. Clients need your expertise. Make sure you have your facts and figures in order. Clients dodge commitment to a property with excuses. They may say, “Well, I just don’t know what the property value of this will be later on down the road” or “I’m unsure if our furniture will fit.” These are valid questions, but if you can’t answer them, then you can say goodbye to the sale. Have the numbers memorized or easily available. Don’t be afraid to whip out a tape measure to give them exact measurements on the spot. They’ll be much more inclined to trust you if you can answer their questions.
9. Handling Objections
Some clients walk into a house and tear it to pieces. In those instances, keep your mouth shut. I learned from a friend that if a client goes around a house and points out everything they dislike, don’t say a word. “This shag carpet is dated,” the clients said. He simply nodded. They moved to the next room. “These counters are lavender.” He nodded again. For every room, the clients had something negative to say. However, by the end of the tour they said, “This is perfect. We’ll take it.” Seems counterintuitive, but overselling a house may make clients sway away from a decision. Yes, they had complaints, but they still decided it was the one. Let them make that decision!
10. Making Concessions
New agents give away their commissions too fast and too often. Not only does this hurt your checkbook, but it puts added pressure on you to make more sales to compensate for everything you gave away. Value yourself or your clients won’t value you. Try to hold back as long as you can. You never know when you need a cushion, so avoid giving it away up front.
11. Don’t Give Up
Finally, do not give up a sale until the client lets you know they are done. They won’t say it outright, but you need to know when a sale finishes. Back at the quilt shop, my mother used to tell me this. One time, we had a couple come in and immediately walk back out. She says gray hair enabled her to do this, but she grabbed this poor couple and brought them back in the store. She showed them around all the quilts, talked with them about what they liked, and they ended up buying a whole bedroom set. Had she let them walk out of the shop, that sale wouldn’t have happened.
Here’s another example. My mother sold some quilts to a woman. This woman already spent hundreds of dollars, but my mother knew she wasn’t done yet. She pulls out another quilt, and this woman takes her newly purchased quilts to her car, comes back, and buys another $300 quilt. You never know when someone’s done unless you ask. Never quit until they say they’re done!
Stop Losing Sales
With these 11 tips, your sales will skyrocket. I want everyone to have the best year of their life, so I gathered these tips with your checkbook in mind. Stop losing easy sales! You’d be surprised how many people make these easily fixed mistakes. This year, make it a priority to get as many sales as possible. Good luck, and get to work!