Winning clients is about establishing yourself as an expert by playing part business manager and part counselor. No matter what role you’re in, you need to offer the real estate information that matters most. That means understanding their worries and woes and being ready to give the answers that motivate them to purchase a home and use you as their expert guide for the process.
Here are the 5 top questions that plague buyers today and ways you can answer them to win more transaction-ready clients:
1. How do I boost my credit rating?
Financing is often the most confusing part of the buying process; it also happens to be the most important. At the basis of this process is the credit rating. Buyers may know the importance of their credit rating, but are often at a loss for how to interpret or improve it.
Encourage your buyers to first find out their credit score. There are many free resources to get access to your personal FICO score, like freecreditscore.com or annualcreditreport.com. Once they have that in hand, then work with them to develop a plan for finding a mortgage broker or improving the score.
If you think they need to boost their score, tell them to start with the low-hanging fruit, such as closing out old accounts, and disputing anything on the report that looks suspicious. From there, you can help them with more advanced strategies, such as paying off certain high-interest debts.
Why make the effort? Today’s credit worriers are tomorrow’s prepared buyers. Working with these buyers early can help you establish a bond and reputation they won’t forget when it’s time to shop seriously.
2. How much home can I afford?
Next to credit, the next most common worry of buyers is home price. When you’re trying to win new clients or help existing ones, one sure-fire way to succeed to help them answer the “affordability” question early.
Buyers need to know how much home they can afford before they start looking seriously. If they don’t, both buyer and agent run the risk of wasting a ton of time.
To help answer this question you don’t need to be a mortgage expert. You can offer estimates on the spot if you have the right tools like the Trulia Mortgage iPhone App, which will not only give buyers a good idea of how much home they can afford, but also help connect them with respected lenders who can help them begin the mortgage process instantly.
3. What neighborhoods are best for me?
Once credit and price are squared away, the next thing that’ll be on your buyer’s brain is one of the trickiest of them all: What neighborhood is best for me?
Why is this tricky? Helping buyers decided on a neighborhood can sometimes lead you to topics that you are prohibited from discussing, due to Fair Housing laws.
The best way to address this issue is to include discovery questions into your first few conversations to find out what criteria are important to your prospective buyer. Then use your client’s answers to point them to resources that will help best evaluate neighborhoods.
One great place to start is Trulia Local, which offers data on crime, schools, commute and other topics important to buyers. In addition, find out if there are neighborhood Facebook pages or online social groups in your area to give your buyers insight into what people who live in the areas actually think of it.
4. Is now really the best time to buy?
This is the one question every agent should be able to answer because it’s the best opportunity for you to show off your local market knowledge and expertise. The best way to answer this question is with data and information about the market conditions in your local area.
Before you start talking with your buyer prospects, make sure you are up to date on economic data, government regulations, and sales data from your MLS. You need to say more than, “Now is the best time to buy.” You need to be able to show them why. Make sure you know your local market inside and out and if you need a few references or national data to back up your opinion, check out the Trulia Pro Industry feed for weekly market updates.
5. Which agent should I use?
This, of course, is the biggest of all the questions. You should always interpret this question to mean, “Why should I choose you as my agent?”
This is your chance to list all of the attributes that make you the best professional for the job by displaying your market, knowledge, and neighborhood knowledge.
And, while it’s great to tell prospects this, nothing beats documentation to back it up. One great way to back up your elevator speech is to say “you should check out my references” and point them to your resume and past-client recommendations
Client winning is about giving the answers that build trust in you and your expertise. Prepare answers to these 5 questions key questions and you’ll be ready to win any of the transaction-ready clients you run into in this market.
These are our top 5 client worries and questions. What worries would you add to the list? What’s the biggest worry of buyers and buyer prospects in your area?