When you meet a new client, it's highly advisable to sit down with them and go over a list of qualifying and segmenting questions. Having a form prepared for such purposes, will save you a lot of running around and questioning down the road. It will also allow you to channel them into a select group for actions that meet their current needs.
The following is a list of the basic questions we should all be addressing as an initiatory step when beginning to work with a new client/customer :
- Name and Address
- Telephone number (s), fax number and email
Selling or Buying ?
- Time frame (eg. 0-3 months,0-6 months, 6-12 months, 12 months+)
- How do they prefer that you communicate with them? eg. by phone, email, etc
Are they presently working with a REALTOR® ? (this should be one of your very first questions at initial contact with any new prospective client)
- Have you worked with a REALTOR® before and how was your experience?
- How they found out about you eg. referral, website, etc
- Are they familiar with the buying/selling process?
Are there any other parties that will be involved with the decision making process eg. parents, partner, etc.
- Price range
- Have they been pre-qualified through a lender?
- Property search criteria
- Reasons for selling/buying.
Prepare a standard form that categorizes each question above and have it filled out at the beginning of each new client relationship you embark on. File it in the appropriate group (eg. 0-3 months, 0-6 months, etc) both in your computer files as well as including a hard copy in a group binder format.
The form, if created in WORD format , may be emailed to your prospects if they live too far to come in for an introductory meeting.
They are then able to fill it out via their computer and email it back to you.
Once you have determined if the prospect is a serious buyer/seller or not, you can then proceed to a more detailed 'client profile' form.
The more detailed client profile form should contain the following sections to be filled out by your new client:
- Home phone, work phone, cell phone
- job title
- neighbourhoods /areas preferred
- types of property that will be considered (eg. detached, condo, etc)
- #bedrooms required
- #bathrooms required
- square footage desired
list of features desired/required (eg. A/C, Fireplace, Garage, etc)
- Lot size preferred and amenities desired (eg. treed, fenced, etc)
- Pet's name
- Chidren's names and ages
List of Interests and Hobbies with checkmarks for each that apply (eg. movies, travel, nature, gardening, sports, etc)~useful for closing gifts, marketing pieces, etc.
- At the bottom of the form there should be an area for you, the sales representative, to fill out the closing date on the property they buy/sell through you , their new address and their new phone number.
The above steps, that you take at the beginning of working with a new client/customer, will alleviate the expenditure of time, money and energy during the process of assisting them in buying/selling property and keep you organized, efficient and better able to focus on the job at hand. Your client will also experience a more smooth and easy transaction process and have greater confidence and trust in you due to your attention to detail and organizational skills.
Important Update Regarding Privacy Legislation in Canada and Requirements of Real Estate Sales Representatives Before Collecting Information: Please Read the following two comments taken from Below~
"When you get to that more detailed client profile, don't forget that in Canada you must have the client's permission to collect and keep their detailed personal information. Also you are also responsible that it's kept secure. This applies not only to your records at the office, but also to any client's records you keep at home.
For more see: http://privacyforbusiness.ic.gc.ca"
Good morning, Larry ... Thanks for stopping by and for your excellent reminder!
You're completely correct about the requirement to discuss privacy legislation with our clients here in Canada. I begin each new client relationship by telling my prospect that the information they are giving me will be used strictly for the task at hand and will not be sold or given away to anyone for any purposes. I explain to them why it is important for them to be aware of it (ie. Canada's privacy laws) and then I give them one of my company's Privacy Brochures:
before I proceed to ask the questions on the form.