4 Questions to Close More Leads

Real Estate Agent with myVAteam

As Realtors we wear many hats. We're business managers, marketers, councillors, advisors, book keepers, construction and renovation consultants, and so much more. But all of this is built on and around a single crucial skill: the ability to close real estate leads. Without that basic ability, we fail. And yet most of us just aren't amazing at it. In fact if we were totally honest with ourselves we'd admit that we probably aren't very good at it and could use some serious improvement in the area. So to help us all along, here's a few things that I think you should be asking on EVERY SINGLE AD CALL.

1. "Why are you buying a home?"

The great Walter Sanford preaches about discovering a clients' motivation and using that knowledge to earn their business. I can't count how many times he's said to me "You can't fix their pain if you don't know what it is." If you can identify their motivation, you can use every question from this point forward to close them to become a client. So why aren't we asking this question right at the beginning? Why? Because we're scared to. It's a direct question. Direct questions get direct answers, and sometimes we're afraid to have the buyer answer honestly with "I'm not buying a home. I'm just curious."

2. "Do you have a home that you'll need to sell to buy this one? Or are you renting?"

If a lead has a home to sell, as well as to purchase, you are looking at double the income. Personally, I put a little more effort into closing a lead if they're also going to generate a listing for me. I love listings, so these leads get a little more lovin' from me. Likewise I also like to know if my buyer-lead is renting. The answer usually gives me a timeline for their purchase through the follow-up question. "When is your lease up?"

3. "Have you been approved by {brokerage name} to get the best discount on mortgage rates with the major lenders?"

This is so much more effective than "Are you pre-approved?" Most buyers don't know the difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified. This eliminates that problem. Likewise, it opens the door for my lender to get into the game. The lender can give me a more enlightened view of their financing position, as well as providing an ever so valuable 3rd party referral to the buyer when they talk to him/her. By wording the question this way, the buyer lead gets hungry to work with my lender... an assumptive close for me.

4. "Are You Working With Another Realtor?"

Don't kid yourself. Some people don't want to bother their agent, or just don't understand that they shouldn't be calling the listing agent directly. But they do. Then they write the offer with their agent. So find out if they're wasting your time up front. Then you can decide if you want to service your seller and show the listing, or tell the buyer to call their own agent to see the home.


There you have it. 4 questions that, when applied against every lead, will increase your closing ration. This means more clients for less cost, more commissions, and a better life. Good luck out there!


- John Carle

Edmonton Real Estate Agent

ReMax Real Estate (Edmonton) Ltd.


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Comments (7)

Bob Foster
Century 21 Lanthorn R. E. Ltd. Belleville, Ontario - Belleville, ON

All good choices. Thanks, John.

May 24, 2009 03:56 PM
June Piper-Brandon
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Ellicott City, MD
Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time

John, what great reminders to all of us.  I have found lately that even though we are asking these questions some buyers are still lying about the last one. 

May 24, 2009 04:24 PM
Jim Cheney
Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA - Santa Rosa, CA
Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055

Good advice.  Nothing worse than finding out your lead already has an agent. 

May 24, 2009 04:46 PM
Rita Fong
RE/MAX REAL ESTATE TODAY, Executive Broker 901-488-9590 - Marion, AR
Realtor - Marion Arkansas Homes for Sale

Hi, John,  Good points, but I agree with June, some buyers are just not honest up front no matter what.  They know the system, and they are manipulating it.  I asked the same question all the time, some of them still will not tell you the truth.  And they give us the bad reputation and say we are dishonest!? haha.

May 24, 2009 05:24 PM
Debra Cernick
DeShazer Ryan Realty - Libby, MT

Thanks for the blog.  Good ideas - good questions!  We do not always get the answers that we seek.

May 24, 2009 05:25 PM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

John, these are great basic questions - but some buyers just won't tell you everything until they get to know you. If you're super busy, these will be people you probably won't choose to work with. They have to be 'nurtured.'


May 24, 2009 05:52 PM
John Carle
myVAteam - Edmonton, AB

You're all right, of course. Some buyers won't answer the questions. If they don't... I won't waste my time on them. I'd much rather spend time with qualified buyers who will answer my questions than with dishonest or misleading buyers. I won't end up working with them in the end anyways. 

The trick is that you have to have so many leads coming in that you HAVE to eliminate some. Remember, you don't have to work with everyone. I generate between 70-100 "stranger leads" (people I haven't met before) every month from my website and sign calls. I only need about 5% of them to keep my business going strong. I so can be exceedingly picky about who I deal with. 

Where these 4 questions become so effective is that they allow me to work only with the qualified and motivated buyers. I don't waste as much time showing as my competition, and as such I have more time to generate more leads (or God forbid... play with my kids!). 

As an industry we have to improve our skills, or we will continue to work ridiculous hours. 

All the best. 


John Carle

Edmonton Real Estate Agent

ReMax Real Estate Edmonton


May 25, 2009 01:37 AM