If you called your doctor and told him you had a rash and you asked him to meet you in the Walmart parking lot, what would his response be? If you called a lawyer and told him you had a matter to discuss with them, could he meet you outside of Burger King, how would he respond? Or you called your accountant and told them you would like to review your taxes, could she meet you in front of Starbucks, how would she respond? In all three scenerios I am certain the response would be ,"No, make an appointment and meet me at my office!" All three of these, people are professionals and they conduct their business accordingly! Are we not professionals also? Why then do we continue to run out and show houses to people we do not know without first meeting them at our office?
I am amazed on a daily basis to see the number of agents, who continue to let people waste their time and money by running out and showing homes to people who they don't know. These agents are the same agents who say,"Buyers are liars!" They fail to ask the right questions when they first speak with the prospect and then after wasting their time and gas money to show them homes, they find out the "prospect" was just a nosey neighbor who was just curious what the home looked like! They failed to ask the right questions to determine the callers motivation, and then they call them liars!
I ask agents all the time what is the difference between a prospect and a client? I usually get a blank stare from them and then they say," I am not sure I understand your question". I then explain to them that the difference between a buyer prospect and client is that the prospect does not become a client until they meet a certain criteria! A client is "Ready, willing and able to buy NOW!" If they do not meet all of the requirements for a client they remain a prospect and prospects do not view homes! How do you find out if someone is ,"Ready willing and able to buy NOW?" You ask!
We need to determine the following:1) Their full name, 2)Phone number, 3)Email address, 4)Are they working with a Realtor?, 5) Have they been pre-approved (If so with who?). Only after getting acceptable answers to these questions do we proceed to the next and most important step in the sales process - SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT! Do not bypass this step it will be the difference in your success or failure in real estate! I have not seen the latest statistics but a few years ago NAR reported that agents were selling 2 out of 10 buyers they were showing homes to! That is crazy! That translates to wasting 80% of your time! Can you afford that when gas is over $3.00 a gallon?
Now I have heard all the reasons why it is impossible or impractical to not meet with a prospect first. They don't want to come to the office! The office is to far! They live in that neighborhood! I have heard them all! If you can not get them to the office, where else can you meet with them? How about their current home? If it is in a gated community, meet them at the community center! It does not matter where you meet with them as long as you sit down with them and determine if they meet your criteria to become a client! Remember we do not show houses to prospects, they have to become clients first!
Now is the time for everyone in the real estate industry to restore the professionalism in our business, that has been lost over the last 5 years. The people who got into the business over the last few years are slowly going back to their "real jobs!" We owe it to each other to let the public know that we are Real Estate Professionals! Our time is valuable and we will not let people waste it! Isn't it better to find out now that your "buyer" is not serious rather than after spending 3 weekends showing them houses?
The hardest thing you will ever do in this business is to tell someone that you are sorry, but you can't work with them. It is also the smartest thing, let them go and waste somebody elses time!
Mike Kelly, Broker/Owner Sellstate Advantage Realty 239-549-9200