Is Your Prospect a Time Waster?

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The Lones Group, Inc.

Is Your Prospect a Time Waster?

How do you tell the difference between good and bad prospects? One will waste your time, dragging you from house to house-getting all kinds of information from you-only to end up dumping you right before writing an offer.

You also have clients who seem like time wasters, but they're just very analytical and thorough in their search. These are people who have concerns that cannot be addressed quickly - and that's fine.

Don't be tempted to put everybody in the same category. Just because you've showed somebody 20 houses and they haven't bought doesn't mean they are a time waster. The 21st house may be their dream home. Knowing how to spot the difference between the two can save you a lot of time, money, and energy.

There IS a simple way to tell the difference. And it's all about ACTION! If they're not willing to take actions to work together with you, then you know they're a time waster.

For example, let's say you have a couple you've shown a few houses to. They haven't budged and you suspect they're time wasters. You don't want to drop them completely because you don't want to miss out on the next house being "the one".

What do you do?

Give them a "homework assignment". Something simple. Maybe provide them with a list of homes and ask them to rate them. Ask them to write down what they like and don't like about the properties.

If they're not willing to take this little effort to help you find what they're looking for, guess what? Yep! Chances are they're a time waster.

Be careful. Don't let time wasters vacuum information out of you without some kind of "commitment" to working with you.

Other telltale signs that someone is a time waster:

They will not come to your office for a meeting.
Red Alert! If they're not willing to get in their car to meet with you, they might be a time waster.

They don't want you to get too close to their personal space.
If you suggest dropping by with some information, but they insist on coming to your office instead or they say, "Oh, just throw it in the mail," they might be a time waster.

They don't want you to meet the other person involved in the transaction.
"My husband is out of town" or "My partner works until midnight" or "I'm making all the decisions for my mother," all of these smell like a time waster.

They don't return your phone calls.
Or your texts, or your emails.

And perhaps most importantly, your gut feeling tells you, "This person is not sincere."
Something about them just doesn't add up. You can't put your finger on it, but from all your human experience you can tell - this might be a time waster.

The old cliché, Time is money, was invented for real estate agents (OK, I made that one up, but it fits). Your time IS your money. If you suspect someone is wasting your time, listen to the sound of money falling out of your bank account because that's exactly what's happening.


By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Marte Cliff 05/18/2019 10:35 AM
Real Estate Best Practices
client care
time is money
real estate
time waster
denise lones
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Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Denise - as you stated it's not a one-size-fits-all test to see if a prospect is a time-waster but there are signs to watch and steps that are taken/not taken that help in the determining process.  The quicker that process rolls out, the sooner we can move forward.  

May 17, 2019 10:00 AM #1
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

Good afternoon 

Thank you for sharing your information with us Denise Lones 

Have a great day.

Friday May 17, 2019. 

May 17, 2019 10:13 AM #2
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

HI Denise Lones - You have offered some great ideas to tell the two types apart. I like the simple test.

I usually give someone the benefit of the doubt. But every once and a while, you have to let go.  

I had a client that fit that first scenario just to go to another agent to buy a home.  I saw her at Starbucks and she thanked me for all the help I was to the her...the nerve of this women!

This person now got her license and works in my office. Eventually, she will ask me for some sort of help. I have a plan for that!

May 17, 2019 11:56 AM #3
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Denise- great post!  When Larry and i were looking for a home in Northern VA in a seller's market, an agent could have viewed us as a time waster. But we weren"t about to settle. Our agent knew that and it paid off for her. 

May 17, 2019 07:10 PM #4
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Helping a buyer select a home to buy is a process that the agent creates and follows and if during the process, the agent discovers that the buyer becomes uncooperative or reluctant to fulfill their commitment, it's time to either terminate the opportunity or reset the expectations and their time line to take action to close on a property. 

May 17, 2019 11:49 PM #5
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Yes, the gut can be a great determinant of whether someone is serious or not.

May 18, 2019 04:26 AM #6
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I'm in agreement with Kat Palmiotti. Every time I've ignored that gut feeling, I've had to pay. 

Pay attention to all the signs, but even if none of them are present, if your gut says "Get out of here," then run, don't walk.

May 18, 2019 10:31 AM #7
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good evening Denise. Working with someone who isn't ready to take action is a wate of time. bte Bye.....

May 18, 2019 04:41 PM #8
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


                       Thank you, Denise. 

May 18, 2019 07:00 PM #9
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Denise - those are real time waster's for sure.  And this applies not just to real estate.

May 19, 2019 04:32 AM #10
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

So accurate. I like your recommendation of a homework assignment.

May 19, 2019 08:03 AM #11
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

My husband and I bought our home a year took us a year to find "the one". 

My agent is a long time friend and she was very patient with us.

I didn't want to feel like I was wasting anyone's time so we always did a drive by before asking our agent to schedule a showing. Many times the drive by was enough to eliminate the need for a showing.

May 20, 2019 09:33 AM #12
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

This is such a good post! I've had people contact me about utilizing my services who were not truly interested in doing so. I've spent lots of hours answering questions and explaining how things work, only to have the prospect tell me they've decided to do the work themselves or something similar. I've learned over the years to discern between someone who is truly interested and someone who is just sucking the time out of me. (See what I did there?)

May 20, 2019 11:05 AM #13
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

We have all encountered the time wasters at least once, and probably more than that. Knowing when to cut the cord and let them move on...if they don't do so on their key. I tend to find my gut feeling works pretty well.

May 22, 2019 03:19 PM #14
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh - Cary Triangle Real Estate 919-602-8489

Denise, This is a great post! We've all seen them and if you've been in this business long enough you've wasted way too much time with them! 

May 26, 2019 06:11 AM #15
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Wonderful post and spot-on, Denise. I love that I have gotten past that 'should I or shouldn't I?' stage in the business! Like you probably do now, it's all gut for me!

May 27, 2019 03:40 PM #16
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