The System for Real Estate Buyer Service and Referral Success

12 Feb 2019

Last week you learned an end-to-end system for real estate listing success.  Now it’s time to do the same for real estate buyers and referrals.  What is your current plan for real estate buyer services success?  As with the listings system, we’re going to set up a system for buyers that is modeled after worldwide sales training.  Here is the 7-Step Real Estate Buyer Services Success System.

Step 1: Relationship and Trust

Now we’re starting out in building a rapport with your buyer prospect(s).  We know that buyers are all over the Internet searching for listed homes and information about buying a home.  With this in mind, our most important first step in building a relationship is providing valuable and trusted information on our website.

Actions for Success

First, segregate information based on the buyer prospect type.  This would mean creating landing pages with information specific to the first-time homebuyer, while other pages concentrate on details of the buying and transaction process that interests all buyers.  The better you are at providing interesting and valuable information, the more likely you’ll be to get traffic to your real estate website.  Of course, you’ll need to generate a lead to get their contact information if you’re going to move them from a suspect to a prospect.

Create pages and calls-to-action that are specific to different buyer information topics and answers to common questions.  You’ll also want a dynamic IDX search function, as more than 90% of buyers say that they want to search listings online.  Then you’ll want to introduce them to a more consultative process in your follow-up emails.  Set yourself apart by offering a form to ask questions about the home they’re seeking.  Let them know that you will be asking these questions in your first meeting, as you offer a high level of buyer services that require knowing their situation and home criteria.

Step 2: The Up-Front Contract

This is a step that seems difficult and pushy, but it’s not if you try it.  You want to ask your buyers about their home purchase plan, including price range and when they expect to make a purchase.  What are they looking for in a home and why?  Is it their first home purchase, or are they new to the area?

Actions for Success

This isn’t a hard-sell approach.  Basically, you’re just going to ask questions that get their desires and needs out on the table.  Once you know what they want and a realistic price range and ability to get financing, you can ask them the decision question.  “If I can find you two or three homes that meet all of your search criteria and are in your price range, are you ready to make the buying decision and get a contract in front of the seller?”  Explain that giving them more than one matching home, you’re helping them in the negotiation by not making it a win or lose thing.  They have fallbacks if they can’t get the price or terms they want on their first choice.  Then ask them if you are able to meet their desires in a home and in their price range, are they ready to write up a deal and get ready to move.  You want to be able to get them to remember this commitment later if they get hesitant.

Step 3: The Pain Step

How strong is their need or desire to buy?  One buyer couple told their agent that they were sick and tired of being moved out of rental homes they liked because the owner wanted to sell.  Other buyers wanted to provide a home for their first child, and others wanted to be able to make a home their own, as they can’t change things in rentals.  You want to find out their motivations and how strong their desire is to buy.

Actions for Success

The more questions you can ask the better.  Anything you don’t ask about now can surface as an objection later.  When they tell you they’re interested in two-bedroom homes, ask what their plans are for the bedrooms.  If they’re planning on working from home in the future, maybe a third bedroom will be nice, and they don’t want to be working on their computer in the baby’s room.  Uncover every concern, desire, fear, or motivation that you can.  This way you can cover them all in the homes you find for them, avoiding an unexpected objection later.

Step 4: The Money Issues

Here is where you can really add value, especially for inexperienced homebuyers.  What is their desired price range?  Have they done research or used online calculators to see if it’s realistic for their current income and expense situation?  Again, the more questions you can ask from the perspective of meeting their needs, the more you’re likely to get them to the closing table.

Actions for Success

Let them take the lead in money discussions.  They may know more than you think, or less.  Help them with local sold property data and breakeven information to make sure they plan on being in the home long enough to get some equity growth.  Ask about their down payment savings or other available sources such as parents.  Explore different mortgage options and loan types, as they may not know about low FHA down payment options.  Your goal here is to know precisely what they’re comfortable in spending and their ability to close in that price range.  You also want their buy-in on that price range so you don’t get buyer remorse later.

Step 5: Their Decision Process

As you discuss their desires and needs with a couple you’ll quickly get an idea of who is driving the decision process.  Is it about a great garage and workshop or a baby nursery and play area in the yard?  Is one person consistently looking to the other to explain their desires?

Actions for Success

This is simple; you keep digging until you know how the decision will be made.  At this point, you’ve hopefully built some trust and rapport in your relationship, so just asking how they’ll make their final decision should be fine.  You may explain that you’ve experienced the disappointment of locating the perfect home for others only to find that they needed a few days to think about it, only to lose it to other buyers.  Explain that you’ll do a CMA, normally done for sellers, but you provide one to assure buyers that their favorite homes are realistically priced.  Here you’re trying to avoid unrealistic expectations and low offers that won’t work.

Step 6: Present Your Solution

With the information you’ve gathered, you should be able to do a search and locate one or more homes that meet all or most of their criteria and fall within their price range.

Actions for Success

Here you use the 0 to 10 scoring to see where you are.  Lay it all out for them and ask where they are on a scale of 0 being the worst and 10 being ready to make a purchase offer.  Here you can avoid wasted time in showing homes because they’re not ready.  At 5 or lower, you missed something or they never were serious and you didn’t dig that out earlier.  If they’re between 6 and 9, ask what you need to do or show them to get them to a 10.  Here you may uncover something not evident earlier, such as they look at your suggested homes and say that they have a criteria you didn’t uncover before.  Get them to that score of 10 and you’ll get to the closing table.

Step 7: Process and Follow Up

Don’t just walk away from the closing table and deposit your commission check.  Do all of your normal closing gift things, and maybe make an appointment to visit when they’re moved into the home.

Long-Term Success

From the closing table, you begin a follow-up process that lasts until they’re no longer a resident in your market area.  Keep in touch via email or phone calls, always asking if there’s something you can do for them.  Over the long term, this will result in great referral income.