Close More Listings with Open-Ended Questions

Renae Virata | May 17, 2017 | Best Practices

Questions For Listing AppointmentWhen you have a conversation with a potential listing client, what does that dialogue look like? For many real estate agents, it might be a frustrating back-and-forth of your asking questions and the lead simply nodding their head or barely giving any feedback.

Why is this so frustrating? A conversation like this can be annoying because you don’t get much out of the conversation that will move your relationship forward.

What are Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions include the following starter words:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why

Other phrases to encourage deeper answers include “tell me about this,” “help me understand” and “describe.”

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While you can always start with an open-ended question, you will no doubt ask closed ones when appropriate. Simply build off of those questions with more open ones.

Why Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions beget meaningful answers. They provide detailed explanations rather than simple one-word answers that go nowhere.

In addition, they engage others in conversation and help you dig deeper into a lead’s psyche.

For example, you might not uncover as quickly or at all why a lead is not ready to list unless you ask more open questions.

Your goal with such inquiries is to get the prospect to reflect. Sometimes they might even know why they aren’t ready, and your helping them to open up will reveal those feelings more.

Some Examples to Use with Real Estate Leads

So let’s get to it! From the very beginning of your engagement with a lead, whether it’s partial or complete, you can use open-ended questions to your advantage. here are some examples for different conversations to guide you.

Example 1: Asking for a number is a natural way to complete a lead. Instead of asking point blank, “Can I have your number?” a better way to ask is “What is the best number to reach you?” Think about it, “Can I have your number leaves room for hesitation because you are asking for a “yes” or a “no.” Don’t even let “no” be on the table – be direct and give them the only option you need.

Example 2: The question “What are you looking for in a home?” might seem open enough, but you can go a lot further with, “What do you imagine your ideal home to be like?” The second question gives your lead more time to pause, reflect and to provide a much more thorough answer. Even if your prospect is hesitant to list, this type of conversation might change their mind.

Example 3: Don’t do what is called “leading the witness.” In other words, don’t prompt the person to say one thing or another. This creates unnecessary pressure and closes the conversation further. Let them figure out what they want to say. Using Example 2 above, a leading question could be, “So, when you’re looking for a home, are you looking for something modern, traditional…”

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Renae Virata