By Regina P. Brown
That was a question! And it got your attention, didn’t it? Now, that one wasn’t really a question; it was a technique to get you nodding your head in agreement. Which is a key strategy in getting a listing agreement signed.
Last time, we discussed the pros and cons of taking photos at the listing appointment, and the value of professional photos. Today, our topic is how to win the listing by asking the right questions.
Why do I like asking sellers questions at listing appointments?
- Questions get you the answers you’re seeking. Of course you need information about the house you’re going to list. “How long ago did you install the new carpet?” You will find out about the carpet, so you can list on the MLS as “new carpet”. Then ask “Do you have the receipt?” to find out whether it was installed professionally by a licensed contractor.
Of course, you want your conversation to flow smoothly and naturally, so don’t ask questions in rapid staccato. “Why are you selling? Where will you move to? What’s your bottom line?” Allow them to talk and show an interest in their opinions. Allow them to ask YOU questions.
- Questions show that you care. What better way to bond with a person than to learn out about them? Ask questions to show that you are listening and are interested in your sellers. This type of question is not necessarily designed to get a specific answer, but allows the seller to open up about themselves. The more people talk, the more they feel like it’s a great conversation. They want to know that you are concerned about them and their situation.
For example: “I’m so sorry to hear about your dad passing away, that must be tough for you. It sounds like he had a rich, full life filled with family who loved him. How old was he?” Their answer to this question can lead to their motivation for selling the house. The next question, of course, would be, “How many of your siblings will be involving in selling the house?” which gives you a great overall picture of how many heirs you will have to deal with. The next line of questioning would be, “Which one of you will be my primary contact in handling the estate?” That’s also a great closing question!
- Questions put you, the agent, in control of the conversation. You can lead and direct the flow of the topic. It’s like driving the car along with your seller client: they can accelerate or brake, but the steering wheel is in your hands. The trick is to allow them to think they are in control while you do all the driving.
For this method, after you answer one of their questions, you “lob the tennis ball” back over to their court with one of your related questions. That puts you back on the path. You know where you want to go. Questions allow you to stay focused on your listing presentation’s sequence.
- Questions allow you to determine their motivation. “What if your house doesn’t sell within 90 days, what is your back-up plan?” They will answer either, “I’ll lower the price because I must sell soon,” or “I’ll take it off the market until next year because I really don’t need to sell right now.”
- Questions get commitments. They prepare your seller to say “yes” and close with you. Rhetorical questions with a positive response help your seller agree with you. Common in sales training, this technique is referred to as a “tie down”. For example, “You are committed to getting your home sold in 30 days, aren’t you?” Every time you get a consecutive “yes” answer, your closing rate goes up substantially. The great news is that they don’t even have to say “yes” out loud. Use multiple, shorter questions to lead them to your ultimate closing: signing the listing agreement.
In conclusion, questions get answers. They get commitments and closings. That is the value of asking the right questions at the right time.