As Alec Baldwin’s real estate alter ego, Blake, told his team in the hit film Glengarry Glen Ross,
“ABC. Always be closing.”
In reality, we know it’s not that simple. Of course, not every conversation with a customer can be aimed at trying to close the deal. But you should always have that as the goal in the back of your mind. Whether you’re showing your buyer around a property or simply trying to help them find the perfect location to settle down in, it makes business sense to be looking for ways to move them closer to making that purchase.
It’s that bit at the end that can feel slightly awkward though, isn’t it? Actually asking for the sale. And while those of you with years under your belt will know that it gets better the more you do it, there are plenty of things you can do to increase your chances of closing that sale quickly and painlessly.
- Show your client you understand them
Whether it’s through listening to our international buyer podcasts or working out which of our key buyer’s groups they belong to. Getting to know more about your buyers’ intentions can pay dividends when it comes to your sales conversations.
It allows you to start from broad assumptions about what your customers are likely to want, based on the country they’re coming from and the types of locations they’re looking in. You can then narrow these down by asking meaningful questions to find out more details. This could be the kind of time frames they’re looking at, whether they’re making a cash purchase or will need a mortgage, or whether they’d be happy to undertake some renovations.
Once you’ve built a detailed picture of the prospective buyer in front of you, you should be able to pre-empt their concerns and provide answers to their questions almost before they’ve even asked them. Perhaps you could explain more about the process of getting a mortgage or suggest local tradespeople who could offer them an idea of the cost of building works.
What better way to demonstrate your authority, build your customers’ trust and reduce doubts about whether they’re ready to go ahead?
- Make use of relevant data
For some customers you will find that statistics speak louder than words. They’ll want to know that the region they’re looking at is trending upwards in terms of house prices or they’ll want to be sure that the area they buy in is popular for expats from their home country.
By using this to inform your conversations, you’ll be able to help guide your prospective buyer into a decision that makes great financial sense. And as you’ve likely also saved them the time and effort of researching for themselves, there’s a good chance they’ll come back to you when they feel the time is right to snap up that investment property.
At that point you’ll have an easy sale.
- Always focus on the positives
Positivity breeds positivity as they say; nowhere is this more true than in a sales situation.
Every property is likely to have a compromise for the viewers you’re showing around – it’s not often you hit on a place that is 100% perfect. But if you’ve listened closely to your prospective purchasers you should be able to head off those negative comments before they even arise.
Help them to see through the kitchen that’s slightly smaller than desired to the lavender scented terrace with built in barbeque. Or point out that although it’s a little further than hoped to the beach front restaurants, there’s a cosy little bar just around the corner that does the best tapas this side of Madrid.
Obviously, honesty is key here, but if you truly think a property could give your buyers what they’re after, focussing on the positives could be a great way to convince them too.
- Learn to recognise the signals
Sometimes it’s less about pushing your client towards the end goal and more about simply standing back and recognising when your buyer is ready to commit.
If your prospective buyer has already arranged a mortgage you know they’ve got the money in place and will be itching to find the right property. Or perhaps you know they’re about to start a job in the local area and will want to be settled before they begin. Either way, these are strong signals that your buyer wants to get moving, meaning if you work hard to find them the right property, the closing part will be a done deal.
- Be likeable
Psychology and marketing master Robert Cialdini wrote a book about the various ways you can persuade people to do things, i.e. to buy what you’re selling. In it he discussed the fact that generally we will only buy from people we like. Think about that second-hand car salesman who annoyed you the moment you walked into the garage. You wouldn’t have handed over your hard-earned money to him, would you? Well, perhaps you would if he was offering an incredible deal – but you wouldn’t have felt good about it. Conversely, if you warm to a salesperson, and genuinely like them, you’ll have far more positive feelings about giving them your custom.
While obviously in the case of real estate the house has to be right for the buyer, when it comes to making that purchase or even getting that property onto your books following a valuation, you’ll be far more likely to be rewarded with a deal if your prospect feels favourably towards you.
So be polite and charming, but not overly so, be confident and show them you’re the expert, but make sure it doesn’t spill over into arrogance.
The great thing about this is you can begin building a rapport with your customers the second they make contact, through the emails you send, the branding and words you use on your website and how you come across on social media. So, when they meet you, you’ll simply need to continue the good work.
Closing a sale isn’t just about that act of asking the buyer to commit. It’s about the small things you do along the way. The things that make sure when the time does come to ask for that sale, the most likely answer is a resounding “yes”.