You've captured. You've connected. Now it's time to close for the appointment. Now what?
Remember that in your role as a consultant working with buyers, your job is to help your customers find the home of their dreams, make a great investment, or find the home of their dreams and make a great investment! By setting up a meeting with them, you are taking them one step closer to realizing their dreams.
Closing a buyer is not a an event, it's a process. As soon as you begin to convert a lead, you may find that you have opportunities to close sooner rather than later. Go for it! Use trial closes and try to close early and often. Or think of closing at payoff time. This is where you recoup your investment in lead generation and take the first step towards helping your buyer find the best home for them while earning your well-deserved income.
Before we look at some of the most effective and practical techniques for closing, remember that whatever the techniques may be named, or whatever strategies are employed, they can all be boiled down to one key approach - asking for the appointment. It's obvious and yet sometimes overlooked. Gary Keller, author of SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times says it well: "The right approach to close for a meeting is the only approach - just ask."
Keep that in mind as you study the following techniques. Whatever tactic you try, ultimately it's all about simply asking to meet.
Seven Real Estate Closing Techniques
1. Show the Benefits
In general, people are more likely to go along with something you suggest if you explain the benefit to them. For example, prospects are more likely to agree to come to your office for a consultation when they understand that doing so could allow them to preview a lot of properties and ultimately save time in their home search process. Brad Korn likes to use this script, If spending thirty minutes with me could save you hours of time and thousands of dollars in your home search, would that be of benefit to you?
2. Take Back Close
This technique puts a tempting offer in front of the buyer—such as access to pocket listings or bank-owned properties—but then subtly creates a fear that they may not be able to get it. You can say, I’ve enjoyed talking with you. To be honest, I don’t know whether I can be of help to you or not, but I’d be honored if we could meet to find out.
3. The Negative-Positive Close
This is another way of backing into the appointment a bit, compared with more aggressive stances. You might wrap up by saying, Would you be offended if I asked if we could meet to go over all this in a little more detail?
4. Give Them What They Are Looking For
Remember that it is unlikely a buyer calling on a house will end up scheduling an appointment to see that particular property, much less buying it. It is your job to quickly pique their interest by giving them what they are looking for—information on interesting, comparable properties. Tony Carnesi, on the Kiker Team in Denver, Colorado, says their agents keep a book with the top eight listings around each of their other listings. When a call comes in, they can ask what the buyer is looking for, offer valuable information, and set an appointment for a buyer’s consultation in order to show them a comprehensive selection of properties to meet their needs.
5. Trial Closes
Trial closes are questions you use to test the waters—you genuinely want to find out whether or not you and the client are in agreement. The answer might not be yes, but if it isn’t a yes, you need to return to the issue until it is. Trial closes can be very transparent; for example, during the initial contact, you might say, “We’ve visited for a while today, let me stop and ask you a few questions to see where we are.” Also called a minor close, a trial close often seeks a smaller decision from the customer before the final commitment. Not, Are you ready to come in and meet with me, but Can you see how receiving a list of all the new homes on the market in your price range would help you in your home search? Trial closes are tests of your growing alignment with your customers. The answers you get will indicate how close you are to the fi nal close—and remember, that big win can come at any time.
6. Assumptive Closes
When you are asking a caller to do something, never ask in a way that allows the person to say “NO.” Give alternate choices, either of which is fine with you. The alternate choice approach makes an assumption that the other person will do one of the two things you suggest. By taking command and asking, “Which works better for you, Thursday at 3 or Friday at 2?” you assume the close and prevent them from saying no.
Tie-downs are phrases that ask for confirmation. Expressions like, Wouldn’t that be great? or forming questions with can’t you? isn’t it? and wouldn’t you? ask for agreement and get your customer into a pattern of saying yes. For example, you could say, “We’ll save hours of time on your home search if we meet in the office first. Saving time is important to you, isn’t it?”