Most of us agree that urgency is the big reason people make decisions to purchase, right? Well, how can you sell anything when there is so much inventory out there?

Multiple listing service inventory is breaking records in some market areas. Is supply outpacing demand so much that it makes it harder to sell? If this is believed to be true, does it excuse us as professionals from developing our skill sets?

Actually, if you do the right job of qualifying your buyer, you may find that the supply isn’t that great for the specific inventory your buyer seeks. This is one of the primary reasons buyer prospects need you. I know — there’s the Internet and your websites, but websites cannot get to the emotional level, which is the reason buyers want a specific home.

The reason I am writing about this is that we, as industry professionals, need to change our mindset about inventory. We need to quit blaming circumstances and hone our skills.

Salable Inventory does not depend on the market. It depends on you and how hard you work to qualify the buyer and make the right product presentations.

Ready? The following scenario is for demonstration purposes.

Let’s say that your local MLS is carrying twice the normal inventory of for-sale homes: let’s say there are 20,000.

I hit your website and email you about one of your listings. The buyers tell you that they are looking for a four-bedroom, two-bath, 2,500-square-foot home for $250,000 in your ZIP code. Well, already you can reduce the inventory to, let’s say, 2,000 homes. This is great.

Other than asking when they intend to purchase, what else would you want to know that would determine what you will show them?

If you know how to ask good questions, here’s what you will learn from the buyers: "We need to be within 10 minutes of a private elementary school, and within five minutes of a main thoroughfare to downtown."

Great. Now you’ve whittled the list down to 1,000 homes. Then you ask the prospective buyers about pet requirements, and you learn they have a dog and need a fenced backyard.

Whoa! This knocks it down to 300 homes. You also find out the buyers want to live in an area with a gated entrance.

So 10 neighborhoods fit the bill, and only two are within five minutes of a main thoroughfare.

See where this is going? And you have not left your computer yet. You are doing a really good job in qualifying the buyers, but you are not anywhere near asking the right questions yet.

Then you ask the following question, and it brings it all down to what you need to show these prospects: “How do you see yourselves and your family enjoying your home?”

Up until now you have built trust and are doing a good job of qualifying the buyers, but you must now get to the emotional reasons behind the purchase.

What you need to do at this stage is listen and keep asking lifestyle-related questions.

The buyers might offer, “Our mother lives with us six months a year and loves to garden. Our 7-year-old son loves basketball, so we no doubt will put a basketball net up. My wife will be active at the school. During the summer we will travel some."

Here are some questions that come to mind:

What kind of garden would be important to the mother-in-law?

Where would they put the basketball net up, or would they need one if they move into a subdivision that has a play area with an outside basketball court?

What does “active at the school” mean?  Schoolteacher? Teacher’s aide?

As they are avid travelers, do they need parking for a camper?  For a boat and trailer?

With every question they answer, the inventory becomes smaller and smaller. Before you know it, you only have two or three homes that will give them all that they need.

Until now you have done no selling, just asking questions. But that is about to change. Once you feel you have them qualified, review your answers with them.

Then, ask them if they agree that based on this conversation you understand their wants and needs. Do not assume. Get their agreement.

When they agree that you understand their needs and lifestyle, they are giving you permission to start selling them, which means you must find and make a professional presentation of the homes you will show them.

Then and only then are you prepared to preview the homes you are going to show them. Here is the kicker: If you do not show them a home that they can picture owning, they will not want to see that home a second time. They will want you to show them more homes.

Here’s how you know you have a pending offer:

The prospects contact you and say, “We would like to see one of the homes you showed us yesterday. We don’t remember the address, but it was the one with the rose garden in the front yard and the beautiful oak tree in the fenced backyard, that had the fireplace in the master bedroom.”

That’s the one! Why do they want to see that home again? Because they can picture themselves living in it, just like they described to you. How many of these are in inventory? One.

Deeper qualifying will not only reduce the inventory selection, it is a skill that needs developing, and urgently.

Your thoughts?

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