Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Read Part 1 here.

What’s old is new again. Old-fashioned sales skills are not only desirable in today’s market — they’re a necessity.

Last week’s column examined six basics you need to survive in 2010. Today’s column examines five additional sales skills that you need to thrive in any market.

1. Force appraisers to meet you at the property

Ten years ago, it was routine to meet the appraiser at the property. As the listing agent, you made sure the appraiser had all the recent comparable sales plus as much detail as possible about each of the comps. With the advent of the fax machine and e-mail, agents got in the habit of sending their offers and other transaction-related communications electronically.

There was no need to meet the appraiser because he or she could access the property with the key safe or lockbox.

With the recent changes in the appraisal law, many appraisers today are from outside the area. Others lack local knowledge. They have no idea about school districts or the other features that make one location more desirable than another.

As a result, it’s now more important than ever to make sure the appraiser has the most current and detailed comparable sales data available.

Thus, when the property sells, remove the key safe if at all possible. Granted, it’s a hassle to sit around and wait for an appraiser. It also takes effort to pull as much detail as possible together about the comparable sales.

Nevertheless, that extra hour or two of effort can be the difference between your transactions closing versus having to start the marketing and/or search process all over again. If you’re representing the buyer, offer to meet the appraiser if the listing agent is unwilling to do so.

It’s much easier to take these steps at the beginning and have the appraisal come in at the sales price rather than having to scramble if the appraisal comes in low.

2. Don’t give up on print marketing

The real estate industry as a whole is still spending too much money on print marketing. Nevertheless, a highly targeted, well-designed print marketing campaign can yield great results. For example, you can target people who live in high-end rentals as potential first-time buyers by sending a series of postcards that highlight the benefits of homeownership. …CONTINUED

You could also ask, "Did you pay your landlord’s mortgage payment again this month?" Include a phone number or your Web site URL where they can find out how much they would qualify for if they were to purchase.

You could also use the tried-and-true strategy of providing a list of "bargain" properties. Don’t just limit the list to foreclosures, short sales and REOs. Include the best of the traditional seller sales as well. To receive the list, Web visitors must provide their contact information.  

3. Watch for buying signs

When there was little inventory, buyers had to make snap decisions about whether they would purchase. Today’s buyers have the luxury of being able to take their time. When you’re showing properties to buyers, they may not want you to know that they’re interested in a specific property.

If you know what to look for, however, their body-language signals will reveal which houses appeal to them most. To make this determination, remember to stay in back of the buyers as you show them property. This allows you to make sure that nothing disappears out of the property. It also allows you to observe their body language without having to maintain eye contact.

Some of the classic signs that show a buyer is interested in the property include: slowing down their pace as they walk through the property, looking at a feature two or more times, touching a wall, or opening the cabinets.

4. Objections are buying signs

Many agents mistakenly believe that objections indicate a lack of buyer interest. What they don’t realize is that when a buyer objects to a feature of a property, that could actually be a buying sign. For example, when the buyer says, "I hate this wallpaper," this statement may be a buying sign. The buyer would not object unless she was imagining living in the property.

The way to handle this objection is to close with a question that uses an alternative choice. This approach provides two or more alternatives and then asks the buyer, "Which one would you prefer?" To answer the objection about the wallpaper, you would ask, "Would you replace the wallpaper or paint?" No matter how the buyer responds, she will be picturing herself living in the property.

5. Always be closing

Whether you are working with sellers or buyers, it’s important to always use closing questions. For example, if you are on a listing appointment, you could close the sellers on representing them on their purchase by asking, "What have you enjoyed about living in this property? Will these same features be important in your next home as well?"

If you’re working with a buyer you could ask, "If you had to buy a home today, which properties from today come closest to fitting your criteria?" A great close for buyers who are showing buying signs is: "It looks as if this is the right house for you. Let’s go back to the office and take care of the paperwork." This statement is not as scary as saying, "Let’s go back to the office and write an offer."

You can market all you want on the Web, but in the final analysis, it’s the good old-fashioned sales skills that will either make or break your deals.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of "Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success" and other books. You can reach her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com and find her on Twitter: @bross.


What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.

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