The last thing agents want is to work with prospects for weeks before realizing it was a complete waste of time. This can be avoided, however, by having the proper prescreening process in place for vetting clients. Here are a few tips.

So, you did the right marketing for your real estate agency, and leads are flowing into your business. Now is the time to check for holes in your prescreening process for your homebuyers and homesellers.

Tightening your lead qualification methods will ensure a couple of things. First off, you’ll be getting the most ROI on your marketing spend. You’ll also make sure you aren’t wasting time on unmotivated prospects or those who aren’t ready to enter the market. Here are three tips you can use when prescreening prospects.

1. Find out how motivated they are

A lead who’s motivated to enter the market will be able to answer your questions on where they are in the homeselling or homebuying process. This will help you come up with your action plan to present to them on how you can satisfy their realty needs when they become your client. 

First, you should find out if they’ve contacted any other real estate professionals. If they have, you should dive into who they chatted with, what conversations they had and what was the outcome. 

Of course, you’re looking to see if they’re already working with a real estate agent, so you can decide if it’s even worth it to continue the conversation. Maybe their current agent is causing them issues, and that’s why they ultimately came to you. 

If they’re looking to buy a home, asking who they’ve already talked to about their home search will help you transition the conversation to the topic of financing. Because mortgage financing is common, you want to ask them if a lender pre-qualified them. If they’re considering other means of financing their next home, you want to find out if they understand the pros and cons. Motivated homebuyers will be able to show you that they’ve done their home-financing research.

The next thing you should investigate is their timeline. A motivated homebuyer or homeseller should be able to tell you at least an estimate of when they want to make their move. The closer their move estimate is to the current date, the more motivated they are. 

Even if they give you a move date that’s over six months away, you still have an opportunity to learn about their situation and see if moving up their timeline is an objection you can overcome. 

2. Talk less and listen more

The previous point I mentioned is only as effective as your listening skills. Asking good qualifying questions — ones that prospects can’t just answer with a simple “yes” or “no” — is important. It gives you a chance to uncover and better understand their needs and concerns. Of course, that’s only if you listen

Finding out what will help you turn your lead into a client is crucial to your business, and so is figuring out what will keep them satisfied. This means paying attention to their emotions and attitude while they talk about real estate.

You can adapt your sales approach based on how the client reacts to your questions. For example, prospects who are nervous and pessimistic about listing their home will need their fears acknowledged. Their concerns may be valid due to COVID-19, and as an agent, you’ll need to reassure them that you’ll find solutions.

You are also rooting out difficult people so you can decide if you want to keep moving forward with them. A prospect who is easily upset with any recommendation you give would not make for an ideal client. 

In fact, they more than likely will get in their own way of finding or selling a home. When you listen to what is and isn’t being said, you have a good chance of catching problems before you decide to take on the prospect as a client.

3. Set expectations before they become clients

Letting prospects know what they should expect when they enter the market and become your client is a vital step in the prescreening process. This gives leads a chance to assess the conversations they already had with you. 

Just because someone is motivated to buy or sell a home doesn’t mean they’re ready to do so. This is where educating the lead about the realities of the current market comes into play. 

When a lead knows the state of the market and how it will affect their homebuying or selling experience, they will be able to make better decisions if they hire you. Even if they choose to wait to hire an agent, they’ll still appreciate the time you took to help them. In fact, there’s a high chance they’ll come back to you when they’re ready — especially if you have them in a lead nurturing program. 

You should also take the time to explain what it would be like to work with you throughout the entire process. This is not just about marketing your value propositions. It’s about telling them how you work with clients and setting timelines for each step. 

Leads who understand how you operate will be much easier to work with if they decide they’re ready. Unrealistic expectations can cause the relationship between a client and their agent to sour. The last thing you want is to work with a client for weeks and, in the end, realize it was a complete waste of time. This is something you can avoid if you establish the proper prescreening methods to vet leads. 

Andre Clayton is a digital marketing strategist with The Young Team in Ohio. Connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.

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