Real estate agents who have poor closing skills don’t get paid. Here are 10 questions that address different aspects of closing the deal — see how well you do.

Kick off the fall with Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. We’re going deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, realtor.com and more. Top marketing executives drop by to share their newest tactics, too. It’s all you need to take your branding and marketing game to the next level.

This post is largely taken from Bernice Ross’ previous work.

The industry continues to be hyper-focused on generating leads and listings, but the truth is that real estate agents who have poor closing skills tend to not get paid.

Here are 10 questions that address different aspects of closing the deal — see how well you do.

Select your answer to go to the next question. The answer reasoning is explained at the end of the quiz.

Here’s why

1. What do you say when your buyer says, ‘What a beautiful view!’?

Answer: C. It is a beautiful view, isn’t it?

This is an example of a “tie-down.” When the agent asks this closing question, the buyer’s brain reaffirms, “Yes, it is a beautiful view,” reinforcing the buyer’s positive feelings about the property.

2. Which of these marketing headlines is the most likely to motivate a buyer to contact you?

Answer: A. Remarkable price well-below market value!

To determine which of your headlines work the best, check out the headline analyzer from the American Marketing Institute.

According to its headline analyzer, “A” is the best response with a score of 83.3. The other headlines are excellent with scores of 40 and 50. Any of these would be a good addition to your marketing.

3. You’re on a listing appointment. Which question gives you the most useful information about your sellers and how to close them?

Answer: D. What’s motivating you to sell?

Always ask “how” and “what” questions because they give you the most information about your clients.

4. What do you say when your buyer tells you, ‘I hate these ugly carpets!’?

Answer: B. Would you replace the carpet or expose the hardwood floors?

This is a move-them-into-the-property close because no matter how they answer the question, they’re seeing themselves living in the property.

5. You walk into a house and it has the ugliest blue kitchen cabinets you and your buyer have ever seen. What do you say?

Answer: B. Would you paint them a different color or have them replaced?

Like question No. 4, this is another example of a tie-down that also uses an alternative-choice close (it gives two or more options and asks client to select a specific option.)

6. Your buyer is dressed to the nines with a black designer leather jacket, lots of jewelry and bright red Jimmy Choo high-heeled boots. Which one of these closing statements will be most effective in closing to write an offer?

Answer A: I can see that you really like this property with the view of the park. Let’s go back to the office and take a look at the numbers.

Your buyer is a “visual” person, and she will respond best to being closed with the words “see” and “look.” Visuals prefer views, high ceilings and light and bright spaces.  

7. When the seller objects by saying, ‘Well, Zillow says my house is worth more,’ which approach is best?

Answer: D. Show the seller other AVMs. 

You can use the “automated valuation models” (AVMS) from CoreLogic, HomeSnap, the Chase Home Value Estimator and/or WeissAnalytics’ Val Pal, and then ask which AVM/algorithm is right.

Follow up immediately by discussing your CMA.

Inman contributor Carl Medford has his own way of handling the AVM problem. Find out what he does when his sellers cling a little too closely to their Zestimate.

8. What is the least effective way to get a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) to agree to list with you?

Answer: A. Tell them you have a client for their property.

There’s no incentive for them to list with you if they can just pay you the buyer’s side of the commission. If you do have a buyer, have the FSBO to sign a one-party listing for your buyer.

Avoid telling your buyers about the property until you have secured the one-party listing. 

9. Your buyers ask you, ‘Where is the property line?’ Which response is the best?

Answer: B. I don’t know.

This is one of the biggest mistakes that most agents make. The correct answer is, “I don’t know. You’ll need a survey to determine the exact location of the property lines.”

Remembering to stay in your lane is critical for real estate agents because not doing so can cause a lot of legal and ethical issues. Inman’s Lillian Dickerson compiled a list of common ways agents get in trouble. It’s never a bad time to refresh.

10. Your listing has just gone under contract. The day after the buyer’s physical inspection, a brown spot appears on the ceiling even though there hasn’t been rain for months. How do you amend the disclosure statement?

Answer: C. Because it hasn’t rained, there has to be a plumbing leak. Revise the disclosure statement to say, ‘Plumbing leak noted on living room ceiling.’  

The other two statements diagnose what caused the issue. I’ve seen several houses where those brown stains were honey from bees in the attic.

Describe what you’re seeing on your disclosure statements, not what caused the issue.

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.

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