New markets require new approaches and tactics. Experts and industry leaders take the stage at Inman Connect New York in January to help navigate the market shift — and prepare for the next one. Meet the moment and join us. Register here.
This article was last updated Dec. 5, 2022.
In today’s market, showcasing your value and the value of a buyer’s agency agreement can feel a little like a slippery slope. I get it. I’m asked for scripts for this almost weekly from agents.
Although I’m not a real fan of scripts, I am a fan of dialogues because they help open a line of communication that feels more natural, easy, practical, from the heart and allows you to connect on a more personal level. When that happens, buyers see you as an advocate and resource, not just another pushy salesperson.
We believe that serving rather than selling, and coaching rather than closing, will set you apart from your competition.
That said, let’s dive into 5 dialogues for buyers that can make all the difference:
Customers versus client
One of the biggest mistakes many agents make is treating their customers as clients. What’s the difference?
Customers are transaction-based, not relationship-based. Take for example that potential buyer who just wants you to send information and maybe they’ll work with you maybe they won’t. That’s a customer. A client is a buyer who signs your buyer agreement and says, “Yes, we’re ready to buy, and we choose you as our agent.”
“Mr. and Mrs. Hunna Hunna, I work with two types of buyers — clients and customers, based on our level of mutual agreement. When we have a Buyer Agency Agreement, you become a client, and as a client, I can work diligently on your behalf to find the home that is right for you and negotiate the best possible price and terms. I can do that because we have a legally binding contract that spells out that my fiduciary responsibility is to you.
Without that agreement, you would be considered a customer, and while I am happy to help you where I can with information and assistance, technically, as a real estate professional, my fiduciary responsibility is to the seller. That is true of all agents. If there is no agreement, their responsibility is on the listing side of the equation.
That agreement also helps protect you and your interests in case anything should happen when we are viewing properties. As a client, you would be covered under my insurance policy. As a customer, you wouldn’t. Make sense?
That said, let’s make sure you have the best possible advantage and assistance in buying the home you want in this market by establishing our agent/client relationship, and let’s get this agreement out of the way so we can start finding you the property of your dreams!”
Open house follow-up
Open houses are a great source of buyer leads and following up after will help you decide whether to continue prospecting to these potential homebuyers. When you follow up with them, you can email an item of value and then call.
“Hi, this is [Name] with [Company]. How are you? The reason I’m calling was to thank you so much for stopping by our open house on [date] at [address]. This house, if you remember, was a ___ bedroom, ___ bath at [price]. If that’s the style and price range you’re looking for, there are some new listings that came on the market that are really awesome. Is this the style of house that you were looking for?
I have a proven buying process that’s designed to help you find the right house with the least amount of aggravation. What I’d like to do is find the time when you can come into my office so I can share this valuable process with you, and we can go take a look at those amazing new listings before they get sold. What time works for you?”
Handling objections to current market prices
The market is still crazy hot, and the competition for a home is fierce. Buyers are throwing their hats in the ring, often bidding against multiple offers, most of which are well above asking price. It’s only natural for buyers to be concerned about paying more than what the house is worth. While that can be frustrating, “waiting out the market” has drawbacks as well. When they say they want to wait, your job is to go back to their commitment — their why or reason for buying and help them stay clear on that commitment throughout the process.
“Hunna Hunna, the only time you should be concerned about overpaying or underpaying is if you are buying real estate as a short-term investment. Someone who wants to buy and flip a property. When we first started looking at homes, you all told me that you were looking to settle in a house to (insert reason, i.e., raise their family, be closer to their kids, ideal neighborhood, etc.). That’s what is important to focus on now.
In my experience, when someone tries to ‘time the market,’ they will lose somewhere else. For example, look at everyone who said last year they wanted to wait until prices came down. Not only did prices not come down, but the interest rate has gone up! Let’s not try to time the market. Let’s stay true to your goal and find you that home. Sound good?”
Breaking down the dollars
Sometimes when you’re trying to get buyers back on track to their commitment, it takes more than just tapping into what their goals are. You need to break down their decisions and options regarding what it could cost them financially.
“How much do you want prices to come down? What does that look like in a number for you? Is it 5 percent? OK, let’s look at that. In your price range of $500,000, 5 percent would be $25,000.
Now, let’s divide that by a 30-year mortgage at our current interest (let’s say 4.5 percent), which comes out to $137 a month. Assuming that properties come down that much – and interest rates stay at this level, (which is unlikely), are you willing to put off getting your new home now to save just $137 a month?
Look at that from the other side of that equation. If you don’t purchase a home under these conditions, what might that monthly increase look like if interest rates increase even 1 percent? Let’s do this. Let’s get back to your original goal of buying a home in (area) and make it happen. What do you say?”
Website form follow-up
Do you have a lead capture on your website that allows buyers to contact you when they are interested in a property? Awesome! You’ve got a lead! Now what? Immediately follow up with a call or a text.
“Hi, Hunna Hunna! I saw you were on my website, I’ll be in touch soon, but do you need anything else in the meantime? I have a few new hot houses that just came to market. Would you like to tell me the area where you are looking, so I can narrow down the list? Let’s set a time to get together, and I can go over a proven buying process with you!”
In today’s crazy market with multiple offers and incredible competition, having the right words to help you stay on track with your buyers is important. One of the best things you can do to improve your ability to communicate is to practice creating dialogues for different scenarios.
Write out the top five questions or objections you get from buyers, and then write out at least three responses that you feel would work for each of them. Top agents don’t wait to be tongue-tied. They anticipate what they will hear on their calls and in their appointments so that they can create responses, metaphors and analogies that will help them communicate more effectively the next time and the time after that.
We go through this role-playing and practice process a lot on our coaching calls, and it’s wonderful to hear the “ah-ha” moments click when agents realize, “I can do that too!” You totally can.
That buyer on the other end of the phone or sitting in front of you is a person just like you. They want to be seen, heard and understood just as all of us do. If you approach every conversation with that as your baseline and come from a place of service, you’ll surprise and delight yourself with what you can accomplish.
Darryl Davis is a speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, as well as the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars. He currently hosts weekly free webinars to help agents navigate market change and design careers worth smiling about. Learn more at his website or connect with him on Facebook or YouTube.