The best people in our business are those who understand that their most important sales is of something actually quite intangible. The most successful people recognise that this intangible item is actually what they trade every day – they invest this in people and situations that will give them a return and avoid investing it in people or situations that won’t…it is TIME.
The cold hard fact is that customers only go down one of two routes – they either MAKE you money or they COST you money.
The rather frightening thing is that a vast percentage of people we deal with fall into the latter category.
In fact, if you do buy into this idea that TIME is your most precious commodity, you might well regard these ‘time wasters’ as ‘money stealers’ – whatever time you invest in them, where you had no return on that investment, is time you can never get back. They are robbing you blind!
This is where exceptional fact finding skills come in; asking the right questions to make an accurate value judgement as to how much of your time you will invest in which people.
We have a technique for this, referred to as ‘The Magnificent Seven’.
The seven INDISPENSABLE questions that must be asked when qualifying an applicant which make them feel important while showing them you are different from standard estate agents, and will secure the three critical pieces of information: MOTIVATION, ABILITY and NEEDS.
MOTIVATION means the specific reason for move and timescales within which the customer has to move. ABILITY means the detailed position as regards their own property and their financial situation. NEEDS means the ‘must haves’ dictated by family size, job, budget, pets, hobbies etc.
One technique to ensure your staff get into the habit of this technique is to have the seven questions printed out on a postcard size memory jogger hidden on a negotiator’s desk or even stuck to the bottom of their computer screen – that way the questions never get forgotten.
The magnificent seven:
“What’s prompting you to think about moving?” – try to get a detailed reason for the move – their answer may lead to other questions – “Where will you be working?”, “Who do you work for?”, “What’s your timescale?”. The more detail you get early on, the better you will invest your time in the right people and situations.
“What’s the situation regarding your own property?” – to drill down to check their ability to buy – again, detail is crucial.
“How far have you got in arranging finance on the purchase?” – an important are of fact finding – more so in today’s market due to confusion about mortgage lending criteria.
“Describe your ideal home to me…” – so much better than the approach of lots of agents who go through an interrogation – “Do you need a garden?”, “Do you need parking?”, “Does it have to be detached?” and so on.
Once you have an overall picture of the ideal property your prospect is looking for – their ‘wants’, it is time to go to the next level to uncover their ‘needs’ or ‘must haves’.
“If I found you a property but it didn’t have X, might you still consider it?” – the classics here are issues like bedroom numbers, detached versus semi-detached, garage etc.
The final question relates to their budget but it isn’t simply “What is your budget?” or “How much are you looking to spend?” – it is a far more effectively worded question… “If I found you the absolutely perfect property, what is the very most you would be prepared to pay for it?”
This question is so powerful as it gets the true maximum from your customer by putting them into the hypothetical situation of finding their dream home and what they would be prepared to go to financially to get it.
So there they are – The Magnificent Seven. Not the only questions your staff will ask a customer, but certainly the most critical. Train them in, reinforce them daily, see the results for yourself. They really are magnificent!