I’ve often heard fellow real estate agents say they’re not “salespeople.” I can understand that. Nobody likes being sold to, so who would want to associate themselves with something so negative, right?
Unfortunately, our distaste for being “sold to” makes us paint all salespeople with the same brush, including ourselves.
But here’s the truth about selling skills: If you’re in a real estate business for yourself, having sales skills works better than having no sales skills. Whatever you might think about salespeople, as a real estate agent you will do more real estate business and make more money if you learn how to sell.
Not having selling skills means you’re just winging it, hoping you say the right things at the right time and in the right way.
Having good selling skills means shortening the decision cycle, helping people get off the fence, helping them process the issues that are holding them in place.
The act of selling boils down to language skills. By understanding how questions work, how people process information and their own thoughts, and how tone and word choice can impact the DIRECTION of a person’s thoughts, you can sell. When you get really good at those things, you will hold a lot of power in your hands — power that can be used to manipulate or to serve.
I’m sure you’ve met with both kinds of salespeople. There are those who make you feel like you need to wash your hands, and there are those who make you feel grateful you found them. Both are using the same language skills, but one uses them consultatively and the other uses them coercively.
As a real estate agent, you need to learn the right pattern of sales conversation for your typical sales situations, including open houses, sign calls, referrals, cold calls, door canvasing, for sale by owners, expireds, and more.
Different sales situations require different approaches to the sales conversation. A one-call-close telemarketing cold call, for example, requires an instant attention-getting phrase, plus a tone that implies authority. It requires a steady building of yesses. Too much back and forth communication significantly lengthens the decision cycle and gives the customer too much time to access their fears about the decision. If you’re doing telemarketing, it’s important to have high integrity and a truly effective product, otherwise you will end up being the kind of salesperson no one likes.
On the other hand, a real estate conversation with a prospect during, say, an open house or a for sale by owner visit, requires a different approach. As with telemarketing, an open house conversation also needs an instant attention-getting phrase. But from there, it’s less about convincing people to keep listening and more about drawing them out and getting them to talk.
The way to get people to open up to you is to ask questions in a specific sequence to help them move through the decision cycle…a cycle of diving deeper into their needs and concerns. Your questions should draw people out. The more you can get people to talk about their needs, fears, and concerns, the more they’ll trust you. It’s a curious paradox that when you ask great questions and get someone else to do most of the talking, the more intelligent you sound.
There are many sales training courses, each with a slightly different approach for working through the decision cycle with a prospect. In the residential real estate sales context, I prefer openhanded selling or high-integrity selling approaches, as opposed to more “old school” approaches that rely on presentation and objection-handling. Openhanded consultative selling isn’t for everyone, but it works well for real estate agents who are confident about listening and asking questions.
Be consistent. Be bold. Be smart. Linda Schneider is a real estate business coach for smart real estate agents who want to be more powerful in their business. Drop by RealEstateBusinessCoaching.com for more about selling skills and real estate marketing ideas to take your business to the next level.