In any market, buyers will have objections when you show them homes. One of your most important skills as a salesperson is to know how to overcome objections. If you don't, you could spend your short real estate career driving people to hundreds of homes without ever closing a sale.
The reason is that not all objections are the same. Some are dealbreakers, but most aren't. And with enough experience under your belt, you'll know that even dealbreaker objections can be overcome under the right circumstances. So listen when your buyer tells you they don't want stairs, swimming pools, or zero-lot-line properties, but don't be surprised when they buy the biggest two-story on the block with - you guessed it - a pool.
How you handle objections shows your strengths and experience as an agent, and the best way to handle them is to listen and acknowledge them, but test the boundaries a little. Find out. Simply ask - is this a wish list? Which items brook no compromise? Let your buyers tell you. A play yard for the kids is probably written in stone. No sense wasting your time showing that buyer infill townhomes, but remember all you are doing is establishing a place to start - not to finish.
When you get to the homes, that's when the objections will start, and if you can't overcome the objections, and find yourself showing house after house, with both you and your buyers growing in frustration, chances are you are making one of the following three mistakes:
- You didn't educate the buyer, ask enough questions, or listen to the client in the first place.
Asking the right questions includes getting your buyer prepared to buy, financially and emotionally. It means getting them prequalified by a trustworthy lender and then sitting them down for a reality check - that their open-to-buy means that they can look in certain price ranges, types of homes and neighborhoods. You need to tell them what to expect and about the extra or unexpected costs of buying a home, like how much a property tax assessment can increase from year to year. Then you need to get their wish list and no-compromise list, and put together homes to view.
Let's say you have a single female buyer who wants to buy close to her job downtown, but she also wants a quiet neighborhood that's safe.
You know that's a request that is going to be hard to fulfill because it is full of contradictions. It's best to speak up now and say "The closer you get to downtown, the noisier and more crowded it is likely to be, however you could feel really safe and have more privacy in a high-rise or a gated townhome community. Would you consider either of those?"
Let's say you take your buyer shopping for homes, and she likes the homes but still complains about the street noise. It's the urban setting she said she wanted, but now she's uncomfortable with the reality of what it will mean to really live downtown.
Ask her if she can hear the street noise when she is inside the listing. If the windows are old, suggest she replace the windows with doublepane, noise reduction windows. Ask her if the seller were to replace the windows, would she want the home? Ask her if she likes the convenience of the location, except for the noise - or would she rather trade convenience for a home that is a little further away from the bustle?
Let the next home you show her be a little further away, and then she can decide which is more important, and you might sell her a high-rise condominium or a townhome after all.
- You don't know how to overcome an objection.
When you think about it, the most sincere objection is simply - "I don't want this, I want that." But most objections are phrased more like this: "But this home has this problem or doesn't have that feature." Most problems and lack of features are easily solved - it's just a matter of determining at what cost.
Have you ever heard this one? "I love the kitchen, but it doesn't have granite." Since most objections come from not thinking a situation through, a buyer will voice an objection off the top of his head. It doesn't mean it's a real objection, but if you take it at face value, it certainly becomes one.
So test it.
"So except for the lack of granite in the kitchen, do you like this home? Would you buy it if we could get the seller to install granite for you, or would you rather offer a little less and install your own selection?"
- You're listening too much to other agents and not getting your own scoops.
The multi-tasking nature of real estate sales means you are going to have to cut some corners somewhere but knowing your own neighborhood shouldn't be one of them.
For example, there's an area of Dallas that is near a hot Tudor-home redo market near downtown and also has a blue-ribbon elementary. The homes are getting very expensive and now crime is creeping in with car and home break-ins because this neighborhood is near major highways into downtown. Yet, Realtors are reluctant to show homes north of Mockingbird Lane, which borders this neighborhood, because these homes aren't Tudors, but ordinary 50s-style ranch homes. Overall the area offers better values, safer insulation from the crime-ridden highway, and it also happens to be in the same blue ribbon school district.
But these homes languish in a lower trading range primarily because of the prejudices of Realtors who pass along their upturned-nose objections that this neighborhood isn't as desirable as south of Mockingbird. If Realtors were looking at other factors rather than listening to their peers, they would have happy clients moving into bargain homes and setting new areas on fire with rising home values.
Recently, the school district redesigned its boundaries and shortly half the Tudor homes in the "hot" area, will no longer be in the blue-ribbon school district. But the homes north of Mockingbird will be.
So if your buyer offers you an objection that they don't want to be north or south of a certain street, especially when they can't afford where they think they should be, you know they have been listening to the wrong Realtors. You have the opportunity to help them.
Instead of dwelling on what they can't afford, suggest that they let you show them something that might open their ideas a bit. You know that Tudors are on their way out and California Ranch homes are in. Just look at the latest Pottery Barn catalog and you won't find a single Elizabethan stick of furniture in it, but you'll find plenty of low-slung, mid-century modern furniture ideal for ranch-style homes. But if you take your buyers to a really well decorated ranch home, you might be able to sell them a home they can afford that their children will love and they will love decorating.
If you are really doing your homework, you're not only keeping up with trends, you're setting a few of your own.
Let other Realtors follow your lead.