Buyer Consultations

I remember when we used MLS books…

I remember when lockbox keys were actual keys…

I remember when pagers weren’t punchlines…

“I remember when” isn’t limited to  technology

I remember when sub-agency was a thing…

I remember when we were nervous to pre-qualify buyers…

I remember when we met strangers in vacant homes and blindly invested ourselves in them without even getting to know them…

See what I did there?

We’ve moved past pagers and MLS books. Pre-qualifying is standard practice. So why in the world are we still putting ourselves in danger, undervaluing ourselves, wasting time, and depriving clients of the service they deserve by showing homes without first conducting a proper consultation?

Let’s get this one on the “I remember when” list. How?

Even I am not above the policy

It’s so simple we miss it. As the CEO of my own busniess, I have the power to create my own policies and so do you. Sure, you’ll need to follow your office policies or TTYB (Talk To Your Broker), but that doesn’t preclude you from creating your own policies that help you cover the bases and hit the notes you want to hit every time.

I figured out a long ago the best policies are developed when my head is clear, not on the fly. And not in front of clients. How much I charge. What services I provide. When I’ll be available. Where I draw the line. Decide these things in advance and stick to them. Follow your own policy.

The better you control the process, the more predictable the results.

I’m not saying you you shouldn’t adjust. You should. Give yourself feedback on what works and what doesn’t, then make tweaks to improve your game. And remember it’s a long game.  Small tweaks payoff over time in dollars, hours, peace of mind, and personal safety.

But promise me the days of meeting strangers in vacant homes are over.

The case for buyer consultations

The list of REALTOR® kidnappings, assaults, and murders – MURDERS – is long and growing. This alone is the checkmate rationale for buyer consultations in a public place.

So I won’t go into the ways it helps you decide if you want to work with a potential client, understand wants and needs, qualify potential clients, build trust and earn business, demonstrate your value and expertise, comply with regulatory requirements such as agency disclosure, and secure a buyer broker agreement if that’s what you’re in to.

The buying process begins long before the actual purchase. The buyer likely starts at home on a screen of some sort. Eventually, most buyers reach out to a REALTOR® with one of a handful of questions:

  • Where is it?
  • Can you send me more details/photos?
  • Can I see it?

This is what I call predictable results – patterns that inform us how to prepare in order to provide the best service.  In this case, we can expect potential buyers to call or email with a limited set of questions. In the long game, what happens next determines how effectively we work with buyers.

Since we already agreed (we agreed, right?) REALTORS® are risking their personal safety, wasting time, and undervaluing themselves by not starting the buyer relationship with a consultation, this is where our new policy comes into play:

You’re first meeting with a potential client is at your office or some public place where you conduct a consultation to get to know them and see how you can best help them.

Come Into The Office

It takes two to tango, so we’ll need the buyer to agree to C.I.T.O. – come into the office. We’ll review this further in a future post, but the “office” in today’s terms can be just about anywhere – so long as it’s a public place.

For now, commit to your personal safety and the service of your clients.

Commit to making your first meeting with a potential buyer a consultation in a public place.