Last week, we talked about how to initiate conversations with people using The FORD Method.
Once you’ve got a good conversation going, don’t be in a hurry to steer the topic to Real Estate. That’s being a Salesy Slickster.
Do. Not. Be. A. Salesy. Slickster.
Just let the conversation go where it may. ISTEN, show interest and enjoy the opportunity to meet a new and (hopefully) interesting person. Maybe you’ll learn something! Or, at the very least, perhaps you’ll enjoy yourself!
Life isn’t ALL about Real Estate, you know.
If you’re enjoying the conversation, chances are the other person is, too. You’re developing rapport!
Remember the “O” in The FORD Method (occupation)? If the conversation starts to lag a bit, you can always ask the other person, “What do you do?”.
Now, listen! Show interest. Ask follow-up questions.
Almost everyone likes to talk about themselves. Here is your opportunity to learn some interesting information, and you can mentally take notes at the same time. For example, what is their communication style?
After blabbing about themselves for a while, almost everyone will reciprocate and ask you, “So, what do you do?”
Please don’t use any ultra-cheesy phrases, such as, “I help families achieve their ultimate dreams through Real Estate ownership.”
That makes you sound like an idiot.
It’s perfectly fine (and non-idiotic) to say, “I’m a residential REALTOR®.”
If you say this, and they suddenly have an urgent need to run to the bathroom or get another drink, it’s probably because they’ve had a bad experience with a Salesy Slickster. But if you’ve got a pleasant conversation going and you’ve developed some rapport, chances are they will show interest and start asking YOU questions. Again, allow the discussion to build naturally.
The most common question we get asked is this:
“How’s the market?”
Be careful how you answer!
For example, if you tell people you’re extremely busy, they may think you’re too busy to sell their home. If you tell them the market is very slow, they may think it’s a bad time to buy or sell.
Instead, ask them exploratory questions, in a way that allows you to continue the conversation, such as:
“The market behaves quite differently depending on many different factors, including geographical area, price range, timing, etc. Is there a particular market segment that you’re interested in?”
This type of open-ended question will usually get them talking more, but if not, there’s nothing wrong with asking them specifically if they’re thinking about buying or selling.
You’re NOT asking to be their REALTOR®. That’s too pushy. You’re simply continuing the conversation.
Then, you could offer to help by sending additional information. For example, if they’re considering selling, you could offer to send them all the details on every property that has sold in their neighborhood for the past six months. People love getting this type of information!
Of course, to do that, you’ll need to get their email address, and you should ask for their phone number, “just in case there are any issues with their email.” Now you can follow up with them — more on The Follow-Up, next week.
Now, you’ve got their contact information and a Follow-Up plan. You’re doing great!
Now that you’ve got some rapport going, if the conversation is stalling out, go back to the FORD Method. It’s way easier to come up with new topics of discussion, once you know the person a bit better. Just don’t be fake about it. Enjoy yourself! Sometimes the best way to establish further rapport is to steer the topic of conversation AWAY from Real Estate.
Of course, if the person is a hot prospect, you could push a bit harder and try to get an appointment to discuss their situation further. Just be very careful. It’s easy to come across as a Salesy Slickster, even if you’re NOT one. Remember, they don’t know you well yet. You’ve made a great first impression, so it’s often the best course of action to back off and plan to talk about business later at a more appropriate time and place. ⏰
The Follow-Up is the next step, and it’s where so many agents fail miserably. I’ll talk about that next week.