It would be great if your clients could be decisive and when they saw a home they wanted to buy said so directly. Once in awhile a customer may actually do so, saying something like, “Let’s do this.” Usually, however, they signal their willingness to buy rather than spelling it out clearly. If you miss the signal you may very well miss the sale.
Picking up buying signals is more art than anything else. Mostly it’s about paying attention to what’s going on and listening closely. It also helps to give a client time to think whatever they’re thinking.
Here are six buying signals – master these and you’ll soon discover you’re listening well enough to find more.
When a couple is walking through a home, particularly if they’ve come back to look at it a second or third time, and they start talking details of what they’d do to change it, it’s at least a signal they’re starting to see themselves in the home. This can be a buying signal. It’s a great time to ask them if they are closer to making a decsion, or if they have any questions about the buying process.
When someone starts talking about what they don’t like it usually means they won’t buy the home unless… it’s coupled with how they might correct the perceived problems. Again, what’s happening is they are trying to see themselves in the home. They are beginning, in a sense, to take ownership. A will timed closing question is perfectly in order here.
Often, people who are getting close to making a buying decision want lots of details about the neighborhood. If they have kids at home they’ll want to know all about the schools. Seniors might ask about crime stats and senior centers. Millennials might want to know about internet providers, parks and how far to the nearest live theatre.
You can move this kind of conversation along by answering their question and then asking about their interest in whatever their asking about. As they tell you a bit about their interest you’ll learn more about them and what they want, and so, not so by the way, will they. Listen for an opportunity to ask a closing question.
Almost anytime someone asks questions about the details of financing and/or the buying process it means they are considering making an offer. One way for you to proceed is to answer the question, then follow up with something like, “What else would you like to know about the process?” or “What else do you need to know to consider making an offer.” The second one is a bit bolder, but not out of line. This may actually lead to an offer, but even if it doesn’t you’re meeting their needs.
If a potential buyer shows more interest in you than the usual social and business niceties it’s probably because they know they want to buy and they are trying to decide if you’re the real estate professional they want to work with. This isn’t exactly a buying signal in most cases, but it is a sign they are considering picking you as their agent, which is a real positive.
When you’re showing a home, it’s tempting to think that long pauses in the client’s conversation are a sign of disinterest. Check what they’re looking at. This silence may also be an example a the client thinking through how the property fits, or doesn’t fit. If they are actively looking at the property that’s probably what’s going on. Don’t be afraid of silences like these – they may lead straight to an offer.
One of the problems new sales people have is they don’t want to ask for the sale because they don’t want to be told “no.”
What’s also true is the client is likely to be a bit afraid of stating that they want to make the offer. That’s why they send out buying signals. It’s usually not conscious at all, but what’s happening is at some unconscious level they’re hoping you will sell them. Selling is actually helping confirm the decision they already want to make.
Tell us about a buying signal you either spotted or missed.
Before Anne Wayman became a writer she sold real estate in Southern California. She worked with her father who learned the business from his father. Not surprisingly she learned a few things along the way. Since then, she has been freelance writing for over 30 years – she is a grandmother, loves cats and writes about a wide variety of topics including real estate.