Why agents need to improve the quality of their conversations
The Dunbar’s number pegs the maximum limit of meaningful relationships a human can maintain at 150 people. But in an age where large cheques translate into large datasets, ISA’s and agents are expected to reach out, follow-up and forge relationships with a prospect list many times that. A typical real estate agent is expected to help a client purchase or sell the most valuable asset in their life, making it imperative for them to be conversant and focused on service over sales.
Going beyond scripts
Experienced generals are never sure how their soldiers will perform until they can assess their performance on a real battlefield. Similarly, while it’s good for agents to prepare call-scripts, they must always keep in mind that the person on the other side of the line is not following a script. Prospective clients are perpetually being contacted by agents and are likely to raise objections, throw curveballs, and stonewall conversations.
In the Book of Yes, Kevin Ward outlines some basic guidelines to follow while using calling scripts. He mentions the attention span of a client can be alarmingly short, which is why tie-down phrases such as ‘you with me on this’, ‘we are on the same page’, and ‘right that’s what I meant’ are crucial to boosting engagement. The main steps for an effective conversation are ‘what to say’, ‘how to say it’, and the feedback loop. Agents will frequently need to think on their feet, which is why they should have completely internalized the scrrips before jumping on calls.
In a recently held Uplift session conducted by SquadVoice, Dale Archdekin, Founder of Inside Smart Sales gave his inputs on improving lead conversion during conversations.
“I emphasize that ISA’s must aim to create rapport. Most clients don’t like salespeople, which is why if they hit a barrier during the conversation, they should never argue. Clients may say ridiculous stuff like they can sell without an agent, they prefer to sell only in spring, or their newly-licensed neighbourhood agent is more qualified. The best way to handle such objections is to investigate the reasons rather than feel stumped.“
Dale added that prospects always come with preconceived notions about the market, demand, prices, and financing. It is upto the agent to educate them on such factors while avoiding any damage to the relationship.
In case a prospect seems to have intent and purpose, the agent should share their excitement about finding the perfect house or moving into their new home, without discussing financing too fast or asking them to meet with a lender up-front.
A matter of quality
38% of team leaders do not provide regular coaching to agents for improving sales
Mastering the art of delivering information, while coming across as authentic is a crucial skill for agents. Experienced agents use their confidence and listening ability to collaborate successfully with prospects, thereby overcoming resistance.
“Training is important whether you are working with a new or seasoned agent. Gauge their level of experience and meet them where they are at. For newbies, I provide written scripts and briefs on handling objections and brush-offs. I keep recordings of their initial calls and provide regular feedback on areas of improvement.” said Dale.
Gabe Cordova, President of Firepoint, added, “I would hesitate to give a Speed-to-lead to an agent fresh off the boat. Priority leads should always be assigned to agents that understand the lead journey and service mindset. My main advice for agents is to treat high-quality leads with a speed-to-know mindset.”
Most industry experts agree that creating a solid training, on-boarding, and review process is necessary to boost agent productivity.
Agents should be accountable for each assigned lead, considering that the spend across sources like Zillow can touch nearly $100 per lead.
Calls without conversions
Today’s customer comes armed with an arsenal of information on real-estate related topics which had hitherto been the expertise of agents and brokers. In fact many of them no longer consider agents as an authoritative source when they can just as easily type queries on Google.
With regards to the digital revolution, Dan adds, “ Today we are using online advertisements to fish for clients further up the stream. Some of our prospects are at such initial stages of their buying/selling journey, that it becomes difficult to cold-call and keep them engaged enough to setup a face-to-face appointment. Often times, prospective clients become stand-offish, making it necessary for agents to improve their interactions.”
“We are addicted to lead generation with the hope that we are building a solid pipeline. But as leaders, we are failing when it comes to lead follow-up and conversion. Agents need to understand how to maximise ROI across lead sources by showing urgency on following-up with premium Zillow leads. Additionally, they need to be prepared to nurture Facebook and PPC leads for 6-12 months, instead of prompting them to buy a house on the first call itself.” adds Gabe.
Once the charm of seeing a hot lead pipeline wears off, it will be upto the agents to make those numerous phone calls and go off-script once in a while as long as they can keep the conversation going.