Every renter deserves peace and quiet. But people interpret “quiet” in different ways, which can lead to uncomfortable situations for landlords.
For example, consider this true story that I call “The Case of the Midnight Guitarist.” The landlord, a friend of mine who owns several properties in California’s San Lorenzo Valley, told me about a musician who lived in one of two rental units in a quiet, creek-side setting.
“One day I received a noise complaint from the tenants in one of the units. It seemed the renter in the other unit had a habit of unwinding from a long day at work by practicing guitar. Unfortunately, his guitar was electric and had to be plugged into an amplifier to be heard. He would play what he thought were peaceful riffs well into the night. My other tenants didn’t think the riffs were peaceful.”
My landlord friend asked the guitarist to wear headphones, but he refused. All the renters had signed a standard rental agreement that failed to address noise issues, so my friend faced a quandary: How to ensure that every tenant experienced quiet enjoyment without violating the guitarist’s rights?
What is Quiet Enjoyment?
An implied warranty between the tenant and landlord, a provision for “quiet enjoyment” may contain the word “quiet,” but that doesn’t necessarily proscribe noise. It simply means that the tenant is entitled to undisturbed use of the premises. Courts read this warranty into every lease, whether or not it’s expressly stated.
Among the benefits it guarantees are:
- Use of all amenities supplied with the unit.
If an appliance breaks, the landlord has to fix it.
- Unimpeded access to the unit.
The landlord is expected to keep the driveway clear and all doors and lock sets in good working order.
- Freedom from intrusion.
In the absence of lease violations or overt damage to the premises, tenants have a right to privacy, which includes freedom from an unreasonable number of landlord visits.
- Peace and quiet.
The landlord must address any disturbing noise within his or her control, such as a chirping smoke alarm.
One Person’s Noise is Another’s Music
It’s difficult to make everyone happy all the time. In the case of the midnight guitarist, one set of tenants was disturbed. But the guitarist viewed the noise he created as inspiring. As far as he was concerned, his guitar playing constituted quiet enjoyment of the premises.
After my friend received several complaints, he voluntarily granted the aggrieved tenants a rent reduction to encourage them to stay. My friend lost money, because of his failure to address noise in the lease.
A properly worded lease can provide much-needed leverage.
The landlord’s bottom line was affected the most, because he failed to address noise in the lease.
Avoid Generic Rental Agreements
My friend used a generic California rental agreement downloaded from the internet. It contained no specific quiet enjoyment clause and did not address noise at all. Covering little more than rental payments, late fees, and security deposits, it left most other issues—such as maintenance and usage guidelines—open.
There’s nothing “free” about a free lease template. It’ll cost you thousands of dollars in damages.
More sophisticated leases usually contain a quiet enjoyment clause, but it generally covers the use of the unit itself—not the impact of the tenant’s use on other renters. It is possible, however, to include language concerning noise in that clause. Moreover, the clause can contain a caveat, such as “subject to all terms and provisions of this lease,” and the lease can address potential disturbances in a separate clause.
Enforce Quiet Hours
An effective way to ensure equal enjoyment of quiet time for all tenants is to specify hours during which noise is to be kept to a minimum. These hours may differ on weekdays and weekends, but they typically begin at 10 p.m. The lease should specify that “quiet time” applies to guests as well as tenants.
Also check with your local county or town code enforcement office. They might already have noise ordinances in place, which you could enforce. The great thing about noise ordinances is that if a tenant doesn’t comply, you can call the police and they will enforce it for you.
Even if all renters agree to a “quiet hours” clause, it can be difficult to resolve a dispute. Different people tend to have different noise thresholds.
Landlords typically use some of the following criteria to help them adjudicate noise complaints:
- Multiple complaints.
Has more than one tenant complained? Multiple complaints carry more weight than one from a (possibly oversensitive) individual.
- Recurring issues.
Are complaints recurring? This points to a pattern of willful disturbance.
- Source of the noise.
Is the noise a product of everyday activities? An 80% carpet rule can help prevent noise disturbances in the case of multistory dwellings.
- Actions to remedy.
Have any steps been taken to address the source of the noise? The Midnight Guitarist, for example, may have tried turning down the volume.
- Documentation and credibility.
Has the complaining tenant documented instances of disturbances? Dates, times, and estimates of noise levels are all helpful.
The quiet hours lease clause should also specify penalties for violation. Eviction should be an option but not the only one. A monetary penalty should prevent recurrences in most cases.
A Sample “Quiet Enjoyment” Clause
While the exact language to use in a quiet hours clause may vary from state to state, a typical one might look something like the following:
Quiet Enjoyment. The tenant may live in and use the apartment without interference subject to this lease. Tenant may not disturb the quiet enjoyment of any other tenant in the building or surrounding neighbors. The tenant is responsible for adhering to the building’s quiet hours. Quiet hours are from (Insert Quiet Hours for Property) on weekdays and from (Insert Quiet Hours for Property) on weekends. If tenant violates the quiet hours policy on three separate documented occasions, the tenant is in violation of the lease agreement. The landlord reserves the right to charge the tenant a penalty of $ (Insert Dollar Amount) and/or evict the tenant, the decision of which is the sole right of the landlord.
Credit to Chris Deziel
Chris has owned and managed 4 rental properties in Santa Cruz, CA, and Salida, CO. He is a DIY handyman expert for popular sites like Pro Referral.
Like most people, real estate agents want to feel the love — especially when it’s coming from clients. But in a stressful, emotional time, buyers and sellers are sometimes more likely to take their anxieties out on you than show their appreciation. You could be on the receiving end of an angry rant, peppered with questions that reveal a client’s lack of trust, or worst of all, the client could ghost you. You probably don’t see why they are so upset, but before you write your client off as crazy, try to figure out where their fear is coming from.
Every relationship needs good communication, and as a real estate agent, you need to be a master at it. If you don’t take extra care to communicate often and to all parties involved, you risk your clients feeling uncertainty, fear, and eventually anger. We live in a busy world, and clients may be distracted by their phones, kids, or other stressors. This is why we often find ourselves repeating things and answering the same questions multiple times. Here are a few things I’ve learned to do to perfect my communication with clients.
When you’re dealing with a couple or clients who are including others in their decision-making process, always copy all parties on emails about the transaction. This is why email is my favorite way to share important information — even if I’ve been texting with clients all day or I have them in a room face-to-face. If you put your thoughts in writing to everyone, you can refer back to the email if they start asking questions you’ve already answered. At the beginning of the transaction, give buyers and sellers a guideline and timeline of what to expect. Be clear about what happens when, and what they need to do to keep the transaction on track. For extra-anxious clients, this will be comforting to have on hand.
Don’t assume your clients are sharing everything with their spouse. If you’re working with a couple and maintain contact primarily with one of the parties, you shouldn’t assume they’re passing on the information you’ve given them to their significant other. It’s sad but true that people don’t communicate with each other. I often find myself on the phone or in person with one half of the couple, and we’ll discuss priorities, make decisions, and plan to move forward according to that conversation. But unless I explicitly communicate what has been discussed or decided to the other half, that person might never know. One email should be sent to both parties, going over the conversation you had with one of them and the next steps you will be taking.
When you’re working with an unmarried couple but only one is buying or selling, give them both equal priority — up to a point. Usually, I ask for both my client and their partner’s contact information, and I include them on emails regarding the home search or any information about showings. But I don’t include the partner on the specifics of the transaction. Since they aren’t officially part of it, it’s up to my client to share whatever they want with his or her partner. If you do include the partner in all that you can, though, you will make them an ally. They appreciate being seen and respected, even without an official stake in the transaction.
Be obsessively careful to balance communication with divorcing clients or an estate with hostile heirs. If one party of the transaction feels you are favoring another, telling secrets, or not working in everyone’s interest, they will make the entire transaction 10 times more difficult by questioning everything, refusing to compromise, or going silent on you. When hurt feelings are involved, someone always feels like they are losing the most — and sometimes everyone feels this way. It’s easier to speak primarily with the party that is kind, reasonable, and willing to negotiate, but it is essential that every communication you send is copied to all parties.
Also, be careful to not stir the pot, even unintentionally. For instance, in a divorce, one party may have moved out of the house. If the person who doesn’t live there anymore asks how the showings are going and if the soon-to-be-ex is keeping the house show-ready, do not reply and copy the other spouse on the email. Send a new email to both parties with the showing feedback you’ve received and a reminder that the property must be show-ready at all times. Keep your communication neutral.
We all have been guilty of not communicating with our clients as well as we should. Maybe they are past clients who are working with you again, so you figure they know how the process goes. Or they’re a couple who you assume must be sharing important information with each other. That’s when you get in trouble. When someone isn’t happy with your service, it’s all your fault. If you mess up, don’t try to talk your way out of it. Apologize sincerely. It goes a long way in making things right again.
You’ve got the skills prospects are looking for, but to truly connect with them, you have to stop being a salesperson.
What does it take to really connect with someone, to have them feel comfortable with you and truly trust you? Those are the people who will end up your customers for life, and those relationships will open doors to a multiple number of other contacts. But it takes being more than a good salesperson to connect with prospects on that level. Here are four strategies to build a deeper, purer relationship with potential clients.
Connect With Your Client, Not the Other Way Around
Your actions are most natural when you feel relaxed and confident in your own skin, and people can connect to that. But no matter how well trained you are, you’re not in your most natural state when you’re trying to make a sales pitch. Instead of trying to get a prospect to connect with you and your services, sometimes the best way to facilitate actions that are pure is to connect to them first — by listening.
When prospective clients ask me about what I do or how my experience will help them, I usually highlight the most important points of my job, as if I only have 60 seconds with them in an elevator. Then I say, “Before I get into more detail about that, I’d like to explore more about what your goals are.” I always turn it back on them until I have a good understanding of their key needs. Keeping the focus on the client allows you to customize your approach and gives you insight on when to move the conversation forward or back off.
That approach has also helped Lisa Lang, sales associate at Keller Williams Suburban Realty in Livingston, N.J. She says it’s imperative, especially in the beginning of a client relationship, to do more listening than talking. “I need to gain their respect and trust immediately. Otherwise, our relationship will falter,” Lang says. “Listening to them is a must. I have to hear what they have to say and what their needs are, and learn what kind of personality they have. I try to make our first meeting as casual as possible, whether it’s at an open house or at my office.”
Lang lets prospects drive the initial conversation, talking about more than just their real estate needs but also their families, current location, people they are affiliated with, and any common bonds she may share with them. “Once they feel at ease, everything else comes naturally,” she adds. “I never try to be someone I’m not.”
Stop Caring About the End Result
There is a saying I’ve tried to follow that is difficult to understand at first but has tremendous benefits for lasting relationships: “Those who desire nothing possess everything.” Now this doesn’t mean you don’t care for your customers or don’t have goals and dreams. It has to do with getting rid of your personal attachments and working from your true gut; it’s an approach to business and life that’s good not only for your success and peace of mind but also for your customers.
Too much caring and desire for winning get in the way of the performance. Your action is pure and comes naturally without thought. The key is detachment: Don’t think too much about it and just do it. When you don’t care so much about the end result, you can be at ease, and that’s when people feel comfortable around you.
One of my favorite books on this subject is Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams. Hyams tells a story of training with his sensei, who instructed him to punch a baseball mitt the sensei was wearing. As soon as Hyams got ready to punch, he tensed up. His sensei was aware of his intention, and he moved the mitt before Hyams could strike it.
“Relax,” the sensei said, according to the book. “Stop straining. The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.” As soon as Hyams relaxed his body and mind, he hit the target.
His sensei told him, “You stopped caring whether you hit or not. It is the caring or desire which stands in the way of effortless effort. You must stop caring about doing it and just do it — effortlessly and naturally as snow falls from the tree or water bubbles up from the spring.”
Eye Contact Is Powerful
We always hear how important it is to maintain eye contact. When you’re making a point or listening to your customer, it enables you to deliver the message with sincerity or see the truth in your customer’s eyes.
“The essence of the [client] relationship is how the transaction begins,” says Hal Maxwell, president of Coldwell Banker in New Jersey and Rockland County, N.Y. “You must build a relationship with trust and understanding immediately. You do that by eye contact, by being honest, by being who you are, telling people the truth and not just what they want to hear. If you’re sitting across from somebody who bought their home, and they paid at the height of the market, you can’t sugarcoat that. You have to tell them the truth, and you have to have something to show them and back it up.”
The truth may make your client angry, Maxwell says, but the anger isn’t directed at you. But your client’s anger will be about you if you tried to hide the truth. “Three or four months down the road, you come back and tell them that they have to do a major [price] reduction, and then they get mad at you because you didn’t tell them the truth up front.”
Maxwell says his company lives by three rules:
- No commission is worth your reputation.
- Do the right thing.
- When you give your word, you keep your word.
This is the glue that keeps the relationship together. Whether it’s a simple handwritten card thanking the individual for their time and business, or specific actions you take to ensure the long-term success of your client. Following up with a client after the sale is critical so they see that you’re there not just for a commission but to make sure they’re satisfied long with their decision.
This often leads to new business, referrals, testimonials, and a solid reputation. Email and other forms of follow-up are key, but an in-person meeting is the most powerful — where body language, eye contact, and a handshake can make all the difference.
“In this increasingly digital world, where email and texting have become the standard for business communication, the personal connection of a call — and, even better, a meeting — is more powerful than ever,” says Brian Stolar, president and CEO of real estate development firm The Pinnacle Companies. “One good meeting can be vastly more effective for finding a resolution to an issue or accomplishing a goal than dozens of digital messages. In important business relationships, a collaborator who knows that and practices it well and often is appreciated.”
Credit to Barry Farber
Barry Farber is a radio and television host with expertise in sales and marketing topics, as well as a marketing consultant for corporations, professional athletes, and entertainers. His brand of FoldzFlat® Pens can be used as a tool to break the ice with prospects or to follow up with clients along with a handwritten thank-you note.
As you prepare to become a successful real estate investor, I encourage you to take the following tips into consideration. They have helped me greatly as I have navigated my way through the world of real estate–and life in general. I hope these tips will make just as big of an impact on your life as they have had on mine.
Tip #1: Create a game plan.
Decide what you want to accomplish and outline the steps that you must take to get there. Who will be involved? How will you meet them and gain their cooperation? How much time will it take? Where will you find this time? How much will it cost, and where will you get this money? What’s the risk? How will you handle it?
This plan will serve as your guide each day, so you need to get it right. That brings us to the next tip…
Tip #2: Have an expert review your plan.
The first real estate investing plan I created involved me single-handedly buying 100 houses in a year. And it listed several different marketing strategies that were completely cost ineffective. I had a friend of mine (who isn’t even involved in real estate) review the plan, and he said it looked good. How silly of me!
About eight months into working this over-reaching and misguided plan, I had an expert investor review it. He tore it apart, and together we reconstructed a better plan with more realistic goals (buy 12 houses, not 100) and a more effective marketing plan.
Shortly thereafter, I bought 6 houses, and I actually felt good about my progress. Six out of twelve feels much better than six out of 100!
Tip #3: Don’t give up.
The life of a new real estate investor is filled with countless highs and lows. You’re on a high when you think you have a property all locked up to purchase, and then you hit a low when it suddenly falls though at closing.
Or you’re on a high when you finally do close on that house, but you hit a low when you hit a 3-week dry spell and it feels like you couldn’t get a seller to agree to your price–even if you paid double.
I hit a personal low when I was jobless and $5,500 in debt from fruitless marketing attempts. But I got up early each morning and worked toward my goal of financial freedom. Even though a voice in my head told me to give up, I never did.
That’s probably the #1 key to success: Don’t give up. Even someone who’s as dumb as a box of rocks will eventually succeed if he doesn’t give up.
Tip #4: Take baby steps.
When you break it all down, big goals, big dreams, and big plans are nothing more than a series of miniature action steps or “to do” items. When you dissect the daily life of a successful investor, you’ll find that he or she does 8 to 12 things each day that are real estate related.
One item might be “Watch DVD #5 in the new investing course I bought.” Another item might be “Call the title company about the name on the warranty deed” or “Meet the inspector at the house on Watson Street.”
All of these little tasks each day add up to what is, or what eventually will be, a large and highly profitable real estate investing operation. So don’t toss that “to do” list by the wayside, thinking that your small efforts today don’t mean much. They mean everything.
Tip #5: Become comfortable with discomfort.
I was actually nervous at the first real estate investing meeting that I attended. I was wondering if I would say something stupid or if I wouldn’t fit in. After all, most of the investors in the room were 40 or 50 years old, and I was 22.
But by the third meeting I attended, I became comfortable with the crowd. Had I quit after the first meeting, I would have missed out on the very information that enabled me to buy so many properties.
I’ve learned that one of the biggest keys to success is persisting though uncomfortable situations until they eventually become comfortable. This is where true growth occurs.
Tip #6: Do what you say you’re going to do.
As a real estate investor, your reputation means everything. They say it’s a small world, but the world of real estate investing is even smaller. So be honest, be courteous, and for heaven’s sake, do what you say you’re going to do. If you say you’re going to buy another investor’s house, by golly, you better move mountains–if that’s what it takes–to buy it!
Otherwise, your name will eventually become mud, and you’ll have a tough time buying from not only that investor, but just about every other investor in town. Believe me, I can count at least 10 local investors of the top of my head who I will NOT do business with because their word means nothing. And I know several other investors who won’t deal with them either. You DO NOT want to be black listed.
Tip #7: Be on time.
Showing up late is just about one of the most disrespectful things you can do to another real estate investor, inspector, contractor, or anyone for that matter. It shows them that you don’t value them or their time, and time is MUCH more valuable than money. Money can be replaced. Time cannot.
When someone shows up late for a meeting with me, they instantly lose credibility. And there are countless other investors who feel the same way I do. On the other hand, when an investor or business associate shows up on time or early, it makes me want to smile, reach out my hand, and strike a win-win deal.
So be on time. You’re much more likely to create trusted allies who can help you along your path to success.
Tip #8: Eliminate certain activities.
I’ll wrap up with one more tip that is closely linked to the first tip, “Create a Game Plan.” That game plan will involve a series of goals and steps or “to do” items that you must follow to become successful. But what many people don’t seem to realize is that for all of these things to happen, certain activities in your current schedule must be REMOVED.
For example, if you’re going to attend two real estate meetings and make five offers per week, what must go? Possibly TV time. Possibly a friendship. Possibly your workout plan. Of course, what has to go is unique to each of us, but you must realize that if you’re an extremely busy person, you’ll have to make some TOUGH sacrifices.
But these sacrifices are only for the short run. If you have to quit your exercise program to have enough time for real estate, for example, then so be it. You can resume in two years after you’ve achieved financial freedom through real estate. And you’ll have more time to exercise than ever.
Early on in real estate, I gave up friendships, exercise, sleep, vacations, and leisure time. How much you give up depends on how quickly you want to become financially independent.
It can be a tough to integrate all of these tips into your daily routine at once. So for now, I encourage you to focus on the one tip that you think can benefit your investing business the most. After you’ve turned that tip into a habit that’s part of your daily routine, then move on to the next. Keep moving forward and never give up, and you’ll be a successful and financially free investor in no time!
Credit to Doug Smith
Doug Smith has bought and sold over 40 properties using almost every method–wholesaling, rehabbing, landlording, subject to, lease options, and more. He is the founder and president of MyHouseDeals, a company that provides a constantly-updated list of bargain-priced investment properties in some of the nation’s largest metro areas.
When prospective agents come into Matt Schwind’s office, he asks them why they want to get into the real estate business. Many say they love houses or HGTV, but those answers are red flags, says Schwind, managing broker for the Bettendorf, Iowa, branch office of Ruhl & Ruhl, REALTORS®.
“The real estate business isn’t about houses. It’s about people. And if you can’t communicate with people — not by text or e-mail, but face to face and on the phone — then this isn’t the right business for you,” he says.
A big part of Schwind’s job is to recruit and coach new salespeople. Unfortunately, a high percentage of new agents barely make it through their first year.
Schwind and other brokers have some tips on how owners, managers, and team leaders can help newbies buck the trend and make it through year one:
1. Emphasize to them that they’re starting a small business. “I explain to them that if they were going to open a coffee shop, they wouldn’t expect to make money for the first three to six months,” Schwind says. “Real estate is the same way.”
Saving enough money ahead of time or having another source of income (like a spouse’s salary) is the only way to actually make it through those lean times.
The top 10 percent of earners in real estate made $178,770 in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual wage was $43,430 in May 2014. But the lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,880.
“It’s a tough business. New agents have to be realistic. They probably will go backwards a little financially before going forward,” Schwind says. “You will give up about two years of your life to enjoy the next 10.”
2. Be realistic about prospecting. David Bracy meets with his new agents every Tuesday. They talk about prospecting methods, and he offers advice and ideas for staying on track.
“If they come in and tell me they only had three appointments that week, I already know what is going to happen to them in six months: They won’t be in the business anymore,” says Bracy, vice president and managing broker of the Koenig/Rubloff Realty Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Magnificent Mile and Gold Coast offices in Chicago.
New agents need to understand that they’re not going to get paid if they’re not producing, says Eric Bramlett, broker-owner of Bramlett Residential in Austin, Texas.
“They see the TV shows and are looking for a quick buck in real estate,” he says. “But you actually have to pound the pavement and make lots of cold calls.”
3. Endorse office presence. As much as technology allows agents to do business outside of the office, there is a huge disadvantage if they aren’t involved in the synergy of the office atmosphere, Schwind says.
“If they stop coming into the office, they aren’t engaged in the business,” he says.
Schwind encourages his new agents to come to the office at least 40 hours a week and attend all the company trainings his brokerage has to offer.
4. Consider setting up mentorships. By officially placing new agents side by side with senior agents, they’ll not only get on-the-job training but also connect with an established pro. Rookies can go out on home tours, assist at open houses, and tag along on listing appointments before they do it on their own, Schwind explains. Make sure the mentors are rewarded for their time too.
5. Value customer service first. Schwind doesn’t hang photos of his top salespeople in his office lobby. Instead, you’ll find pictures of his company’s top-rated agents in customer satisfaction.
“It’s one of the things we value highly,” he says. “Those rewards are given quarterly, and they can’t be bought.”
New agents are eligible for the award, which are based on customer surveys and feedback, and Schwind finds it motivates his team.
6. Teach them the ins and outs of open houses. An open house is an opportunity to meet potential clients, so tell your new agents to invite the neighbors, Bracy says. “Eighty-two percent of those who walk into an open house buy real estate in the next 12 months,” he adds.
Don’t talk about the dishwasher; instead, coach agents on how to get open house guests to talk about themselves, Bracy says. He gives his rookies a script and series of questions for interacting with open-house guests.
“They need to create the condition where that person is talking twice as much as they are,” he says. And for safety, Bracy always has multiple agents at every open house.
7. Help newbies connect with an experienced closing team. A new real estate agent and a new mortgage broker are a bad combination, says Bramlett. Ideally, a new agent should be paired with a closing team that can answer questions or quietly step in if they see a potential mistake.
“A good closing team will typically know more than their role in the transaction,” Bramlett says, adding that it’s a key part of giving new agents the tools and resources to stay on track.
“I can’t make a new agent be committed,” he says, “but I can show them the way.”
Lee Nelson is a freelance journalist from the Chicago area. She has written for Yahoo! Homes, TravelNursing, MyMortgageInsider, and ChicagoStyle Weddings Magazine. She also writes a bi-monthly blog on Unigo
People naturally go through buying stages as their lives change. Whether they’re aging, gaining wealth, expanding their families, or just maturing in their tastes, each potential client is going through an easily recognized cycle. That cycle puts buyers into three categories: those who are starting out and are truly just looking; the ones who have decided they are definitely going to do something, but haven’t decided what yet; and the ones who have a clear idea of what they want, including their price range and other details.
Stage one buyers are just toying with the idea of making a change. They’re not trying to be coy when they give vague answers to your questions about what they’re looking for. They legitimately don’t know. Agents can put themselves in a position to win their business down the road by taking on the role of adviser and asking them questions that move them forward mentally.
In stage two, buyers have chosen to make a change. They’ve put their houses on the market or have decided not to renew their rental agreement. They’ve already made a verbal commitment to each other or to friends and family that they are going to buy. They don’t know exactly what they want, but they do know a change is coming. Agents can distill two or three different options to help them narrow the field.
In stage three, customers come to the table knowing what they want — their price range, the features they can’t live without, and a notion of the type of floor plan that meets their needs. They are definitively in the market, and it’s only a matter of who’s going to win their business.
When agents fail to win that business, too often their response is that “buyers are liars.” They write them off as unserious people only interested in wasting their time. In truth, agents who are surprised by a customer going a different direction most likely aren’t asking the right questions to get inside buyers’ heads. When agents aren’t aware of what their potential buyers are thinking, they are the ones wasting their own time with the wrong people, losing business in the process.
On the other hand, when agents find out which stage buyers are in, they can meet them there. They don’t need to talk about price range if the prospects haven’t even decided whether or not they need a change. In this stage, buyers don’t need to hear specifics. They need to first understand the how their lives will improve if they make a change. In stage three, they don’t need to be persuaded that a change will improve their lives. They already know that and that’s why they came to the agent. Stage three buyers need to know why the agent, community, or home is the right one for their specific situation.
It’s important for agents to spend time with buyers in all stages of the process. This way, they’ll have a healthy pipeline of prospects as potential clients move through the stages. If agents are ever surprised by a customer’s decision, coach them to identify customer stages. That will allow your agents to meet customers where they are so they can move them into the next stage (and subsequently, their next home).
Jason Forrest is a sales trainer; management coach; member of the National Speakers Association’s Million Dollar Speakers Group; and author of three books, including his latest, Leadership Sales Coaching. One of Training magazine’s Top Young Trainers of 2012, Jason is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform companies into sales organizations.