You work hard to generate leads but when you call and ask a question or two, you find it difficult to keep the conversation going. You want to be able to get the lead into your sales funnel, but a short call isn't going to get you there. It's time to change your call strategy by discovering ways to ask questions that build rapport. As you build rapport, you greatly increase your chances of making a strong connection with the lead and a potential future sale. Let’s look at 3 ways to engage the lead during the first call.
1. The Opener: Shift Their Thinking
So, what does it take to get the lead's attention when you make the first call? According to Psychology Today, you need to stimulate their brain to release opiods by creating a “wow” factor vs. asking the same questions that every other agent has asked. Create an opener that shifts their brain from been-there-done-that to this-is-interesting-and-I-want-to-keep-talking. If you're using the following opener, it’s time to change the conversation:
“Hi, my name is _______ and I noticed that you looked at 123 Main St. on my website. Are you interested in seeing the house?”
First of all, the lead may be quick to answer "no" because it's a closed-ended question. A unique opener can catch the lead's attention and get them talking. Think about saying something they wouldn't expect to hear. Oh, and come across as someone who loves what they’re doing.
“Hi, this is _________ from _________ agency. Thanks for visiting my website and taking a peak at 123 Main St. That house is in a great neighborhood. Did you know there’s a park just down the street, and the summer band concerts get great reviews? "
This opener would get a lot more attention than if you merely focused on the house they looked at online. Even if they say “No, I’m not interested in band concerts,” you’ve shifted their thinking. Here's another example:
"Hi, this is _________ from _________ agency. I noticed you visited my website and requested information on XYZ neighborhood. Did you see the huge community park they just refurbished in that area?"
Again, it's different approach and a subtle shift from what they might expect to hear from an agent. If they say no, you can start describing the renovation and look for ways to ask questions that will engage them. Maybe you describe the resurfaced tennis courts and the lead mentions they really enjoy tennis. "You enjoy tennis too! We might have to schedule a friendly match." You start to sound more like a friend than a salesperson, and you won't soon be forgotten.
2. Good Listening Skills
Really listen to what they share and build questions around their remarks. If they tell you they’re not into band music but they did play the electric guitar at some point, ask them to elaborate.
“The electric guitar? That’s great! When was the last time you played?”
This will get them talking and you can use the information they share to build more rapport. Even better, you might find you share some of the same interests. Run with it! Here's another example of engaging them by asking for more information on what they shared:
"You grew up in that neighborhood? What was that like?"
Questions like this show your willingness to really get to know them (don't forget to take notes as you talk). You become more than a one-time caller and, instead, become someone they look forward to talking to in the future because you've taken the time to get to know them. Once you start to get chummy, find ways to sneak in a few questions about loan qualification and how you can help them sell or buy a home.
3. Repeat What They Say
Part of being a good listener is repeating information provided by the lead. Use the information they've provided to ask open-ended questions, like the following 2 examples, to encourage a more engaging conversation:
“You mentioned that you love the house you currently live in but just want something smaller. What are the top 3-5 things you hope to find in your next home?
“You mentioned needing a yard for your dog. I've got a 100 pound dog so I understand the importance of a yard. What do you like about the yard you currently have?”
When you acknowledge what the lead's saying, they begin to build trust in you. Help them engage in the conversation by getting them talk about what's important to them. Again, any answers you receive will help you get to know the lead and build rapport. Ask away!
There are many ways to build rapport with a lead during the first phone call:
- Open the conversation with a unique, unexpected twist
- Take time to really listen to what they have to say
- Turn their comments into questions that will help you learn more about them
- Aim to a build a long-term relationship, as a professional, but as a friend too
Approaching your call with these simply tactics will lead to a stronger conversation and more trust on the part of the lead. Building rapport also leads to referrals, as the lead shares their positive interactions with friends and family. Time to get on the phone and get to know your leads.
You've got this!