A real estate lead is so much more than an opportunity to earn a future commission. A lead is an opportunity to build a real relationship that could turn into a future buyer/seller and referrals. What if you took your focus away from financial gain or personal needs and, instead, focused on building a long-term relationship?
If a friend asked you to help their daughter find a house, would you decline because she may be unrealistic about the cost of a home? I doubt it. You would go out of your way to help her find a home. How about treating your leads like your friends' daughter? Take time to get to know them, build a relationship, and work with them until they can realistically afford to buy a home.
Start by taking time to get to know them over the phone, and skip the standard price range and closed-ended questions. Get them to describe what they are looking for while listening intently.
This is where you can shine and really make a difference. Ask open-ended questions and they will gradually talk themselves into the best solution, without being told where they need to be price-wise or otherwise. Knowing that you're a good listener, they will build trust in you. Your goal should be to respond with questions that build on what they've shared. It might sound something like this:
Agent: "I can see why you and your wife would want to live in Benington Heights. It's a lovely neighborhood. Prices range from $989,000 to $2.4 million. How does that work with your budget?"
Lead: "I had no idea those homes were that expensive. We were only approved for $425,000."
Agent: "That's a good price point. Besides the Benington Heights being a beautiful neighborhood, what do you find appealing about the area? Is it close to work or family?
Lead: "We want to be on that end of town because it's close to work and our church.
We love the brick homes and manicured yards."
Agent: "Since you want to be close to work and church, the Bellmier subdivision is only 1 mile away from Benington. Home prices are under $500,000. Besides a brick home, what else are you looking for in your next home?"
Lead: "We want a 2-story home, 3 bedrooms, 2+ bathrooms on a flat lot. 2-car garage. Turn key would be best but we don't mind painting or removing wallpaper. A big yard isn't important but a pool would be great."
As you can see, they started out being unrealistic about the cost of homes in their desired neighborhood but, as they moved further into the conversation, they felt comfortable sharing with you. Someone who feels listened to will trust you more than an agent who talks at the lead, asking a list of closed-ended questions.
When you hear excitement from the lead, keep building on the topic by asking more open-ended questions. This agent learned that her client hosts poker parties.
"Weekend poker parties, huh? How long have you been hosting those?"
"10 years is a long time! What kind of food do you serve?"
"No wonder you've been doing this for so long, the food alone would keep me coming back year after year! You need a good sized kitchen to prep all of that food. What would your ideal kitchen look like?"
To begin building a bond with a lead, ask probing, open-ended questions. If they cannot afford a house at this time, nurture them with a drip email campaign. Call them at regular intervals to see how they're doing and where they're at in the homebuying process. Open the conversation with something related to your last conversation (ex. poker parties) and you'll win them over. You've got this!