I'm going to share with you a system for separating the wheat from the chaff, so you can spend your time meeting with Five-Star Prospects, turning those appointments into contracts, those contracts into closings, and those closings into commission checks.
Ready? Let's get started. Now, Later or Never
There are only three possibilities when someone comes to you as a prospect: They're either going to act now, they're going to act later, or they've never going to act. And never is OK - you just want to know for sure.
Once you realize those are the only possibilities, the name of the game is to find out as soon as you possibly can which category they fall into. You do this by asking yourself five simple questions, in a specific order, that work, every time, to identify a Five-Star Prospect. When you know what you're looking for, it's easy to separate the time wasters from the commission check producers.
Here are your five questions.
1. Are they willing to engage in a dialogue?
If you're going to work with someone, they have to be willing to communicate.
You'll notice that some prospects will respond to your marketing by leaving their phone number for you to call, or contacting your email address. Someone who doesn't do this is not willing to engage in a dialogue.
Dialogue doesn't necessarily mean talking on the phone. You can have a great dialogue by email. In a lot of ways, email is a great way to communicate with your prospects.
The test is - are they responsive?
If someone leaves a message on your voicemail and you try to reach them by phone and they don't return your calls, or they leave contact information on your Web site and you send one or several emails and they don't respond, it's going to be hard to have a successful working relationship with them.
If you call them and they answer and engage in a dialogue with you, or if you leave a message and they return your call, or you send an email and they reply - they've passed the first test.
There are four more tests to go.
2. Are they friendly and cooperative when you talk to them?
Life is too short to deal with people you don't like. People who are short with you, evasive, shady, or otherwise uncooperative are not worth the trouble.
You can tell a lot about someone by the way they talk to you on the phone, or they way they reply to your emails. Some people are friendly and cooperative, while others are like pulling teeth, or giving you the bare minimum you ask for because they're using you for information.
Generally, you can tell if you're connecting with someone. If you're not connecting with them - why go on?
3. Do they know what they want?
Five-Star Prospects know what they want - and have realistic expectations. They have an answer to the question, "What are you looking for?"
How can you possibly help someone who doesn't know what they want? And how can you help someone who knows what they want, but doesn't have a firm grip on reality?
You know who I mean - the prospect who wants "a nice house on the outskirts of town, maybe some acreage with trees and a pond for about $135,000 to $150,000, if they have owner financing - but we're not in a hurry."
Why get caught up in that? The best use of your time is helping Five-Star Prospects, not getting caught up with dreamers.
Just holding your prospects up to those first three filters will eliminate a lot of them right out of the gate. Just as important as knowing who you are going to work with is knowing who you aren't going to work with.
Give yourself permission right now to not work with anyone who doesn't want to play by your rules. It's the best thing for both of you.
4. Are they moving in the next six to 12 months?
If a prospect meets the first three requirements but they're not moving until their 13-year-old has left for college...
But, if someone has met those first three criteria, and if they're going to move in the next 12 months, and if you have a system of mailings and/or phone calls for keeping in touch with them...then we're four down and one to go.
Once a prospect has passed the first three tests, and they tell you they're going to be moving in the next 12 months, it's a good investment of your time to keep in regular touch with helpful information until they're ready.
5. Do they want you to help them?
There's a reason this is the last of the five questions.
Most of the time, real estate agents and lenders start out a conversation with a prospect by talking about all the services they can provide, without even knowing if that prospect is Five-Star.
You want to know the answer to the first four questions first.
Once you know the answers to the first four criteria, you'll know what kind of service to offer them. If they're going to buy now, you might offer them a free pre-approval, or offer to introduce them to your trusted lender for a free pre-approval.
If they're going to buy in six months to a year, you might offer to send them monthly or twice-monthly information on new homes that come on the market until they're ready to start looking. Or you might offer to add them to your email list for weekly mortgage information updates.
So, how do you know if they want you to help them?
When you explain your services and offer to help them, they say, "Yes!"
Learn how to get more real estate leads while working fewer hours with Joe Stumpf's real estate training program. Visit http://www.mybyreferralonly.com for more information.
About the Author:
For more than 20 years Joe Stumpf has trained and coached the most successful real estate and mortgage professionals in North America on the systems and strategies for building a highly profitable referral-based business. Joe Stumpf's By Referral Only provides you with expert coaching, turn-key business systems and revenue generating marketing strategies so you can absolutely dominate your market.