Real estate agents spend a lot of time and effort creating listing presentations. However, these very same agents often overlook an equally important tool that deserves just as much attention: the buyer presentation.
I’ve actually had agents say to me, “Denise, I’m just going to meet with the buyer, discover what they want, find it for them, show it to them, write it up for them, and sell it to them. There’s nothing to “present” to them. Why do I even need a buyer presentation?”
The best answer to that question can be found with the simple observation that many buyers jump from one agent to another. I truly believe that a key reason for this is a disjointed buyer presentation that communicates lack of organization and poor attention to detail or, worse yet, no buyer presentation.
Buyers need to be educated. They must understand how a real estate transaction works. It’s a brand new experience for many. Appraisal, inspection, pricing, listing, and negotiation are not everyday tasks for most people. This is why you need to make them as comfortable as possible every step along the way. Having a solid buyer presentation is the key to generating that comfort.
The fact is most agents don’t include as part of their buyer presentation a detailed explanation of why the buyer is in good hands. Buyers need to understand the benefits of working with that agent. If the agent has not clearly articulated why he or she is the correct choice, then the buyer will likely pass and hire someone else.
So, how do you start a buyer presentation? First, show your value. Highlight points of difference between you and other agents. Demonstrate the things you do that nobody else does.
It all starts when you first meet. Your first mission is to find out how they like to search for homes. Do they like to look online first? Do they like to take a drive through neighborhoods first? Or do they want you to hand-deliver all the information to them?
If it’s a couple, does one of them have a specific “must-have” on their list? Often, one person dominates by talking about their wants and needs while their partner remains silent. Only later do you find out what that silent partner is looking for. Uncover these hidden needs early to avoid problems later.
Once you discover how they prefer to look for homes, it’s time to show them what you do differently. When I was actively selling real estate, I would sit down with my buyers and say:
“What I like to do before we ever write an offer is a complete analysis on the homes you are interested in. I will break each one down by all the numbers—appreciation and/or deprecation over the last ten years. I will also analyze the surrounding areas for you and compare their ten-year statistics to the homes you’re interested in. Not only that, I’m going to check to see if there have been any recent zoning changes nearby, including any new regulations for the area that could affect your investment.”
As if that wasn’t enough to impress the buyers, I would show them a sample analysis I had created for a previous buyer. It was jam-packed with solid numbers about the home, the neighborhood, the town, and trends over time. They were wowed. This is the kind of reaction that you want from a potential buyer.
Not only did this work nearly 100% of the time, but I would gain many referrals from these people who told everybody about how detailed and informative my analyses were. I had become unique in their minds. I gave them something much more than just listings and home showings. I gave them information that nobody else was offering them.
You cannot rely on a sunny personality and “people skills” when working with buyers. You have to supply tools—spreadsheets, research, reports, articles, newspaper clippings – that are of value to your clients.
Want to wow your clients? Here are five items you should discuss at every buyer presentation:
1. Their needs.
Not only do you want to discover what they want in a home, you also must find out what they’re willing to give up to get what they really want.
2. The home search process.
Go into detail here. Discuss the entire process from beginning to end. Don’t raise their expectations with fantastic promises. Be real, be direct, and be educational. You know how it all works because you do it every day. They do not do it every day, and yet most of them think they know the process. It’s up to you to tell them what to expect at every step along the way.
3. Realistic expectations.
Some people have a natural inclination to be positive. While this is a great trait to have, these people often are disappointed because they expect miracles around every corner. It’s up to you to keep people grounded in the reality of the home buying process.
4. The pending to closing time period.
Buyers often think that once an offer is made, the deal is done and they can sit back and relax. We know better. This period of time from pending to closing can be the most stressful, as unforeseen problems often arise. It’s best to let them know from the start that you are their guide on this journey over rough seas—and they can expect the seas to get very rough during this phase. By being forewarned, they will not think less of you as an agent if this part of the process becomes difficult.
5. After the sale.
This is where you truly shine. By helping people make one of the most important investments of their lives, you have a stake in making sure that their money is well-spent. Let them know that you’re going to be there for them long after they have actually moved in. You want to know their investment dollars are providing strong returns—so you’re going to stay in touch.
That’s powerful. Most agents disappear after their commission check clears. Don’t be that agent. Remember that these people trusted you in a monumental life decision. Be there for them long after the sale and watch repeat and referral business stream in.
It’s time to start thinking about how you interact with buyers. Do you cover all the above points? If not, how can you communicate them to your clients? Write out your own buyer presentation based on the ideas I’ve given you, start rehearsing them out loud, and start using them right away.
When you do, you will notice that you’re wowing clients too.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI