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The Secret to Converting "Sign Calls"

June 23 2011

It happens millions of times a day. A consumer picks up the phone or sends an email to a REALTORĀ® with a question about a property. Are you prepared? Do you have a plan to talk to this potential client? Most real estate sales professionals do not. So let's put one together. Even if you think that you are great at converting leads, read on. Perhaps you may pick up an extra idea. If you are a rock star, leave a comment down below and let us know what we missed.


Let's start with the "sign call" or any call for that matter. In building your call plan, you have one primary objective: get to know the person on the other end of the phone. Understanding this objective, you must to prepare your tactics and equipment.

The most important thing that you need to start with is a pen and paper. My dad always said that a sales person without a pen and paper is like a soldier without a gun. Great sales people always have a great pen. Something like a Mont Blanc is special enough; you will always take care of it, like your wallet, keys, or cell phone. Paper is more difficult to keep handy, but you can always use the back of your business card in a pinch. If you are into technology, you can type information into your smartphone, or speak into your voice recorder, or any other number of handy tools.

And the call begins . . .

The first thing that the customer asks when you pick up the phone is property-centric. Begin the call by telling them your name, and that you absolutely can get the answer for them. But first, ask for their phone number in case the call is dropped. In getting the phone number, you just took the first step toward your future success, you first step toward a transaction. You have a long way to go, but you are on the road to victory.

The second thing that you do is ask who you should ask for if the call gets dropped and you call back. If the caller only gives you the first name, just write the first name down and move on. But at this point, you want to try to use that person's name as many times as you can during the call. We are going to use the name Sue.

The third thing to do is ask a question about your customer service. "Sue, before I look up that information you called about, can you please tell me how long it took you to reach me?" This gives the Sue a moment to tell her story. She may say "I dialed the number and you picked up," or she may say "I called 10 numbers before you picked up." Remember, we know that consumers report on surveys that it takes days for real estate sales people to get back to them. You want to assure Sue that you are not like that, and that you provide excellent customer service.

 "How can I help you?" These are the 5 magic words of every selling professional. Regardless of Sue's question, you have an answer. At this point in your sales conversion process, you have Sue's name and phone number. The next piece of information that you want to collect is Sue's email address. To do this, you need to discover some information that you have that Sue wants, information that is better to receive by email than by phone. Here are seven service offers that will encourage Sue to give you her email address after you answer her question.

1. Would you like me to email you the property history showing prior sales and pricing?

2. Would you like me to email photos of the inside of the property and the back yard?

3. Would you like me to email you when there is a price change on this property?

4. Would you like me to email you a list of comparable properties in this neighborhood, or another area of town?

5. Would you like me to email you a competitive price analysis to see how realistic the asking price is of this home?

6. Would you like me to email you with the number of days this property has been on the market?

7. Would you like me to contact the listing agent to learn more about this property and email that information to you?

Depending on Sue's question, you will have an answer. By now you have Sue's name, number, and email address. You have accomplished your goals for the call. Ask yourself a question. Did Sue accomplish her goals? Did you help her? If you didn't, you may as well throw the number away. If you did, lets see if we can take the call a little further, by understanding where Sue is in the buying or selling process.

 "Is your home listed for sale with our company?" After asking this question, do not say another word to Sue until she answers. Almost every homebuyer is also a home seller too. Before listing her home for sale, Sue looks around to see where she will move to next.

Sue will tell you exactly where she is in the buying or selling process. She will tell you if she is on vacation (dreamer), getting a divorce (urgent seller and buyer), renter (first time home buyer), etc. In other words, Sue will tell you if she is a real prospect or not. With this question, you are probing for a listing presentation.

Remember, every call represents an opportunity today or sometime in the future. If Sue is getting close to a transaction in the next 90 days, then plan to stay in touch with her. Set an expectation for Sue. Tell her that you will send along an email within a reasonable time frame (same day, next day, etc). Ask her if that timeframe works for her.

If Sue is just a "looky-lou" that is okay. With her call, Sue is telling you that she has an interest in real estate but is not ready to buy or sell today. Feed that curiosity. Set a plan to call and email Sue once a month or once a quarter to give her market data. Put her on your newsletter list or into any other drip-marketing program you may have.

You and Sue are now connected, and you are on the road to providing her real estate services.