ASK THE COACH
Coach Claudio Encina tackles reader questions on improving communication skills, including the awkward price reduction conversation.
Many agents don’t understand that words have the power to make or break a sale at any stage.
Q. How can I get my vendors to accept an offer in a slow market? I feel they’re starting to lose faith in me. Raymond Indrawan, Win Real Estate Mulgrave Victoria
Not many agents put much thought into the words they use when presenting offers to vendors. They don’t seem to understand that words have the power to make or break a sale at any stage.
You could have vendors excited about an offer and ready to go ahead, then say one wrong word. The sale comes to a screeching halt and you aren’t even sure why. The vendor stalls. They back-pedal. They want to think it over. What happened?
I see it happen all the time. You have to work out why this offer is an advantage for the vendor rather than for your own self-interest (commission).
Sometimes our dialogue can create negative emotions. You created doubt about the benefits they would receive from the sale. They got scared and put up a quick defence barrier to keep the sale from going any further.
You see, words create pictures in our minds. Those pictures then cause us to have certain emotions – either negative or positive.
The goal of anyone in sales, or any other position where they need to persuade others, is to create only positive emotions with positive mental pictures. Negative mental pictures create fear or cause people to raise defence barriers against whatever you’re offering. Be careful in being too aggressive, pushing hard on an offer, as this can cause people to lose interest in you. Before you know it, they’re thinking about using another agent.
The key to closing every opportunity is to eliminate fear in the minds of your vendors. It works like this: Words create pictures that create emotions. People make decisions emotionally, then they defend their decisions with logic. So it’s critical to closing that you understand how to eliminate negative emotions and create positive ones. Vendor empathy is the fastest way to winning more sales!
I feel I need to level up my cold-calling prospecting skills on the phone. Any tips? Neil Carrasco, McGrath Liverpool
The first 10 seconds on the phone can make or break that call. Many telephone sales opportunities are lost because of poor opening technique.
Never say, ‘How are you?’ to a stranger. This approach is not sincere. The prospect doesn’t really care and certainly doesn’t have time to listen to a story. They may put up resistance immediately because of this opening and then expect a sales pitch. You dig yourself into a hole and now you have to dig yourself out before you try to regain the attention of the prospect.
Give respect to the prospect you are calling and try to avoid asking a question that is intrusive, direct, and too personal. Be polite. Don’t fluff the opening line. It should sound clear, positive, and strong.
When a potential customer calls you, the voice he or she hears should be enthusiastic and ready to serve. When you are making the call, the same proves true. A poor opening line will surely dim your chances of a productive conversation.
Remember, you may be calling this person at your convenience. Never say, ‘Is this a good time to talk?’ Why? Because generally the prospect will say ‘No’.
Practise saying who you are and know what you do. Know your ‘message’ and ‘outcome’ from the call. Also, understand that your language can create a level of influence and persuasion on the prospect. Think about ‘Seeds of thoughts to plant that can create action’. Follow these guidelines:
1. Be confident 2. Be assumptive 3. Use sentenced word
statements 4. Be action oriented 5. Speak in the present.
Here is an example: ‘ Hi, is this …? This is (your name)… I’ll only be brief. We just sold (x) just down the road from you, and some of your neighbours who aren’t thinking of selling are curious to know where their home sits on the market based on the recent sale. Would it be helpful if we were to pop in while visiting some your neighbours this week or next week to give you an updated market assessment?’
Sincerity, politeness and brevity, combined with a solid knowledge of your market, are the makings of a successful sales call. Follow these tips and watch your selling productivity rise!