In this video and blog post we will discuss what makes initial appointments
with senior homeowners different.
If you have been around SREI and our group of Certified Senior Housing Professionals for very long, you have probably heard various people refer to their initial meetings with prospective clients as consultations rather than listing appointments.
Traditionally, real estate agents heading out the doors of their offices, when asked, “Where are you headed,” often reply with, “I’m headed to a listing appointment.” And this may be true in some cases, especially if the agent did his or her due diligence in the pre-meeting needs assessment.
In many cases, however, agents don’t do a full needs assessment, and instead they simply assume that if someone called them to talk about selling their home, they are actually ready to do so.
Having specialized in the mature market for over two decades, I can tell you that more than 50% of my initial meetings with longtime homeowners are for the sole purpose of information gathering. They want to know what their home is worth, what costs are involved, what services we offer, and generally determine whether they like what I have to say (and how I say it).
A mistake that new agents to the senior niche (even seasoned real estate pros) make is that they assume the “come talk to me” call is a “come list me” call. They go into the meeting prepared to lay out their marketing plan, market analysis, and listing paperwork. It’s then purplexing to them when they leave the appointment without a signed listing and a “We’ll call you when we’re ready” dismissal.
This is why we at Seniors Real Estate Institute (SREI) take an entirely different approach. We know that many of our clients, especially those making late-life moves from long-time residences, may need information, assurance, and a plan before they sign on the dotted line. If referred by a senior living community or other advisor, chances are, they are gathering data as they contemplate their next step.
The consultative approach vs. the listing appointment approach
Listing appointment approach
- Build rapport, evaluate circumstances, ask great questions, propose a price and listing contract terms, and close for the “sale.”
- Handle objections and attempt to get a signature (or at the very least a next meeting).
- Leave listing paperwork behind (or not) and establish a follow up for the next day.
- Feel frustrated and disappointed that you weren’t able to “get the listing” and beat yourself up that you did something wrong (or worry they chose another agent).
- Check MLS every day to see if their house came on the market.
- Follow up via email and phone calls to see if they are ready to list.
- Give up if they haven’t done something in 6 months because “they must never be planning to move” and you have more pressing leads to deal with.
- Another agent ultimately lists the house because they came along at the right time.
- Build rapport, evaluate circumstances, ask great questions, propose a plan, and request feedback on the plan.
- Be prepared to provide “next steps,” referrals to resource team members, estimated costs and timelines. This often includes more than just real estate info – it may include step by step processes for the entire relocation process.
- Leave reading materials behind and allow the prospect to internalize and reflect on the information shared.
- Follow up to see what further information they may need before making a final decision. Provide additional resources to help them move forward in THEIR decision-making process.
- Follow up for days, weeks, months, or even years depending on a variety of factors. Add value, offer support, solve problems, empathize, and invite them to educational programs that might be relevant.
- List and sell the home of a grateful client who appreciates you sticking by their side as they made this significant life decision and lifestyle change.
When working with longtime homeowners who are ambivalent about moving or who are overwhelmed about the relocation process, consider a consultative approach. Yes, it may take more time (it likely will), but it’s worth it in the end!
If you are a real estate agent specializing or considering specializing in the mature market and you would like to learn how to more effectively coach, consult, and advise, we encourage you to sign up for Success in Seniors Real Estate or the Senior Downsizing Coach Skills Training at SREI.
Click HERE to learn about three ways to help other agents that reach out to you for help that are struggling with a senior client.