What can you do for THEM?

In previous posts, I wrote about the importance of listening to your prospects and get them talking.  Below I have continued my thoughts on what was originally going to be 4 or 5 blogs but is now up to 6.  You can check out previous blogs by clicking here

The objective of questioning and listening to your prosecpt over the phone is to understand the needs of that prospect.  There will come a point in the conversation that you must state that you can or can’t meet these needs.  Despite the fact that this brings to the point in the conversation that you will be doing the talking, you should not get carried away.  Your job is complex and there are a thousand factors that will determine your ability to affect how well you will be able to meet the needs of the prospect.  Regardless of the individual situation, you should be able to summarize what you can do for them in a very concise and unwavering benefit statement.

What makes you unique?  Why should they do business with you?  What is it that you bring to the table?  It is the answer to these questions that will help you formulate your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP.  Having your USP ready to inject into the conversation at the right time is essential to thes sales process.  The key is the fact that the timing must be right.  You must have learned their needs and the USP must help clarify why you are the person to help them with their needs.

The word unique is key.  If you tell them the same thing as everyone else (such as – I will give you great service), they may not be moved to take action.  Only you can say something like – I have sold more homes in the Broadtree Subdivision than anyone else in the past ten years – and 80% of these sales have been to first time homebuyers just like you.

This is the point – when you finally get to talk – be ready, be on target, and move them to action.  Only your own unique benefit statement can accomplish this objective.

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Why Satisfied Clients Bolt

The sale merely consummates the courtship.  Then the marriage begins.  How good the marriage is depends on how well the relationship is managed by the seller.”

That was written by Theodore Levitt – Former Editor of Harvard Business Review

The key is not how satisfied are the clientsits how many satisfied clients you keep.  And in today’s competitive marketplace, providing great service isn’t enough to produce a lifetime of referrals.  if you are not getting all the referrals you deserve, keep reading and discover why satisfied clients bolt, costing you an ongoing stream of business.

Why Great Service Isn’t Enough

Recent consumer behavioral research shows satisfied clients don’t always make loyal clients.  Satisfaction is necessary but not sufficient for loyalty; its loyal clients who stimulate referrals from promoting your services to others by word-of-mouth.  There seems to be confusion between satisfaction and loyalty.  When you consider loyalty, there are two facets.  First, your client is satisfied by your service and secondly, they express to others their satisfaction (word-of-mouth).  It’s when both facets are present you have loyalty.

Client Experience Management

Loyal clients provide ongoing business, are more profitable and cheaper to serve, and are willing to promote your services to others.  Simply put, loyal clients are completely, not merely, satisfied.  Of course, satisfaction begins with delivering exceptional service and managing the client’s experience.  it’s why it is important to establish a relationship with a loan officer who can meet and exceed your client’s expectations because it will in part reflect on you.

Client loyalty increases when you positively surprise clients.  For instance, I send a gift basket to a client when his or her loan is approved and again when the loan closes.  Many times the client treats the first basket as their closing gift and then they arepleasantly surprised when the receive another, larger basket when the loan closes.

Additionally, client loyalty increases when there is more than just an economic link.  Many Realtors and Loan Officers stop servicing the client after the point of sale, yet there’s your opportunity to extend the client’s experience and develop an affective link.  I create an affective link with clients using my after sale campaign – Because I Care.  This includes Birthday Cards, Anniversary, New Years, etc.  Its an affective link that creates an attachment between the client and me.

Client satisfaction isn’t enough to generate a lifetime of referrals.  Surprising clients positively and managing their experiences during and after the sale is what’s necessary to produce a steady stream of business.  But you can’t do it alone.  Vendors, such as loan officers, play an important role in the home buying process that affects the quality of your client’s experience.

Some of you may feel that this is a way for me to solicit myself as a loan officer.  Although I am a loan officer, I am merely pointing out some things that should be on your mind.  Before you refer your next customer to your current LO, tell them to search the net, or tell them to choose between the 3 or 4 LOs you know, ask yourself these questions:

 

  • Does this individual take care of your customer from beginning to end with very little hiccups?  This does not mean that every deal runs smoothly.  We all know that a completely smooth transaction is hard to come by.  I am talking about things like forgetting steps, always running behind, etc.
  • Does this individual wait around for your next deal or are they helping you attract more buyers/sellers and helping you retain loyal customers?
  • Is the individual available when you need them?  Within reason.  In today’s environment, you should be able to reach your LO outside of 9-5, if needed.
  • Is this a person that you would trust and get a loan from?

 

I have found that many agents will actually stick with their LO because their office uses them and they have not looked around.  Or, they work with someone that is has their flaws but at least they knew what to expect.  I am not knocking my industry.  I love what I do and there are a LOT of great LOs out there, but let’s be honest – it is not difficult to receive your LO license.  There is more to this career choice than just running numbers to calculate a mortgage payment.

Do you ask your customers to look into several lenders and compare rates/price?  Then you should do the same.  Know who you are doing business with and relying upon to get your commission paid.  You should feel confident that the customer is being referred to an individual that represents you.

Do you ask for the right to ask questions?

This is part 5 (so far) of my blog regarding Sales. Check out my previous posts.

We have established that you must listen to be successful in selling over the phone.  In order to listen, you must get the caller to talk.  In order to get the caller to talk, you must ask questions.  But first, you must ask their permission to ask questions.  Remember, in our scenario, they called you to ask questions.

For example, the call may start like this:     I am calling about the listing you advertised on 22nd Street for $200,000.  Is the seller negotiable?

Before you start firing questions back, you must first make sure that they have agreed to carry-on a conversation with you.  The process of asking is referred to as an enabling statement.  Here is how an enabling statement might be presented in the above referenced sitation –

The seller’s willingness to negotiate would be dependent upon several factors.  Is it all right if I ask you a few questions to determine whether your situation might positively reflect these factors?

If they say no, ask if there is another time when it would be more convenient.  If they ask for a sample of such factors, you might present an obvious one such as how quickly they are willing to settle.  Of course, what you are looking for is a yes so that you can start the questioning or conversational process.

If you just start firing questions back without getting them ready, you are likely to turn them off.  This is just as much a turn off as you doing all the talking and not listening.

Have you found a response that works best for you?

What’s on your mind?

The last blog I wrote how listening was a prerequisite for successful telephone sales.  This statement supposes that the other person on the line is interested in talking.  Getting the person on the other side of the line to talk is not automatic.  Getting the other person to talk is a skill; it is the skill of asking questions.

Some people are better at asking questions than others.  For some it is natural.  These people are so adept at asking questions that they answer questions with another question.  For example, the question “what do you think is the best way to go?” might be answered with “that depends upon many factors, for example, how long do you expect to own your home?”

When you ask questions, you start learning information from the caller.  You learn their needs, their motivation, and what is important to them.  You cannot learn these through chance.  You must have a set of organized questions that you use on a regular basis.  They should not be read like a script because every conversation will play out differently.  But they should all lead you to the same information.

What questions do you ask when someone calls about a listing you have for sale?  You should be able to think of twenty questions, at least, including: are they familiar with the neighborhood?  Do they own a home presently? What is their motivation for looking at the present time? Have they been pre-approved with a lender? What would they like to improve most upon with regard to their present living situation?

Note the questions that are “open-ended.” or cannot be answered with a simple “yes or no,” are the ones that are most likely to get the person talking so that you can control the conversation by listening.  You must be comfortable in asking these questions without hesitation.  If it sounds scripted, the person will not be comfortable.  Believe it or not, those who question and listen well are considered great “conversationalists.”

So, what what are the questions you ask during your initial conversation?

Control the Conversation

I wanted to talk more about phone conversations and sales today.  I realize that some of your final sale may be done in person, it is important to work the phone properly as well.

To succeed in selling over the phone, it is important to control the conversation.  The person in control is more likely to achieve their goals.  Unfortunately, most people try to control the conversation by talking — this is a big mistake.

The preson who is controlling the conversation is typically listening.  The art of sales is actually the art of listening.  The person in control is actually learning something.  If you are talking and not listening, you will never learn the needs of the caller and how to fill those needs.

When you are not listening, you are talking.  You may not realize this, but when you are talking too much the person on the other end of the line may have turned you off — mentally.  If you were a television and they had a remote control, they would just switch stations.  How many times have you thought a telephone call went well, but there were no positive results afterwards?

You can only tell if they are interested, and you are on the same page, if you are listening to what they have to say.  It does not matter who initiated the call.  Just because you called someone doesn’t mean that you do not want that person to do the talking — even if the call was initiated as a cold call.

The good, the bad and the ugly of marketing

There is good news and bad news with regard to this key to marketing.  The good news is there is no lack of choices when it comes to marketing.  The alternatives are numerous.  I’ve mentioned the options in a previous post, but will list some of them again for those that were not following at the time:

Telemarketing   Newspaper Advertising
Direct Mail   Email  
Seminars   Faxing  
Public Speaking   Networking  
The Internet   Newsletters  

 

Each of these categories brings dozens of more specific choices to the table.  With so many choices, it should not be difficult to find marketing activities that are effective, right?  In reality, the key is not choosing the activities — the key is implementing the activities.

With so many choices, our tendency is to attempt too many marketing activities at once and this limits the effectiveness of our marketing activities as a whole.  One of the keys to marketing is being consistent.  Attempting too many actions works against the need for consistency.  Since our time and monetary resources available to implement marketing activities are limited – attempting too many severely taxes these resources.

This is not to say that whatever marketing activities are undertaken cannot be linked and therefore become more effective.  For example, if you are holding an open house this activity becomes much more effective if you network effectively.  But in general, if you attempt too many actions you will succeed in none.  This is the main reason most real estate websites are not effective.  There is not time to focus upon making them effective.  We tend to abandon the activity and declare it is not worth the effort.

https://cart.dietpower.com/product_details.php?item_id=8  The key is clear.  With so many marketing actions available, choose carefully and implement consistently for maximum effectiveness.

 

John Cannata    p# 214.545.5604

www.TxMortgageConsultant.com

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