We all talk about qualifying buyers and sellers. I hope, as the year folds into 2010, that you’ve made a goal of better qualifying methods for 2010. But, in addition, buyers actively qualify agents to figure out who to work with. (Or, if they just take any agent who comes along, they are disappointed because ‘the customer doesn’t know what he’s getting, until he doesn’t’.)

Why meeting buyer qualifying criteria is important: Buyers today have many choices of how to find homes. You need to create competitive reasons to help buyers choose you.  It will save you time and money (more about that in a later blog, too). And, if you’re a newer agent, creating solid reasons to help buyers choose you will increase your self-confidence 200%.

Five Critical Questions Buyer Should Ask Agent ‘Candidates’

Here are five critical questions I believe buyers should ask agents to assure they have a ‘match’ between what they are looking for and what the agent provides. In addition, I’ve added what I believe buyers should look for in the anwers (that means that we agents must be able to qualify on these terms):

1. “Is selling residential real estate your full-time career?”

My advice to buyers: Listen to be sure the agent specializes in residential real estate. You want someone selling homes for a living, not apartment houses. Listen to see if this is the agent’s full-time career. Ask additional questions if the agent’s answers need more clarifying.

2. “How many homes did you sell last year?”

My advice to buyers: You want someone successful; that means, at minimum, the agent sold homes to buyers at least six times in that year.

3. “How long have you specialized in residential real estate in this area?”

My advice to buyers: Be sure the agent has been working in the area where you want to purchase for at least six months, so you know the agent has expertise and interest in that area.

4. “Describe the work you do in our price range and area.”

My advice to buyers: Listen to be sure the agent zeros in on the area and price range you need. If the agent says, “I work anywhere with anybody”, that agent may not be for you, for he may be trying to cover too much ground to know very much about specific areas.

5. “Tell us how you will work with us.”

My advice to buyers: Listen as the agent describes the buying process, as he views it. Does it reflect what you’re looking for?

Agents: Think These Criteria are Too Tough?

Did some of those questions and my advice to buyers make you defensive and argumentative? That’s because we agents tend to look at things ‘inside out’ (from our perspective). Instead, pretend you are a discriminating buyer. You’re going to spend $60,000 on a car. What kind of customer service do you expect? Now, think in terms of the real estate buyer. What kind of service should a real estate buyer expect?

Newer Agents: Panicked Because You Think You Can’t Qualify?

Relax. You don’t need to qualify on all terms. But, you need to have answers and explanations ready so you can provide buyers reasons to work with you. Advice: Educate yourself so that you are as well-prepared to help a buyer as an agent who has sold 100+ homes in his/her career.

Resources to Help You Compete to Qualify for a Buyer

Objection Busters for Buyers’ and Sellers’ Objections–provides a unique method to ‘craft’ answers to objections and provides dozens of scripts and role plays

The Complete Buyer’s Agent Toolkit–all the presentations, checklists, and skills you’ll need to create loyalty with buyers and compete with mega-agents

Your Professional Portfolio–how to build the unique YOU to position yourself as a real estate professional/expert/consultant

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