The Real Estate Encyclopedia
How Do I Get Past the I am Just Looking Stage?
Category - Professional Development - Become a Real Estate Agent

The words “I’m Just Looking” are intimidating to any sales person but especially to the real estate agent. The “I’m just looking” stage of a client can cost the agent a lot of money in gas, time and general related expenses. In today’s market and considering today’s cost of gas, you need to proceed with caution, if a prospect is at that stage. It does not mean you should not work with the client or pass up the opportunity. You must learn to distinguish and manage those clients who might be real prospects or those who might ultimately just waste your time. Once you assess what stage your prospect is at, you may want to establish a system to prioritize clients by readiness.  Stay in touch with those still in the "just looking" stage but don't waste much time or money on them. 

Remember, time is money. Having said that, you need to keep in mind that when a prospect says, “I’m just looking,” they mean “for now.” The prospect may not be ready yet or have made up their mind about what exactly they are looking for.

An excellent approach with this type of prospect is to, diplomatically, ask questions, which might help you identify where the problem lies. Is it a financial issue, a timing issue or a relationship issue? Identifying the hold back will allow you to help define the “solution,” which should be your goal in the first place. For example, if it is a financial issue and the prospect has poor credit, you can provide information on how to repair his or her credit (see this website for more information on this subject), which ultimately will help you make the sale. In this case, you want to help the prospect contact several trusted mortgage brokers, who would stay in touch with you and advise you when the prospect is qualified to purchase a home.

In today’s world, prospects have the advantage of looking for homes by browsing the Internet. This greatly facilitates their ability to identify homes and areas they prefer. A perceptive agent always tries to stay ahead and guide the prospect in their quest. Having an excellent website will go a long way in assisting the prospect to surf the Internet without becoming a financial burden for you. Because “looking” is inherent to making a decision, prospects must be allowed the time to satisfy this need.

Ideally, you should sign a buyer brokerage agreement with the prospect and educate him or her as to the benefit of working with you as their agent. Once you have the agreement, you can send your client all kinds of information by using the Internet, including MLS listings. The brokerage agreement protects you from losing the prospect to another agent.

At times, people will say, “I’m just looking,” to avoid looking ignorant if they cannot ask the right questions regarding what they are looking for. This might happen with first time homebuyers, who are completely ignorant about the real estate process. In this case, asking the right questions to identify their “issue,” will ultimately position you as their expert guide.

Asking a prospective client the right question is very important. You want to avoid inviting a negative response by asking, “How may I be of assistance,” rather than “How can I help.” Providing assistance appears less aggressive and allows the prospect to express his/her needs.

When meeting a new prospect, you may also want to point out that you have access to information on most homes on the market through your membership in the MLS and that you have a key, which allows you access to show any of them. In other words, you “hold the key,” to them viewing any homes they are interested in. You want to introduce this aspect within the first few minutes of your conversation after you have shared that you are a Realtor. When working with prospects, you always want to make sure you are accessible and remain in touch, without becoming a pest. Provide them with information about your business and give them your card. Make sure you know how to stay in touch with them and then call or send an email frequently enough to be effective but not often enough to antagonize them.

Always remember that clients need the time to look at and compare homes. They need plenty of information on areas, subdivisions, schools and anything, which affects their life once they live in a particular home. Be part of the solution and facilitate the sale by anticipating their information needs and providing answers quickly and efficiently.

 
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Professional Development - Become a Real Estate Agent
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