Key to Success #5: Qualify
When sales people and sales trainers speak of “Qualifying” the customer, they are actually talking about asking questions; trying to find out exactly what the client is looking for in an effort to provide it for them. Call me silly but, when I think of qualifying the customer, I think of listening more than speaking; something I call “active listening.” I think of creating a situation in which I will allow the client to specify exactly what they want and, by listening, helping them to discover what that actually is.
Active listening is the key to qualifying your client
In my experience in the Canadian real estate market, a career that spans nearly 30 years of commercial and residential sales and leasing experience, I have learned that many, if not most, clients do not in fact have a clear understanding of just what they want from their new property. It is through the qualifying process that I help them to discover their own wants and needs, to outline them clearly for themselves and for me, and then help them find the property that will satisfy them. This can only be done through active listening.
To qualify something, according to the dictionary, is to characterize, or stipulate, or specify; to place conditions on that thing to make sure it will measure-up to one’s expectations. Because so many of our clients do not have a clear idea of what is possible, it is up to us, the professional realtor, to help them determine the specifications of the property they are looking for and this can only be done through active listening.
For me, active listening is a measured, purposeful response to the needs of the client. It is trying to understand what they are not saying just as clearly as I understand what they are saying. It is the application of my own knowledge and experience to what I am hearing from my client, which will enable me to ask the questions that will guide them, and me, toward discovering more clearly exactly what they need.
The qualifying process in sales is just that – a process. It is not a simple question/answer session to be gotten through as quickly as possible but instead, at least for the professional sales person, it is a journey of discovery that is led by the sales rep with a goal of discovery for all involved.
Here is to an ongoing and successful online relationship…
John Lusink, CCIM, Broker of Record & Managing Partner of Royal LePage York North Realty