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Want to qualify leads like a sales pro? Ask these 5 questions…

Today, we’re going to talk about how to better qualify leads – getting enough information to decide how likely the opportunity will convert into sales.

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People that succeed in sales do three things extremely well:

First, they have a methodical approach to building a sales pipeline.

Second, they are masters of qualifying leads.

Finally, they follow up relentlessly.

Today, we’re going to talk about qualifying leads: getting enough information to decide how likely the opportunity will convert into sales.

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Keys for the initial call

The key to qualifying a lead is to quickly find out if the prospect is a good fit for your company.  If so, then use the call to further dig in and invest your time to try to get them on board.

There are various questioning methods to help convert more sales. But for an initial sales call there are three tips that you must remember:

Don’t try to “sell”: Turn off your salesperson hat and stop vomiting information
Actively Listen: Actually pay attention and document the key points they’re telling you
Ask the right quesitions: Keep reading…

Knowing how to effectively ask relevant questions are absolutely critical to the qualification process.

So, below we’ve outlined some questions that can quickly help you find out if the lead is a viable sales opportunity.

5 questions to ask for qualifying leads

  1. Can you give me a quick summary?

Before you jump in and give them a “pitch”, get them to talk first and tell you why they got in touch with you:

“Can you give me a quick summary of what you’re looking for so I can see if we can help you?”
This gives them a chance to explain their needs, lets you profile them as a customer (what do they need? how big is the company? where are they located?) and get an idea of the total value they represent in terms of a sales opportunity.

Moreover, this question is important because it lets them know that you’re not a desperate salesperson and changes the psychology of the conversation from you selling to them to them selling to you. This is crucial and puts you in a stronger position.

Also, this initial summary should very quickly let you know if they are a good fit for you as a client and whether to pursue.

  1. Who are the decision makers?

A polite way to find out how much weight the person on the phone carries as a decision maker is by asking:

“Who would be the decision makers involved with this process?”

This gives you the bigger picture of the roles and responsibilities of the people involved (especially if you’re dealing with a large commercial tenant) and whether you need to consider the weigh-in from other people that might make or break this deal.

Find out who are the key influencers, detractors and the person that makes the final decision.

  1. What are the key features?

Once you have a better sense that this prospect is a good fit for you then you want to get them excited and ask more about what they’re looking for:

“What are some of the key features that are important for you?”

It’s important that you focus this part of the conversation on key features. The last thing you want is a laundry list of items and put yourself in a difficult position to deliver.

  1. Do you have a contract with anyone else?

Don’t ever forget to ask this question:

“Do you currently have a contract with any other company?”

If they do, find out the details and whether you can even work with them. Is it exclusive? Is it legal binding? When is the cancellation date?

Make sure you have your bases covered and your a** protected.

  1. Are there any obstacles?

Finally, sometimes it’s important to uncover any potential threats that can blow up your deal and it’s better to find out as early as possible.

Simply ask:

“Do you see any obstacles that could prevent this deal from happening?”

The answer to this question will also give you the crucial element you need to focus on to close the deal and whether the potential risk is worth your time to pursue this prospect.

Conclusion

As you continue builing your sales pipeline and scheduling your initial sales calls, remember that lead qualification is a crucial step to helping you win more deals. Don’t jump into automatic “selling” mode, rather try to actively listen and ask relevant questions to get the insights you need to find out if person you’re speaking with represents a viable sales opportunity.

What questions are you asking?

#QualifyingLeads

Bob Samii is the founder of SharpLaunch - a full-feature real estate marketing platform used by building owners, asset managers and brokers.

Real Estate Brokerage

Why real estate brokerages are NOT startups

(REAL ESTATE) Brokerages are popping up nationwide that are sleek and modern, and also misinformed as they call themselves startups. Let’s talk about the technical definition.

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Businesses that are just starting out often refer to themselves as startups (which is inappropriate given that startups are funded differently, scale differently, and have completely different KPIs). Take real estate brokerages, for example. An increasing number call themselves startups, but when you look at the definition of a startup, can you really call yourself one?

Small businesses and startups have very different definitions (and there’s no shame in being a small business or an “innovative brokerage”). Let’s discuss.

1. Startups have a different goal altogether.

Typically, startups are about growth. They’re designed from day one to scale extremely quickly. Small businesses are often limited by a target market or geographic location. There’s nothing wrong with that, but they aren’t scalable the same way an international software brand is. Think about scaling in terms of a beauty salon versus MatchCo, an app that uses technology to create a foundation just for you. A franchise does not a startup make.

2. Startups generally seek outside funding to accelerate growth.

Startup founders often give up equity shares to generate funds before becoming profitable. Small businesses are typically self-funded, bootstrapped into profitability, and owned by one or a select few. A small business venture is typically less risky than a startup, too. The idea behind a small business venture is profit, and you want the business to last. Startups are structured to be sold or acquired once it hits critical mass – a “startup” is temporary.

3. Startups disrupt the industry.

Think about these companies – AirBnB, Google, Dropbox, Facebook, even Apple, a long time ago. In their early days, they were startups. It was risky to invest in these companies as they were trying something new (not iterating on something like the real estate practice which is one of the oldest professions in America), but they have outshone their competitors. They disrupted the marketplace. That’s what a startup does. And it doesn’t always work. Sonitus Medical attempted to disrupt the hearing aid market. They raised almost $90 million in funding before the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services decided the product wouldn’t be covered. The company held an auction and closed its doors. Brokerages have experimented with paying salaries, going paperless, or having all agents working remotely – these are all fabulous innovations and iterations, not disruptions.

The takeaway

We’ve been on the forefront for over a decade of ushering in the era of indie brokerages, paperless real estate brands, and counter-culture companies, but brokerages are simply not startups, and this is not up for debate. Iteration is not innovation.

Don’t call yourself something you’re not – be an “innovative broker” and rock it, because you’re not a temporary company seeking to scale so rapidly that you’re acquired for your indisputable disruption.

And finally, don’t fall for real estate brokerages pitching themselves as “startups” when they’re misinformed and really mean they’re simply, and beautifully “modern.”

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Real Estate Brokerage

Google’s secret formula for the perfect team (that you should emulate)

(BROKERAGE NEWS) Google is famous for building high quality teams that change how technology works, so let’s talk about what they do well so you can emulate them.

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Google is infamous for having highly functional work teams, and for being a great company to work for. What accounts for the success of Google’s teams?

It’s relatively easy to discern the effectiveness of an individual employee. It’s a bit more challenging to figure out how to study what makes a group thrive or fail – but Google has done it.

A few years back, they released the results of an internal two-year study of their own teams.

Google conducted 200 interviews, and analyzed 180 of its teams using a list of 250 attributes in order to see what characteristics are most important in making teams successful.

The results show that the attributes of individuals on the team are less important than how they work together. The single most important factor in determining a group’s success turned out to be something called “psychological safety.”

In teams with a high degree of psychological safety, members are unafraid to take risks, and are unembarrassed to ask questions and make mistakes.

In other words, people can be vulnerable with one another without fearing negative reactions.

Said Google, “Individuals on teams with higher psychological safety are less likely to leave Google, they’re more likely to harness the power of diverse ideas from their teammates, they bring in more revenue, and they’re rated as effective twice as often by executives.”

Other factors that made a big difference were dependability (team members can rely on one another), structure and clarity (the goals, roles, and plans of the group are clear), meaning (the goals are important to the individuals on the team), and impact (the team members believe that what they are doing is important).

Factors like how much the team members have in common and their experience and education levels were much less important than one might think.

In a nutshell, great teams aren’t as much about great people as they are about great teamwork.

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Real Estate Brokerage

The best ways to handle stressful clients

(BROKERAGE NEWS) Moving can make even your calmest clients nightmare wackadoos. Here’s how to manage them.

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Three researchers have published an interesting study on how customer service can be improved by recognizing a customer’s stress level before a connection with your business is made.

For example, a customer can often be anxious over using a particular service, i.e., a funeral home or a lawyer in connection with a divorce. By learning more about how your clients feel when they call your business, you can better manage the customer experience. This offers your business a more effective customer base of referrals and repeat business.

The researchers identified the following steps to manage stressed-out customers:

1. Find out how your customers are feeling when they need your service.

One reason so many breast cancer facilities are free-standing, away from the main hospital complex, is because women voiced their ideas to the healthcare team designing the facilities. Women wanted coordinated care under one roof, but felt like the hospital was not a calming environment. Use your empathy to walk in your customer’s shoes to change the experience.

2. Hire not only for skill, but attitude and personality.

Employees who love their job can’t be trained. The passion and enthusiasm, even for a high-stress career like a cancer nurse or funeral director, cannot be taught. Look to bring on team members who have empathy for your customers and understand that business is all about customer service. It’s far easier to teach someone the skills needed for a job than it is to teach them to be motivated to work.

3. Study your approach to the customer’s journey.

How does your business interact with the client? From the first link online or phone call, to the payment options, what is the customer’s experience? Address the high-stress interactions by providing information about your services. For example, when calling to view a listing, what can your customer expect?

4. Give the customer more control over the service.

Dealing with a mechanic who tells you that your engine is shot is highly stressful. Instead, learn to be more specific and talk to the customer in a language that can be understood by someone without technical knowledge. Make sure your customer has one point-of-contact throughout their experience. Have a plan B in place for when that individual is sick or goes on vacation. Empower your customers through today’s technology, maybe an app that tracks the sale. There’s no excuse today for poor customer service and information.

I would highly recommend that every real estate professional read the research from Harvard Business Review. Leonard L. Berry, Scott W. Davis, and Jody Wilmet packed so much information into their report that there’s no way I could cover it all here.

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