I'm Oliver Laughton
I have over a decade's success in consultative sales and business development
and it's my pleasure to share these basic yet effective, free tips
They have helped me understand and leverage ethical selling
in today’s ever changing times. Perhaps they'll help you too.

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Some tips to better determine a residential property applicant's true requirements

Residential sales negotiators are familiar with the situation where after being shown a number of properties based on their requirements an applicant puts an offer in on something completely different.


What happened? Perhaps the negotiator asked the wrong questions? Perhaps the applicant's true requirements were not clearly understood.

Get the basics, then ask more creative questions
Many sales negotiators seem to ask just the standard questions:
  • How many bedrooms and baths do you need?
  • What's the minimum square footage you require?
  • Is a garage or off-street parking necessary?
  • Are you ready to buy?
  • etc

You will note that many questions can be answered with a "yes" or "no,". While this makes the responses nice and easy to be subsequently entered into our applicant databases, they don't provide much information about the applicant's real desires.
Open-ended questions
When open-ended questions are asked, a better insight can be gained into what the client is really looking for.
What is an open-ended question?
It's one where the person you are talking with is encouraged to give a more detailed response, where a person needs to explain in detail to answer.
For example, instead of asking what type or size kitchen an applicant is looking for, ask how they use their kitchen area.
Do they entertain a lot, and if they do, is it with large groups that would benefit from open spaces or small dinner parties that would be more comfortable in a formal dining room?​
Sounds simple doesn't it? But it can reveal otherwise hidden requirements.
Applicants who love to cook would probably be more impressed with a bigger kitchen, than others who tend to eat out a lot or happy with a quick takeaway. The latter may prefer their investment spent on amenities in other parts of the house.
You'll find that each answer to an open-ended question leads to the opportunity for more questions and often useful insights.
Gain an overall insight
Before long, you'll have a better overall picture of what the applicant's true needs are, and that gives you the edge when identifying properties. Even though you might not hit the perfect property the first time, showing applicant things they like right from the start is a great way to keep them from drifting to other agents.
Expand and confirm
After receiving a response from an applicant, it's a good idea to confirm your (expanded) understanding.
You might say something like this, "I understand you want a large dining room because you need a big space to entertain."
Receive confirmation that you're on the right track.
Ask more open questions
Try putting trade-offs into the applicant's qualifying factors to see if the answers change.
For example, you could ask: "How would you feel if you didn't have a formal dining room but instead found a home with a large family room?"
Remember - open-ended questions can give you an edge over the competition


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