In a strong market it’s possible to sell almost anything. Great properties are snapped up quickly in bidding wars. Less than perfect properties can move fairly easily when there’s high demand too. When the market is strong you’re closing deals nearly every day, and life is great! But when there’s a shift, all of this can change in an instant. Suddenly buyers are hesitant to spend money. Those great properties start to linger, taking longer and longer to sell. And the properties with obvious flaws aren’t going anywhere at all. The days of the easy sale and smooth closing feel like history. It seems like no matter what you do, you can’t push things forward.
When you’ve hit a sales plateau you have to shake things up, you have to take a different approach. When my team is working through a lull in the marketplace, we use the four following tactics to break through that plateau and get buyers moving:
Tactic One: The in-person meeting
We are living in the age of the smart phone – texts and emails are the norm, a phone call is less common, and actually meeting someone in person seems radical. Do not underestimate the power of a face to face meeting. If I start to get a sense that a deal is stalling, I’ll schedule an in-person meeting. People can brush off a text, ignore an email – but it’s impossible to ignore someone who is sitting right in front of you. Meeting in person presents the opportunity to get to the bottom of any issues and get a clear update on what a client wants and what their expectations are. And finally, an in-person meeting shows you care and reminds clients just how hard you’re working for them.
Tactic Two: The element of surprise
It can be frustrating working in a buyer’s market – clients feel free to take their time with decisions, it feels like there are countless properties available. There’s no urgency to move forward whatsoever. Sometimes a buyer needs a little extra boost to see how perfect a property actually is for them. For example, I had a sale pending on a woman’s apartment, but it was all contingent on her finding one that she wanted to buy. The problem? Nothing was right for her and we were in danger of losing the buyer on her place. When I found the perfect apartment for her, I decided I was going to do something creative to show her this was the apartment. I knew this woman loved crafting. Before I took her to see the apartment, I transformed one of the bedrooms into a crafting room. Surprise! The look on her face when she saw her new crafting room told me everything I needed to know – she was going to take the apartment. In a down market where there are endless choices for clients, sometimes you need to go an extra mile to get them to see that a property is perfect for them.
Tactic Three: Don’t tick off boxes
It’s easy to think that selling an apartment is about checking off a series of boxes based on a client’s wants. Three bedrooms, open kitchen, big yard, lots of light – check, check and another check. It’s not always that simple. After months of looking at apartments, I was very excited to show a client a place that “checked every box” on her long list of requirements. My heart sank when we walked in and she said, “I just don’t feel it.” Selling real estate is never as simple as checking off boxes, but in a challenging market this is especially true. Engage clients in conversation about what they really want. Listen to what they’re saying and find a property that will tug on their emotions making it impossible to pass it up.
Tactic Four: The wow moment
Sometimes you have to show a client what they can’t afford to get them more excited about what is in their price range. The first time I went to buy expensive shoes, it turned out my budget didn’t stretch as far as I thought it would. The salesperson showed me what I could afford, which was a pair of shoes that had an “old 80’s” vibe. Then he brought out the WOW shoe. The wow shoe put all other shoes to shame. I tried them on, blown away by how comfortable and attractive they were. When I heard the price, I nearly had a heart attack, but then I realized two things; 1) My budget was too small and I had to find a way to stretch it. 2) I simply could not afford what I really wanted (that wow shoe) and I’d have to adjust my expectations accordingly.
In the end, I walked out with a pair of shoes that fell somewhere in the middle – I spent more than I wanted, but also understood that those other shoes weren’t in the cards for me quite yet. We all know it’s not easy to tell a client, listen – your budget is tight, that’s why you’re not seeing something you’re really crazy about. The wow moment is the perfect tool to use in these situations. It shows them how much what they want actually costs while also showing what they can get if they stretch their budget just a little bit.
All of us face challenging markets – but it’s when you’re down that you have a true opportunity to show how good you really are. View this as an opportunity to stretch and grow – try new things. Experiment with your sales practice. How else can you use your sales muscles to close deals? If you can make it work in a down market, imagine what you’ll be able to achieve when it gets better again.