How to motivate slow buyers, sellers and prospects to take the next step, in a good way

Are you working with a client or prospect who seems reluctant to take the next step? There are three potential reasons for this inaction and you may be surprised to learn that you have the power to overcome all of them.

“You cannot change the circumstances but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”
Jim Rohn

The greatest opportunity is the one you have in front of you. So let’s discover what you can do to turn “no deals in the immediate future” into an immediate deal.

Do any of these lines sound familiar?

“Oh, let me talk to my husband/wife.”

“Sorry, I’ve just been busy.”

“My house is messy and I don’t want you to see it until I’ve cleaned it.”

“I like it, but I need to see a few more homes before I decide.”

Here’s some tips to help you to guide your client to make the move to buy or list their home a bit faster, all while helping them get exactly what they really want.

Tip #1: Why “always be closing” is a terrible mistake

Think about the difference between a doctor and a salesperson (any salesperson). Who do you trust more?

Too often business professionals start off on the wrong foot and don’t even realize it. Taking care of ones health is a very important task and can often times be one of the more scary journeys a person can go through. Some people freeze and don’t take action when fear and uncertainty pops up. So a doctor does a good job of reassuring their patient and gives them a plan to take action, something a sales person can learn from.

People place trust in their Doctor. Why? It’s simple really. Doctors don’t sell, they qualify. And when they fail to do this what happens? Second opinion anybody?

Take this example. Imagine you visit a doctor that communicates like many salespeople. This doctor asks how your family is and if you’ve had a chance to play golf lately. You know, the regular chit-chat.  You respond normally, answer her questions and engage in casual conversation before even getting to what might be ailing you. Without asking about your health or doing any tests, she says, “Here’s a prescription for some pills that I want you to take daily. Have a good day.” With that, she walks out of the room. Now let me ask you this… would you take those pills? Hopefully not.

In this situation, the doctor went for the close and didn’t take the time to learn your needs. Maybe she only had one pill to prescribe, or maybe this Doctor is like Sherlock Homes and could diagnose a person’s needs simply by observing them. But, at the end of the day, you don’t know if you even need the pills, if they’ll help, or if they’d do you more harm. You don’t have enough information. This is how salespeople often approach sales. They rush for the close before they have qualified their prospect, understood their needs or provided a solution that fits their situation.

A much better approach to “always be closing” is to “always be qualifying”. When you qualify your prospect you will discover their budget, their needs (reason for buying/selling), their timeframe. It also means you’ve spoken with the decision maker(s).

Tip #2: Getting people off the fence

How to turn a horror story into a fairy tale.

What happens when you’ve qualified your clients, shown 20 homes that you know fit their needs, and still your client isn’t taking action? This takes us to tip #2 – getting your client off the fence. Have you framed the decision in their best interest?

I watched a family member go through this journey just a few years ago. They ended up working with two different real estate agents over the course of about 12 months. Now, I happen to be friends with both of the agents and I know they didn’t take the change of agent personally. Which shows both their experience in the industry and their character. But what it did do is it gave a bird’s eye view of what happens when the same client is approached by two completely different styles.

Here’s how it went.

The deal was both a sale and a buy. The first agent spent about 9 months showing numerous homes. Taking offers for their home, almost closing the deal multiple times, and with one thing after another, the deals fell through. Eventually, all parties agreed that time was their best friend and to spend a bit more of it to decide what they “really wanted”.

Fast forward to the new agent.

For about 1 month the new agent showed them numerous homes but quickly realized what was really holding them back. The ‘right’ fit didn’t exist. Instead, the clients needed to overcome their uncertainty. It wasn’t about finding their dream home. It was about getting them into a home.

So… he found them a really great home. It was priced fairly, beautifully situated, and most importantly was a safe decision for the couple. The agent made the decision even safer by having taken the time in the first month to learn every possible concern they may have, and adapt and adjust to their needs. He then painted a picture of how they could overcome these concerns with the new home.

“It is situated on parkland, so no one could build behind it.”

“It is in a mature neighbourhood, so the value would be very stable.”

“It was designed by an architect so any remodelling wouldn’t require moving walls.”

“It had the perfect layout for an in-law suite to easily add extra income if that was of interest.”

Within one month both homes were sold, papers signed and the deal was done. There was no reason for them not to take action. The point is, sometimes it’s better to take the time to understand and learn from your clients to discover their hidden needs. There may be underlying issues that are keeping them from selling, or they may have apprehensions you can help them overcome.

Tip #3: Fear of loss is a greater motivator than opportunity to gain

It’s a great line and it applies to real estate sales. But how does it work?

As a child, I saw a bicycle in a shop that I really wanted. I assumed everyone wanted that same bike. So I held onto it for an hour while my folks checked out other items. By the end of the hour, I noticed that no one else had touched any of the other bikes. It was a valuable lesson learned. It’s easy to perceive that if we like an item, everyone must like the same item, and if we don’t take action we may lose it.

All the “slow” prospects and window shoppers are buyers and sellers who haven’t acted … yet. But they will. Highlighting an item as a golden opportunity that is in demand can reframe their buying decision. Suddenly they are faced with the prospect that they will miss an opportunity (a real one) if they don’t take action.

Some people are trapped by the belief that their market is currently a “buyers market” so they can take their time when looking. One useful strategy you can deploy is this. Educate them on the difference between “good inventory” and “old inventory”. There may be lots of undesirable homes on the market, but the home they are specifically looking for is desirable and selling quickly. This could be because of the price point, neighbourhood or the bedroom and layout. It’s easy to prove with a quick analysis of the average time on the market of recently sold properties that match their criteria.

How to implement these techniques:

  • Ask your prospects questions to find out their worries
  • Listen, don’t object (very important because people can become defensive easily)
  • Show them how waiting will cost them money or opportunities (rising interest rates, rising prices, competitive bids, etc)
  • Have something to offer them that is of value to their concerns (Financial Risk Analysis, Real Estate Timing Analysis)


In the words of my friend Graham Morgan, sometimes it’s important to stop and ask yourself the difficult truths. Are you asking your clients the right questions? Do you have the solution for their problem – without checking to see if it meets their needs? Are you willing to rethink the approach you are taking with them? Are you showing them homes that may not fit their criteria? Do they have the budget?

Now, you may be able to stand tall and answer the above questions with a proud “✓” check mark.

That takes us to the second challenge. Have you addressed all their hidden concerns? As in the example above, sometimes people aren’t taking action simply because they need a guide to reassure them that it is a safe decision.

Finally, reframing a property you know has caught their eye as a desirable and in-demand property can be very motivating to buyers. This is a great reason why suggesting they be the “first to offer” because the home just hit the market works so well.

I’m hoping this article inspires you to tackle your unmotivated buyers and sellers as both an opportunity and a worthy challenge as well. With that having said, there’s just one more thing I want to ask… I’d be grateful if you’d share this article. It would be very appreciated.

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