What Is Real Estate Sales Discovery and Why Is It Important?
When you think about phone sales and talking to leads, what are you mostly imagining? For most real estate ISAs and agents, they mostly think of one thing when it comes to making the sale: closing. If you do a Google search about selling over the phone, you’re probably going to see endless articles, training, tips, etc. all related to closing.
When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense—closing sales is sexy and what actually moves the deal across the finish line. But the question is, how do you even get to the point on the call where you can successfully close? Even more important, how to know exactly how and when to shoot for the close? The simple answer is: sales discovery.
What Is Real Estate Sales Discovery?
Closing the deal with real estate clients is only possible once you have discovered key information about them and their situation. You have to understand how you can help them achieve their goal, which means you first have to understand what their goal is. And no, that goal is not just “to buy or sell my house.” To be successful on your calls, you have to dig deeper than that and find out what their motivation for buying or selling is—what they are trying to accomplish through buying or selling their home.
In addition to learning the wants, needs, and desires of a potential client, real estate sales discovery helps you determine all the factors you should know about before deciding whether to work with a particular person or not. Among other things, discovery allows you to learn the following:
- The prospect’s financial situation
- Their budget for buying a home
- Who is involved in the decision to move forward working with you
- What the prospect’s ideal timeframe is
- Potential objections the prospect might throw at you later in the conversation
The Importance of Real Estate Discovery
The answers you receive during discovery both present you the full picture of the lead’s home buying or selling situation, as well as give you the ammunition you need to close the deal.
Essentially, discovery questions are asked when you want to get to know a customer. Although it works in any type of sale, it’s most necessary in personal sales with a high price tag, like real estate or even insurance. You ask them these types of questions because you want to learn their wants and needs, so you can pitch your product as a solution.
But what are the best real estate discovery questions to ask? Here are some common examples.
Common Discovery Questions
There are endless amounts and variations of real estate discovery questions that you can ask prospects, but here are some key ones that will help you learn what you need to know about the lead.
- Where are you guys moving from? Great! Are you from there originally?
- Who are you moving with?
- Why are you guys looking to move out of your current home?
- How long have you been looking for a new home? What have you liked about the homes you’ve seen? What kept you from buying that particular home?
- Is this your first time buying a home?
- How long has your current home been on the market?
- Where are you planning on moving to?
- When would you like to be in your new home?
Sell, Don’t Tell
Key to successful real estate sales discovery is knowing how to let the prospect do most of the talking. You have to sell, not tell. And the two are rarely the same. It’s natural for a salesperson or real estate ISA to get on the phone and immediately want to start explaining who they are, talk about their team’s track record, and start trying to close too early by telling the prospect how their team’s strategy and process work great every time and will work perfect for them too.
The problem with blurting all this information out and essentially talking at the prospect instead of to them is that you have no idea what their particular situation is like. You explained your company’s process, but if you don’t have an understanding of the prospect’s process and an idea of what goal they are trying to accomplish, then you’re in trouble. You have to have an idea of how or if you can actually benefit them if they choose to work with you.
In other words, unless you have an understanding of what they are trying to accomplish and how, you can’t begin to convince the prospect that your team will work for them because you can’t even know that yourself. This is where discovery plays a big role.
Take Full Advantage of Discovery by Asking Good Questions
The key to discovery is asking good questions. What great salespeople do is use good, relevant questions to lead prospects to their own conclusions. Furthermore, great salespeople know that what they are hearing from prospects on the phone isn’t all there is to the story. They know that there are layers to every conversation they have with a prospect and that the outer layer is just a small fraction of what the prospect’s overall situation looks like.
As a real estate ISA, during discovery you have to read between the lines and be able to hear what’s being said “behind” what’s being said. That’s the only way to get enough information to decide whether this lead is worth working with, and the only way to be able to sufficiently convey the value you can create for them. This means listening very carefully to what the prospect is saying and then asking lots of good follow up questions. The better the questions and the deeper you go, the better the quality of the appointment you are able to set.
As an ISA, just as important as asking great questions is having real and natural conversations. It’s okay to have a script in front of you or a list of questions you know you want to hit, but it’s not okay to just blindly read off of the script or just go down the list of questions checking them off as you go. This is how you sound salesy and distant and not how you are going to understand what the lead is after in order to give yourself the ammunition to close.
Putting Discovery in Perspective
As a real estate agent or inside sales agent, your job is to try to produce the best possible outcome for your client. To do this, you first have to get to the heart of what their desired outcome is. Once you understand that, you then have to determine yourself if you think it would make sense for them to continue on their current path or if you can offer them a better one, given their desired outcome.
You have to understand the lead to the best of your ability, and the only way to accomplish that is through effective sales discovery.