We wonder how much time you’ve wasted in your sales career because you didn’t take adequate time to pre-qualify a prospect. Perhaps, in your excitement to move the ball forward on your first call, you failed to ask a few basic questions, the answers to which might have prevented you from going down a terribly inefficient rabbit hole.

An important (critical?) part of your job as a real estate agent is to ask the kinds of question that will help you determine a prospects motivation. And, in truth, this process of asking the right questions is as much about serving the client’s needs, more so than your own.

While there are myriad benefits to a thorough pre-qualification process, three of the most important are:

  • You can determine the prospect’s motivation: what’s driving their reason for talking to you, or especially agreeing to spend the time in a meeting. Where are they planning to move? And when would they like to make this move? By exploring these questions, you can craft a listing presentation that puts their needs first-how your strategy for selling with benefit them. Remind them of how important their move is, perhaps to instill a sense of urgency.
  • You get a better picture of their financial situation: By asking strong pre-qualifying questions, you can get a feel for their financial motivations, and realities. Can they afford to move? Will they need to bring more money to close-which, of course, relates to the amount of equity they may have in their current property? Is there an urgency to “sell now and if so, what’s behind it? In fact, your pre-qualification process may reveal that this is not the optimal time for them to sell. If you are transparent, you’ll build trust as someone concerned about their dreams and aspirations, as opposed to an agent in search of their next commission check.
  • You’ll better understand their pricing motivation: Effective pre-qualification helps you to assess what the seller wants to get out of the sale. If they don’t seem terribly motivated, yet are adamant about listing well above the market value, you might want to re-consider the value of the listing. While it may sound great to have an additional property on your inventory list, you could ultimately waste a lot of time and money servicing an overpriced listing that is not likely to sell.

Again, selling is about knowing how to ask good, open-ended questions, and listening carefully to the responses. Effective pre-qualification can save you a tremendous amount of time and energy. But more importantly, you’ll be better serving your clients’ needs by getting a complete picture of their dreams and motivations.