Choosing to purchase a home is not a single decision; it is a thousand decisions. What are the odds that people buying together are going to agree across the board? Technically, it’s about 0 percent (give or take).
Assume the buyers are a couple in a move-up situation who have been down this path at least once before. Also assume that their favorite pastime is watching “House Hunters” (which makes them real estate experts, right?). During your early interactions with them, you gain a sense of their wish list and quickly identify a home on the market that comes closest to what they want within their budget. Time to show the home!
During the home tour, the issues start to arise:
Husband: “This great room is awesome. We could put a sectional sofa in here that surrounds a big screen. I love it!”
Wife: “You know I don’t care for sectionals, and I was hoping for something with more intimate spaces.”
Husband: “But look at this kitchen. It looks out to the family room. It is so open!”
Wife: “There is no island in this kitchen. You know how important that is to me. And I don’t care for the granite color, but it would cost a fortune to replace it.”
Husband: “But surely you can appreciate that the kitchen leads out to the backyard. We can BBQ standing right next to the door and still see the TV!”
Wife: “I was hoping to have a seating area and a garden, but this is all concrete. Ugh.”
So…who wins? How do you determine which personality prevails?
You must discern which party feels more passionate about their vision of the home. Whoever has stronger feelings will tend to get their way. If we use that criteria in the scenario above, then the husband probably wins, right? He sees a powerful and positive vision for the home and how to enjoy it. Now this has nothing to do with gender, and in any given scenario, the wife (or other life partner) might drive the passion. Your job is to find and follow the passion.
This principle holds true for all sorts of decisions that partners make — for example, where to go for dinner. It might sound something like this:
“How do you feel about The Brickhouse Grill for lunch?”
“You know what, I’ll do that if you really want to, but I have been thinking all day about the Caribbean chicken salad at Maria’s. Can we puh-lease go to Maria’s?”
Who will get their way in that conversation? Follow the passion. This duo is going to Maria’s — you can count on it.
To be clear, there will be times when the passion is equal but on opposite sides of the love-hate meter. Unless the “hater” can be swayed, you probably won’t get a sale.
Your role as a counselor in this situation is to allow the passionate person to win without the less passionate person feeling like a loser. In the example above, it would appear that the husband’s passion is outpacing the wife’s. So how do you help her to feel good about the outcome? Here are four techniques to gently handle such situations:
1. Distinguish Between “Best” and “Perfect”
There is no such thing as a perfect home. Everyone compromises; it’s a certainty. Let your customers know that. Make it very clear that this is a normal part of the process. You might even refer them to the show “House Hunters” as an example.
“Perfect” is a very dangerous word. Counsel your clients to look for the best home in their price range.
Key Question: “If everything else in the home worked for you, is this something you would be willing to consider?”
2. Transfer Ownership of the Objection
Do you ever feel like you need to know all the right answers for all the tough objections? Oftentimes, you need to ask the questions and then have your client come up with the solutions. You want to transfer ownership of the issue or concern over to the client. You will be surprised how creative your clients can become!
Key Question: “Assume for a moment that you already live here. What would you do to make that work for both of you?”
3. Look for Small Compromises From Both Sides
Someone must give in. Someone must compromise. Your strategy is to get the compromiser to feel like they still got something out of the negotiation. You want them to say, “Okay, I didn’t love the floor plan, but I got him to give up…” Just make certain that everyone appreciates the concession!
Key Question: “I know you love the floor plan, but she hates the idea of a sectional. Can you give in on that one item here?”
4. Set the Less Passionate Buyer Up to Be the Hero
The less passionate buyer will lose the war, so let them win a battle. Help him or her to feel good about it. Set that person up as the hero of the story.
Key Question: “Jack, I know you said you would have preferred to have a two-story home with more space in the family room, but Sandy really loves this single-story with the more intimate space. Let me ask you: Is this something you can live with in order to make Sandy happy?”
Follow the passion, counsel the compromises, and get ready to change someone’s world!
Reprinted from realtormag.realtor.org, July 2015, with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright July 2015. All rights reserved. realtormag.realtor.org