3 Real Estate Sales Questions You Should Start Asking Right Now

Perhaps no one put it as well as John Martinez on one of our latest CarrotCasts:


“The best sales people only talk 10% of the time. And when they do open their mouth, it’s with a question.”

 

John Martinez, Owner of Midwest Revenue Group


Great salespeople ask great questions.

Whether you’re helping someone buy their first house, sell their home, or invest in one of your properties, questions should guide your actions.

In fact, according to one analysis of over 500,000 sales calls, there’s a direct relationship between the number of questions a sales rep asks and their chance of success. Similarly, email campaigns that contain one to three questions are 50% more likely to receive a reply than their question-less counterparts.

Of course, not all questions are equal. When it comes to sales, some questions are better than others.

So, riffing off our CarrotCast episode with John Martinez — who’s been in sales for 15 years — here are the three most important questions you need to ask your prospects.

3 Real Estate Sales Questions You Should Start Asking Right Now

1. Problem Question

First, find out why the prospect might want to work with you.

Why are they taking the time to meet? What problem in their life do they want to be solved? How do they expect that you’re going to be able to solve that problem?

After all, if someone takes the time to meet with you, then they’re interested in working with you — for one reason or another. Your job is to find out what that reason is.

Here are a few questions you could ask that would help determine why someone is meeting with you and what they’re expecting to get from it:

  • What were you hoping I could do for ya?
  • What made you reach out to me?
  • How can I help you?

These questions are dead simple but vitally important. Because when you know why someone is reaching out to you, you can empathize with them, gauge whether you can help or not, and follow up with even more powerful questions.

Of course, this question doesn’t need to be the first words out of your mouth when you meet with a prospect. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Here’s what the question might look like within a conversation.

Salesperson: Hello, [name]! It’s nice to meet you. 

Prospect: Yeah. Thanks. And likewise. Appreciate you giving me a callback.

Salesperson: Of course! It’s my pleasure. So what were you hoping I could do for ya today?

Prospect: Well, I’m looking to sell a house that I inherited. It’s old, needs some repairs, and I don’t really have the time to fix it up. Although, I feel kind of bad getting rid of it so quickly. It was my parent’s home and my dad did a lot of work on it over his lifetime. Hard to part with something like that out of the blue, ya know? Still, I saw online that you buy homes for cash and I was just wondering if you’d be able to make me an offer on it. 

2. Impact Question

Knowing the prospect’s problem — whether it be a distressed home, bankruptcy, or something less pressing, like wanting to move out of their current rental and into a new home — you should also now know whether the person is a good fit for your services.

If they are, then the next question you ask should help the prospect realize the full impact of their problem. You don’t just want them to think of bankruptcy, for instance, you want them to remember what could happen if they actually go bankrupt (they could lose their home, status, and even family).

Although, how you do this is just as important as doing it. You don’t want to say something like, “Man. I bet your family will leave you if that happens,” or, “Think about how the neighborhood will view you after that.”

That’s the wrong way of approaching the Impact Question. Here are a few inquiries you could make that are far more appropriate and will have a greater effect.

  • How is that impacting you and your family?
  • How is that impacting the rest of your life?
  • How is that impacting your health and wellbeing?

The point here is to help the prospect feel the full pain of their situation while also empathizing with their pain. You don’t want to play the cold outsider asking hard questions. Rather, you want to play the kind friend struggling to imagine how difficult the prospect’s situation must be.

Here’s what this might look like in an actual conversation.

Salesperson: Hello, [name]! It’s nice to meet you. 

Prospect: Yeah. Thanks. And likewise. Appreciate you giving me a callback.

Salesperson: Of course! It’s my pleasure. So what were you hoping I could do for ya today?

Prospect: Well, I’m looking to sell a house that I inherited. It’s old, needs some repairs, and I don’t really have the time to fix it up. Nor do I have the money to finish paying it off. Although, I feel kind of bad getting rid of it so quickly. It was my parent’s home and my dad did a lot of work on it over his lifetime. Hard to part with something like that flippantly, ya know? Still, I saw online that you buy homes for cash and I was just wondering if you’d be able to make me an offer on it. 

Salesperson: I’d be more than happy to take a look for you and see if there’s any way that I can help. I imagine that your situation is a difficult one. I remember when my parent’s house passed to me – getting rid of it was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. It sounds silly, but I guess we all have a tendency to cling to those memories. 

Prospect: Yeah – that’s exactly how I feel. 

Salesperson: But let me ask you a follow-up question. How is holding onto the house affecting the rest of your life? I can’t imagine that it’s making your health and well-being better.

Prospect: Well, no… It’s definitely not. To tell you the truth, I nearly had a panic attack last week just thinking about selling the house.

3. Picture-perfect Question

You know the prospect’s problem and you’ve helped them visualize the true impact of that problem. Now, you need to help them imagine what life would be like without that problem. Because until they understand and live — even just for a moment — in a world where that problem doesn’t exist, the chances of them working with you remain quite small.

Think about it. You don’t buy a new piece of clothing until you imagine how people might look at you when you wear it. And you don’t buy a new computer until you’ve imagined how much easier your job will be once you have it.

A person’s imagination is powerful and what we think often becomes reality. This is why billionaires and Olympians visualize success every day. When they think about it enough, they subconsciously usher it into real life.

The same is true for your prospects: get them thinking about what life would be like if you took away their problem and, more than likely, they’ll work with you.

Here are some questions you can ask that help your prospects imagine their problem-less lives.

  • What would happen if that problem didn’t exist?
  • How might living without that problem affect the rest of your life?
  • If you didn’t have to worry about that problem, how would your life be different?

And here’s what this might look like in a conversation.

Salesperson: Hello, [name]! It’s nice to meet you. 

Prospect: Yeah. Thanks. And likewise. Appreciate you giving me a callback.

Salesperson: Of course! It’s my pleasure. So what were you hoping I could do for ya today?

Prospect: Well, I’m looking to sell a house that I inherited. It’s old, needs some repairs, and I don’t really have the time to fix it up. Nor do I have the money to finish paying it off. Although, I feel kind of bad getting rid of it so quickly. It was my parent’s home and my dad did a lot of work on it over his lifetime. Hard to part with something like that flippantly, ya know? Still, I saw online that you buy homes for cash and I was just wondering if you’d be able to make me an offer on it. 

Salesperson: I’d be more than happy to take a look for you and see if there’s any way that I can help you. I imagine that your situation is a difficult one. I remember when my parent’s house passed to me – getting rid of it was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. It sounds silly, but I guess we all have a tendency to cling to those memories. 

Prospect: Exactly. 

Salesperson: But let me ask you a follow-up question. How is holding onto the house affecting the rest of your life? I can’t imagine that it’s making your health and well-being better.

Prospect: Well, no… It’s definitely not. To tell you the truth, I nearly had a panic attack last week just thinking about selling the house. 

Salesperson: Wow. It sounds like this house is having some pretty negative effects on your health. And, if you’re anything like I was when trying to make this decision, your health is only the beginning of it. 

Prospect: Yeah… it is. 

Salesperson: Well, let me ask you this. What would your life be like if this whole house problem just disappeared? How might that change things for you?

Prospect: I mean, it kind of depends. But I imagine it would be a whole lot easier. I wouldn’t have to worry about fixing the house up. I wouldn’t have to worry about paying the bank what I owe them for the house. And if the house went to someone I trusted, I wouldn’t have to worry about a troubled conscience. Wouldn’t that be nice? But geez, I imagine the very stars might have to align for all of this to just go away. 

Salesperson: I totally understand that feeling of helplessness. But ya know what? I think I might just be able to lend a hand. Let’s schedule a time to meet, yeah? 

Prospect: That’d be great!

Conclusion

Lots of salespeople ask the Problem Question. Less ask the Impact Question. And fewer still ask the Picture-perfect question.

The best salespeople, though, ask these three questions intentionally and in the correct order.

If you do, as you can see from the example above, the prospect should be in a place where they understand the true depth of their problem, they know what it would be like to get rid of that problem, and — most importantly — they believe that you are the one who can solve that problem for them. All with a few well-placed questions.

The truth is, the best salespeople aren’t great talkers. They’re great empathizers, they’re great listeners, and more than anything else, they’re great question askers.

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