When working with a buyer prospect, they must posses what I call the three C's of a buyer:
A Champion Agent expects commitment from the client. Most trainers will tell Agents to ask buyers, "Are you working with another Agent?" That really isn’t the right question or wording. The word working has too broad a definition. Working could mean they met an Agent at an open house; they are receiving property matches from them; there is an Agent who farms their neighborhood. The word working doesn’t mean they will buy and sell with that Agent.
The proper question is, "Are you committed to another Agent?" The prospects will either know exactly what you mean, or they will ask you for your definition of committed. Either way, you gain clarity and avoid wasting your time with a prospect that could be disloyal in the end. A clear recipe for disaster is investing your resources in a prospect that has a low or limited return. Not only are the odds long for a commission with this type of prospect, but also you will often beat yourself up later over not recognizing a poor prospect sooner because you didn’t convert them. This can affect your attitude, which will lower your confidence and production. Gaining commitment at a high level from a prospect is the only way a Champion Agent invests their time.
A Champion Agent only works with clients who are willing to compromise. If a prospect has the objective of achieving an "I win; you lose" type of transaction, your job will be far more difficult as their Agent. If they are unwilling to compromise in what they want in a home, you both will be looking a long time for the "perfect" home.
A Champion Agent counsels their clients that there are no perfect homes; that most people end up with about 80% of what is on their wish list in terms of amenities; that he or she is working to find the best possible home, based on their needs, wants, and desires, given the current market conditions and market competition.
A Champion Agent makes sure the prospect is willing to be competitive. Many buyers are hoping to be the exception rather than the rule. They want to be the one buyer to buy that home at 80% of the asking price, when the market average is 95%. They are unwilling to offer full price to anyone, even when there is a lack of inventory of homes, a large volume of buyers wanting homes, or market conditions dictate otherwise. A prospect or client who is unwilling to be competitive or take competitive action when the circumstances dictate will increase your time invested, increase frustration, lower client satisfaction, and lower the probability of your compensation.
Establishing early in the prospect cycle whether the prospect has the three C's enables you to make better decisions regarding with whom you invest your resources. It also allows you to avoid the traps of the typical Agent’s service approach that borders on desperation.