One must understand that all buyers go through a process. The process is not the same for all however we can guide you through the most common states that you can expect to find that your buyers are in. We call this the buyer process and in it there are 5 states that they move through.
The period of time that a particular buyer will spend in each state is much dependent on the character and past experiences of the buyer (or family and friends). There is no way of knowing how long each will take other than your gut instinct based on how the buyer is reacting. We can tell you however that the longest states that buyers remain in are ‘fearful’ and ‘knowledgeable’. It is important that you know this as together with ‘The Excited’ most of your new leads will be found to be in these states.
Here is a synopsis of each of the states and some recommendations as to how to deal with them.
The contemplator is entertaining the notion of moving or purchasing his first property. Not quite sure yet, it’s a maybe. In this day and age the contemplator will go online and look at properties for sale to see if it makes sense. They may own a property that is not yet on the market, or is on the market at a high price and not attracting much viewings. Many contemplators will not contact agents at this time to avoid the hassle of someone chasing them. Others will send in an online request (email) or request a list of properties, possibly without a phone number. Some may pick up the phone and call you for the information and may accept to view a property or two with you. How they react is really dependent on their character and assertiveness. To you it is important that you understand that this is their current state and act accordingly. Our recommendation is that you supply the information that is possible and ensure that you contact them again after a short while to re-assess their state.
Once the buyer decides to go ahead with the quest to ‘find’ a property they get excited. We see these frequently and they are easy to identify as they begin to call everybody, willing to see anything with anybody. They are not ready to buy for now, far from it. They have not yet begun to understand what they would want to buy and probably even how they would pay for it. They likely do not know of the costs that are associated with the purchase of a property. We recommend that you offer one or two properties (in one viewing) to these buyers weekly. They will not be in this state for long but in the meantime you can build rapport and offer value so that once they get to a more serious state, you will be one of their agents of choice.
The Fearful and Knowledgeable
These two states should be considered together as it is knowledge that overcomes the fear and the transition in itself is a slower process. The more the buyer learns about costs, loans, MEPA and what his or her money can actually buy the less fearful s/he becomes. Remember that by default buyers are looking at property in their 'farm' they see properties only in areas that are of interest to them and in a price bracket that is affordable to them. This enables them to become very knowledgeable about their ‘farm’ and towards the end of these states are far more accurate in pricing a property in their area of interest then a generalist agent. They know what got sold, what has been on the market for a long time. Which agents are working the farm and more. If you are a generalist, they can surely teach you a lot about it. These are the two states that combined represent the longest stretch of most buyer's process.
At some point, buyers know more than enough to know what they are doing, what their money can buy them. These buyers have placed a few offers that were rejected, a couple that were accepted, a property two that they would have bought but were afraid to and now these properties have been sold. At this point if they find the property that they want with a good agent they will move forward quickly and secure it. Beware, buyers are not normally in this state for a long time and will not contact too many agents as they have a number with whom they are ready to work with. You need to be good to get an appointment with them as a new lead and if you have nurtured them and are one of their preferred agents you would do well to stick to them like glue, a sale is about to be made, make sure it's with you!
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