The One That Got Away…Improving your Closing Ratio

August 25, 2012 by Shirleen Von Hoffmann Leave a reply »
By Shirleen Von Hoffmann President and Sales Coach for Home Builders Edge and Sales Team Coaches Copyright 2012


I continually get requests from Managers to train teams on improving closing and closing ratios.  It’s the most requested training I get.

My personal belief is that if all of the steps of a sale are performed, then closing is a natural progression and becomes easy.  However missed steps make closing a daunting, uncomfortable experience for both parties, when it comes time to ask for the sale.

But today I want to talk about closing ratios, not closing.  How many sales are you getting out of the number of prospects walking in the door?  How many are you let walk away?

I was at a community recently and the Agent was in the office working with buyers picking colors and I counted 6 visitors who came and went, including myself, who grabbed a price list off of the table and proceeded through the models alone.  Agent never even looked up or greeted us.  The door to the office was closed. After we were done, the Agent still busy, now on the phone with the same clients sitting there, was not able to talk to any of us as we all walked out.  Oh and no cards were taken on any of us…

There are a lot of reasons why prospects walk away…but here is a common one.

Agent too busy to answer questions, engage and build rapport.

So let’s just take this one issue and see how we can work with it to increase your closing ratio.  I want every prospect to be treated with kit gloves no matter WHO you have in front of you.  Because if your closing ratio is 1 out of 10 and you can increase it to 3 out of 10, it makes a huge difference in the Builder’s and your pocket book.

As this market increases, which it is doing right now, you have to figure out how to maximize your juggling skills.  You must be able to work with multiple prospects at once or they will walk away and you will miss sales.  Remember 1 extra sale a week is 52 extra sales a year!  That’s all I want you to think about for now.  Your Goals should be this…Never let one prospect walk away without fully knowing everything about them.

Ten things you can do to improve your closing ratio

Interruptions – When you sit down with prospects, explain to them you may be interrupted by new visitors and may need to excuse yourself.

Signing Appointments – Never make signing appointments during opening hours.  Always sign before or after operating hours so you are not interrupted.

Questions – Plan your questions in advance and ask definite questions to maximize you time with prospects.  Don’t waste time asking questions that don’t matter.  I like my Agents to ask the same five questions upfront.  That way they get information they need to take the prospect directly to the home they are looking for, maximizing time and efficiency.  That doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly and build rapport, it means you are being efficient with your time.

Follow Up – Write down everything you find out about the prospects so you can follow up efficiently.  If you are too busy to spend a ton of time with a prospect, once you find a reason to follow up with them, you can invite them back to go over their issues and take a second peek.

Personal Appointments – Start making appointments with people who call in over the phone.  Put it on your website and have a sign in your office, that you make personal viewing appointments.  When you schedule these appointments, make them for an hour before you open.  If you become inundated with prospects all at once, invite them to come back at a convenient time for a personal viewing.  Make sure when you do this to get all of their contact information so you can follow up.

Slow down – Take time to build the relationship, be the provider, the one stop shop, so they truly feel that you’re their real estate resource and want to buy from you. It’s imperative to engage your prospect in a discussion. Rapport makes everything easier.  Discussion helps determine if your product makes sense for them.

2 for 1 – I have seen experienced Agents actually take two groups through a model at once.  It’s not ideal but it’s better than letting someone walk away unattended to.  If you try to do this make sure you get some private time with each party to build rapport, find needs and to assure they feel taken care of.  All the time, you are on high alert to determine who your buyer is.

Take a Break – Have some Starbuck’s gift cards in your drawer, if you are too busy at the moment, invite them to go have a coffee on you down the street, and come back in a half hour.  Then free yourself up upon their return.

Stop trying creepy closing techniques – Through efficient questioning, find out their needs, then match those needs and sell it to them.  Don’t use creepy closing techniques, today’s buyers are way to savvy and nobody likes this approach. Instead, focus on helping your prospect buy.

Your Goal – Make it your personal goal to NEVER let one prospect walk through the door and leave without fully exploring who they are, what they need and if you are able, providing it to them.  Just this one change can affect your closing ratio hugely.

Even in busy markets, when you are busy writing lots of deals, every sale and every prospect counts.  The builder spends thousands of dollars to walk prospects in the door, don’t be the Agent that lets them get away.  Change it up today because tomorrow you will have a pile of money waiting for you!

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4 Responses

  1. Perry Goldman, President, New Home Sales & Marketing, Inc., PhD, MIRM says:

    Shirley, Great Advice! With the increasing cost of bringing a customer through the door, it’s absolutely criminal not to acknowledge every visitor and obtain a complete prospect information/registration card for marketing purposes, to initiate the sales process and for future follow-up.
    I’ve found that among the cardinal failures of on site sales counsellors are the failure to register the prospect, the failure to actively listen and ask the right questions, the failure to ask for the close, persistently, the failure to follow-up and the failure to use a (flexible) sales process.
    Would you share with us the 5 questions you always have your agents ask?
    I’d like to share with you:
    1. The Shortest Course on Sales: Ask Questions and Listen
    2. You’re Only As Good As The Questions You Ask!
    3. Don’t Talk Unless You Can Improve The Silence!

  2. A Stands for AREA…what area are they coming from it will determine what you talk about.
    T Stands for TIME FRAME…that will determine if you snow them a model or inventory.
    M Stands for Model questions…things that are important to them in a home.
    $ Stands for price questions, have they been prequalified…payment/budget numbers…

    With those questions upfront you get an idea of where to take them…

  3. It’s my acronym I use…an ATM gives you dollars…to remember it when you are in sales mode.

  4. Good article! I’ve been in real estate for years, then spent about 10 years in the mortgage end of the business. Even went out and got my Series 7 and 66 licenses to do some financial advising. But I’m back at my true love … selling new homes! I like your idea of keeping coffee gift cards around. As you know, it’s inevitable that everybody comes at the same time. Great idea. Thanks.

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