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Closing with Lee Woodward and John McGrath

From the just released Sawdust double audio program of conversations between Lee Woodward and John McGrath.

Enjoying the close

John says, “This is what the industry is all about. It’s that 25 seconds where you’ve got to reach inside, and grab the courage to bring the conversation to a positive conclusion, and start moving forward and get the client to authorise the agreement. That’s what it’s all about. It’s a little bit like an auction for me. It’s that crescendo of a month’s selling, or it’s the crescendo of preparing for a listing, and doing a presentation, it’s that moment. It’s very exciting.”

How to close

Are you an order taker?

The first decision you have to make is - are you an order taker or a closer? If you are an order taker, John says, “You’ll do okay if you’re a high-energy, nice person that sort of knows your stuff, and you’re an order-taker, you’ll do okay, you’ll make a living and you’ll get by, just.” Around Australia, there are hundreds and hundreds of presentations where an agent says, “Well, Mr and Mrs Vendor, look, why don’t you give me a call. Have a think about it, and if you feel that we’re the right company for you, give us a call.” That’s the order-taker’s dialogue.

Get into the arena

John says, “If your answer is no, get trained, get serious, because if you go in against someone who did, and they could have loved you more, you were the one, but you didn’t take the order. You didn’t ask for it. There’s a time frame for brilliance. I reckon, the last six minutes of dialogue or presentation is the area that people don’t get into. That’s the arena; the rest of it was the grand-stand, anyone was invited in there, but did you get into the arena where, yes you made the owner feel uncomfortable, but they had to make a yes or a no.”

The last six minutes are what counts.

If you want to be more than an order taker

John says, “If you want to be a professional salesperson, you want to earn the good volume income, and you want to have a different life as a result of real estate, you’ve got to learn those three closing questions. Whatever they are. I don’t see this as a technique to trap a vendor, because vendors and consumers in this day and age, they’re intelligent, they’re sophisticated, and if they think you’re the wrong agent, they’re not going to get trapped into a corner, and say yes. You’ve got to understand that people will procrastinate a decision as long as they’re allowed to.”

“We all know that in our own lives, in making a decision about a new car, or a holiday or something, we’re all fearful that maybe if we make the mistake, it’s going to cost us something. Well, at some point we’ll have to make a decision about the car, or the holiday, or the agent they’re going to choose. You’re really just helping them get to this point.”

But I don’t want to be pushy

Many agents are uncomfortable with the idea that getting to yes requires leadership.

Lee says, “You’re not forcing them to sell their house. They’re selling their house anyway. What you’re closing on is, you go with me, or Ray Brown.”

It’s the client’s decision, to get them to go with your company.

This house will be sold. It’s just a matter of who will do it – you or your competitor?

It’s not about being likeable

John says, “It’s no good just being someone that they can like and feel good around.”

What’s important is that at the end of the listing presentation the vendor thinks that you are a person who can lead an intense negotiation and achieve the best possible price.

John says, you want the vendor to think, what this agent has shown me is that she or he “has actually got a way of achieving a premium price for me. They’ve been able to outline it for me, and they’ve shown me how it’s going to happen, and they’ve given me some statistics.”

You want the vendor to have confidence in you.

Go back to almost the drawing board, and just reinvent. Rebuild your listing presentation. Tear it apart. Get some people to critique it, and just have a look at what are the distinctions that you’re going to add into your listing presentation this year, that you didn’t have last year.

Leading up to the close

Make sure the negotiation is moving to the close. Check the temperature and lead to yes.

One question John would ask leading up to a close was:

John: Lee, if we run through our strategy and you’re comfortable with that, is there anything that would preclude you from using our company, and getting started today? Now, I want to know if your brother is in Real Estate, and you’re committed to getting your brother, or if your best friend is a Real Estate Agent, and you have a belief that you’ve got to include her in the sale. I need to know that upfront.

The vendor would typically say: Well, no. I guess not. I guess we’ve got to listen to what your fees and your strategy are.

John: Well great, absolutely. We need to run through that information. I just wanted to know that if at the end of that conversation you feel comfortable with us, you feel I can do the right job for you and you like the strategy, I’d like to get started on this tonight. How do you feel about that?”

Another leading questions to close is, “Are you comfortable with the marketing? Is there anything that would preclude us from going ahead?”

John says, “It’s not threatening, it’s not pushy. I was never a pushy salesperson. I would lead them in a certain direction that I hoped they would follow, and if at the end of the presentation, they chose not to follow it, that was okay too. I would have to maybe accept that, but I’d just hit in that direction. A lot of people do a great presentation, and at the end of it they say, “Well look, why don’t you give me a call when you’ve decided what to do.” The problem is, you’ve done all the hard work, someone else comes in half an hour later and asks for the business, and they’re in the mode of selling. You’ve actually got them excited and ready to go, and someone else has moved them forward.”

How would you feel then?



When the client says, “I would like to think it over”

Lee says, “A good strategy is what we call the go-forward plan. It allows you to go back into the closing mode and it goes like this.”

Lee: John, I appreciate you wanting to make a quality decision. Let me tell you what would happen from here. There are only five steps to it. Point one, we’re going to need to get an agent agreement signed, allowing us to be your agent, and I’ll go through that with you. Point two, I just need to know when I can bring the sales team around to do our team inspection. When do you think that would suit you, John?

John: Right, next week, anytime.

Lee: Three, I want to bring the marketing team around to do their photos. What’s the best time of day to take photos for you, John, should it be morning or afternoon?

John: Morning. No, definitely morning.

Lee: The fourth thing, the second to last thing is - we’re going to need to know who your solicitor is, so that we can arrange to get details for him for the contract.

John: Yeah.

Lee: The very final thing, John, to get us on the market is just the first date that you would feel comfortable for me to bring some buyers through.



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