I thought I’d tackle one of those challenges that we’ve been faced with time and time again in our business career. When we receive the objection early on in our sales process, such as “Can you send me the details?” This prevents you from getting down to the detail where you’ve given them enough information to make a full decision. You’ve got a conceptual yes, they’re reasonably interested in what you do, but not specifically interested enough to give a decision.
As the brochure is stereotypical, what happens when we send them out? At best it sits on a coffee table for a period of time. Does it really get digested or discussed or lead to a decision, picking up the phone and taking action? Sometimes it does, but typically no further action happens unless we make it happen.
When we had customers interested in an overseas investment property, I heard “would you leave me a brochure?” so often that I knew I had to find a way of tackling it. I had to get into the position where I could spec something in detail–the specs they would want if they did proceed. Now you know how much better we are at looking at things in hypothetical circumstances rather than in reality, and this is exactly what we do here when faced with this scenario. I’ve developed what I call the ‘Devil’s Advocate Close’, the opportunity where we spec something in a hypothetical circumstance.
What I decided to do was every time somebody said ‘Can you leave me a brochure?’ I’d say ‘Absolutely, but why don’t you play devil’s advocate with me for a second, so you know what it is that you’re saying ‘no’ to. I know you’re not going for one of these right now, but if you were to invest in one of these properties, just hypothetically speaking, would it be for–lifestyle or investment?’
Let’s say I get the answer ‘investment’…
‘If it is investment, you’re looking at maybe something that’s going to bring you the best possible returns for the smallest amount of outlay?’
‘Yeah that’s right Phil.’
‘Let’s say you were going to go with it and use that property anyway, how many of you would be using the property?’
‘Well it’d be me, the wife, and the kids.’
‘So you’d be looking for at least two bedrooms?’
‘Yeah that’s right Phil.’
‘So if it were a two bedroom apartment and investment was in mind, I guess you’d be looking at a two bedroom, first floor apartment, because those are the cheaper properties and they rent for the same as a ground floor, hence your yield is slightly higher. It makes sense to go for a two bedroom first floor.’
‘Yeah that’s right.’
‘Assuming, with investment in mind, that you may want to sell this on one day and be able to get some use out of it, so you’re probably going to be wanting something with a nice outlook or pool-facing view.’
‘Yeah that would make sense Phil.’
‘Then let’s have look at what’s still left on the development – two bedroom, first floor, pool-facing. Well I’ve got this apartment here, it’s apartment A202 and it’s 74sqm and here are the two bedrooms and the two bathrooms. Here’s the en-suite and the large open plan kitchen and here’s the balcony, and on the balcony you can see you’ll be overlooking the beautiful pool area. Now I know you’re not in the position to move forward with one of these today, but again just playing devil’s advocate and so you know what it is that you say no to, would you be open-minded to take a look at what the figures look like so that you would know what a yes would look like if you were ever in that position?’
‘Yeah absolutely Phil.’
So I would walk them through the payments, I’d walk them through exactly what their investment for apartment A202 would look like, and funnily enough, their final decision in order to secure that property was just a small reservation fee. At the end of that presentation, I would say to the customer, ‘Well in terms of what we’ve gone through, obviously we’re showing you the best of our available stock. I’ve got a number of appointments later today, as have the rest of the team, and two bedroom apartments are the most popular because they’re the best rental option. No doubt the next person who reserves a two bedroom first floor apartment will probably come to the same conclusion that you have that A202 is the best apartment. So if you were to look to reserve, then all we need is a £1200 reservation, and we take cash, cheque, and credit or debit card.’
Where people have previously said, ‘Leave me a brochure’, we’ve now prompted a discussion between decision makers. Now let’s say we did that ten times in a week…most people would continue with the ‘Can you leave me a brochure’ along with the numbers and the floor plans for the specific apartment in question–but two or three people out of the ten would genuinely move forward with a transaction that they would have previously have asked you to leave on.
We know how hard it is to create opportunities to sit in front of people and then create a genuine opportunity for them to make a buying decision with us. Just ask yourself this, is it easier to hang in there for another five, ten, fifteen minutes to give them enough information to make a decision and help them see what they could buy from you, or easier to start again with somebody new? Because purely by playing devil’s advocate you can get some great information out of people – valuable information that puts them in a position where they can make a decision.