CLOSING WITH MUTUALLY AGREED POSITIONS
The agent should try to complete the sale at the convenience of the seller. During discussions with the seller the agent should ask “when do you intend to move and receive your money?” It is the duty of the agent to organise a smooth completion and try to avoid difficulties with handing over the farm with vacant possession. This can be more complicated in a rural transaction because of the need to dispose of stock and usually, a clearing sale.
It is a common that both the seller and buyer do not fully understand the sale process. The buyer may arrive at the agent’s office after vacating their flat demanding keys to the farm that “they have paid for” only to find that the seller cannot vacate until one week’s time. Although strictly, this is not the fault of the agent it does show poor communication by the agent with the parties involved. The agent should have ascertained the correct date of vacation and communicated that to the buyer. Of course the solicitors are not blameless in this scenario but the buyer may blame the agent!
The agent is the facilitator in reaching mutually agreed positions and then close the sale. After negotiation when most or all of the objections have been satisfied, as covered above, the agent can close. There are a number of techniques in closing. The most common are:
Alternative choice (minor trial close)
Prospects are questioned so that a certain amount of thought is required to answer the questions.
The prospect comments on the poor condition of the farm. The agent answers, “yes this is because of poor management in the past. You’re an experienced farmer, if you owned it, what would you do to improve the farm?” If the prospect considers the question carefully before answering then they are interested in the farm. On the other hand if they look the agent in the eye and immediately say.”no way, it’s beyond fixing up!” The agent now knows the prospect is not interested in this farm.
This is used to develop “yes” momentum. The agent ends a sentence asking for a “yes” answer. It is useful in isolating an objection.
On inspection, “well cleared, isn’t it?” if the answer is “yes” the agent continues, “ good country for cultivation. What do you think?” and so on. The prospect has agreed to all the positives of the property and the agent should have a good idea of any objections. The prospect has been lead into the position of thinking, “do these positives outweigh the negatives?”
Feedback (minor trial closing)
The agent feeds back the objection to the prospect for an answer.
The prospect states. “this farm is too dear!” The agent responds, “too dear? Why?” The prospect in explaining the objection will have to analyse why. In the end they may decide that the farm is not too dear after all.
In this method the agent answers questions with a question. This allows the agent to keep control of the negotiations. The agent should try to resist being able to answer all questions.
The prospect says, “can we take over next month?” Instead of saying “yes” or “no” the agent keeps control of the negotiations by asking “would you be interested in settling within 30 days?” The agent would then have to contact the seller to see if that was possible.
This is useful for prospects that want to buy but cannot bring themselves to say “yes”. Buying property can be a burdensome and difficult decision for a lot of buyers as real estate is the largest purchase of their lives and this may well be their first real estate purchase. They can understandably be nervous about closing the sale.
This situation may be revealed by phrases such as “I am not sure that this is the right thing to do” and there appears to be no other objection. The agent states that they are sympathetic to this feeling and what a momentous decision it is that they are about to make.
The agent responds along these line, “ if it’s the wrong choice you will want to avoid it, wont you?” The prospect will answer, “yes”. “However, if it is the right decision you will want to buy this farm, wont you?” Again, the prospect will answer “yes”.
The agent then states that a good way of deciding is to make a balance sheet. The agent makes 2 columns on a piece of paper with the headings “yes” and “no”. The agent foes through with the prospects all the positive features of the farm under “yes” and all the negative features under “no”. If the farm is the right choice then there will be more positives than negatives and vice versa. This objective system will help an undecided prospect make up their minds.
This will help the agent to gauge the prospect’ interest.
The agent states “the seller is prepared to leave the bore pump and shearing gear there, do you think you would like these?” If the prospect says yes then they are interested and should close.
This is really the overall attitude of the agent in encouraging commitment to the sale. The agent asks questions on the assumption that the prospect will buy.
“What will you run on the farm?”
“Will you put in wheat or canola this year?”
“Will you renovate the house?”
The responses will indicate how interested the prospect is in buying.
This is a typically Australian approach appropriate in rural areas where neither party wants to waste time about a farm the prospect knows well and who the agent knows is well informed about the local market.
“Well now you have seen the farm again why don’t we go back to the office and complete the sale?”
The wise agent instinctively knows when to start talking and start writing.