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Home » Resources » Articles And Reports » “The Art of Prescreening” by Tony Pearl

“The Art of Prescreening” by Tony Pearl

In this article, we’re going to be discussing one of the essential skills you must possess if you’re going to be successful in this real estate (or any other) business.  When you master this skill, you’ll be MUCH more efficient with your time, reduce frustration & anxiety, and keep your self-respect and motivation.  Sound good?

Of Course, I’m Talking About How To Properly Pre-screen People.

We all know that the first thing we need in any business is LEADS – people who have raised their hands to signal that they’re interested in either our product or service…or are at least interested in getting more information about it. In real estate, this could simply be a list of people who either want to sell their house or buy a house.

There are many sources for these leads – you can either find, buy, or create them…but that’s a topic for another article.  For now, we’ll just assume that you already have several leads, and you just need to find out if you can do business together.

And this is where a LOT of people have challenges.  The problem is that most people mistakenly believe that they have to convince people to do business with them! However, nothing could be further from the truth. I’ll let you in on a little secret…

The truth of the matter is that we’re not going to convince anyone of anything. Instead, it’s our job to sift and sort everyone we talk to so that we correctly identify only those people who are flexible and motivated enough to consider other ways of getting things done…And whack the rest at lightning speed! But in order to do that, we need to know…

The Three Types of People

Did you know that there are only three types of people? Well, of course there are many more than that, but for our intents & purposes, we need to only concern ourselves with these three: 1. The Suspect, 2. The Prospect, and 3. The Project.

  1. The Unmotivated, Disqualified, Time-Wasting SUSPECT.

You know the type. These are the sellers who ONLY want full price, all cash, and don’t even want to think about anything else. These people will waste your time, suck all the life & motivation out of you, and almost make you want to quit. Unfortunately, these are going to be the majority of people you talk to. Someone in this category would say something like “Oh, we wouldn’t do anything like that,” “We don’t need to sell,” or “Yeah, we’re just testing the market to see what people are willing to pay.”
How To Deal With Them: Identify early & get out fast. Follow up later if you like.

  1. The Fully-Motivated, Qualified, and Interested PROSPECT.
    These are God’s gift! This person is a total lay-down, ready for your solution…and desperate for what you can do to help them. Just treat them right and move fast.

You’ll know them when they say things like “We’ve got to sell, like, yesterday,” “I don’t know what else to do,” and “Please just make me an offer!”

How To Deal With Them: Recognize WHAT they need and HOW to give it to them.  Go out to see them as quickly as possible – with a contract in hand, ready to go, because the first one there with a workable solution gets the deal!

  1. The Somewhat-Motivated & Qualified, But Not-Quite-Ready PROJECT.

These people need your help…they just may not know it yet.  In order to best serve them, you’ll need to have your skills sharpened and ready, because they’ll test you.
They’ll say things like, “I don’t know what to do,” “How does that work?” and “How can you help me?” Little indicators of interest they’ll subtly drop on you.

How To Deal With Them: Use the right psychology & sales tactics to help them understand that they need your solutions. Don’t beg! You’ll probably need to follow up.  Get them to make you the offer.

Why is it important to know the difference between these three?
Because the SUSPECT will make you broke. The PROSPECT will make you money. But the PROJECT? They’ll make you rich!

If all you ever talk to and deal with are Suspects, you’re going to get frustrated, start to think that this business doesn’t work, and want to punch someone.  True Prospects are great, but like a needle in a haystack, they’re usually a lot harder to find, and all your competition is looking for them, too. Projects are the ones who will truly make you rich, because you’re adding value to these people’s lives and the competition is not skilled enough to handle them, so you’ll do more deals. These people will truly justify the investment in your education, many times over.

The “Secret Sauce” to Being a Master Prescreener

It’s actually very simple to effectively prescreen the leads you talk to.  The method is so simple, you’ll be tempted to just blow it off or take it for granted, but that would be a mistake, believe me.  Here it is: The best way to prescreen people is to ask them the right questions.  Obviously, you need to get the right information about their house & their situation, determine what their needs and greeds are, and to gauge their levels of flexibility and motivation.

But like anything else, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. The wrong way would be to interrogate them like a handcuffed suspect accused of committing a crime. You don’t just go from question to question, forcefully extracting information from them, because it won’t be long before they resent and resist you.

The right way means that you should first frame the conversation properly so that they understand the context of your questions. You should also skillfully and respectfully converse with them to find out what you need in order to determine which of the 3 categories they belong. The right way also means that you’re open, honest, and confident about what you’re able to do for them.

The bottom line is this: ONLY after you’ve gotten the right information you need to know do you present a possible solution to their situation. Stop wasting your time trying to convince people about how smart you are or all the creative real estate techniques you just learned this week. Nobody cares. All they truly care about is what you can DO for them.  We’ll talk about how to best present your solutions in another article.

So there you have it! You now know the importance of the art of prescreening people, what the 3 categories are, and how to determine who belongs where, and why.  Armed with this information, you’ll save yourself a TON of time and frustration, because you’ll only be dealing with qualified people who want to do business with you, while the rest will most likely drive your competition crazy when they talk to them.

Until Next Time,

Tony Pearl

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8 Responses to “The Art of Prescreening” by Tony Pearl

  1. Warren Vail says:

    Thanks for sharing, Tony. I like the simple way you explained the differences and especially liked what you offered about how the Projects could make you rich by adding value.I enjoy helping others in that way.

  2. Grace McDonald says:

    Thank You for the article Tony, It will certainly help us to weed out the suspects and concentrate on the prospects. Mack

  3. Tony Pearl says:

    Thanks for the great feedback.
    This is the same article training I insist all my new mentor students read, because this helps you understand the difference between time wasters and money makers.

    Put it to good use,

  4. Dan Sawman says:

    I liked the article. I have yet to hear about the ‘project’ lead. We have been discussing the other two quite a bit and understandably so. Why waste your time on suspects!

  5. Mark Rieger says:

    It’s always about them…but you need to get the cheese without sounding cheesy or getting trapped.

  6. Randy Connolly says:

    Thanks for the article

  7. Reggie Germinal says:

    Thank you Tony. This article should be used as a reminder to newbies and pros alike. The real money is always in the follow up.

  8. Diane Farrow says:

    Excellent article – key is to develop the skills to prescreen – looking forward to the next article!

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