Green Industry Articles

Sharpen Skills, Woo More Buyers

Question clients to see how committed they are to sustainability and to measure whether they'd be good prospects for a green home, suggested Suzanne Shelton during GRC's July webinar, "Who is it? Identifying and Motivating the Likely Green Home Buyer."

Shelton, president and CEO of the Shelton Group, presented the company's recent research that profiles consumers who make good prospects for green properties.

One way to develop and sharpen those questioning skills is by getting the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®) designation, which prepares you to best represent buyers and build your business with such clients.

After all, one aspect of ABR® training entails building rapport with and questioning prospective buyers, according to Carol Moson, CRS, ABR®, e-PRO®, GREEN, an associate broker with RE/MAX Greater Atlanta-Cobb Office and an ABR® instructor.

“One of the most critical real estate issues of this current buyers’ market,” says Marc Gould, REBAC executive director, “buyer representation is the answer to requests by consumer advocates, consumers, and other organizations to provide ethical and professional service to those clients and customers interested in acquiring real property.”

Sure, you could ask, "Are you interested in a green house?" But the question may just elicit a "yes."

Deeper probing would provide greater intelligence.

An alternative question Monson suggests asking: "What's your idea of a green home?"

Some may say it involves being able to control all the home's mechanical systems remotely.

Others may want energy-efficient appliances.

No matter the buyers' answer, you gain useful insight.

And the question "Why do you want a one-acre lot?" can elicit similar actionable information.

The question could uncover a desire for a large space for growing produce, a need for recreation space, or a wish for property adjacent to a nature preserve.

All such questions can help in more quickly zeroing in on properties that fit buyers' needs.

Piggybacking knowledge

Beyond the questioning skills, ABR® also helps you to better connect with young buyers, a group the Shelton Group identifies as excellent prospects for green homes. One section of the ABR® education, for example, outlines ways for practitioners to understand the expectations and communication styles of Gen Y and Gen X buyers, along with marketing tools and networking tips to best reach them.

Moreover, the dual designations, she believes, create complementary skills and help real estate practitioners to constantly prove their worth and deliver something more--knowledge, expertise, and analysis--than what consumers can find on their own. "Today's buyers are so savvy that if you can't add more to what they already know, you lose your value," she observes.

Yet another incentive for NAR Green Designees is that the two-day day Green Core Course required for your NAR Green Designation counts as an elective credit for the ABR® designation. As an NAR Green Designee, you’re already halfway through another designation.

Read more on the ABR® designation.

Green REsource Council Newsletter, August 2010