One of the biggest drains on a salesperson’s time, energy, and definitely their bank account is going on unqualified appointments.

In a nutshell, salespeople are typically afraid of asking the hard questions that might actually disqualify a potential client.  Or, they’re afraid of getting hung up on / shown the door because they’re seeming to pry too much.

Heaven forbid you let a lead slip away, they are so hard to come by (if you didn’t note the blatant sarcasm and that last sentence rang true for you, please, for the love of God see my previous post about consistent lead generation!).

And, especially in real estate, it’s a badge of honor to walk out of the office answering the “Where are you going?” type questions from your colleagues with “I have an appointment.”  The truth is, most salespeople mistakenly think that simply going on an appointment is actually doing business.

Oooooo….sorry.  Incorrect answer.  Let’s try the bonus round where the questions are harder and the dollar values double.

All kidding aside (and a bad Jeopardy reference), nothing could be further from the truth.

Going on unqualified appointments are downright stupid.

1. They cost you time and energy.

2. They’re an emotional drain.  No one likes to fail.  It’s such a crappy feeling to drive 30 minutes in the opposite direction of your home and office, after preparing all day with the CMA, your stats, , etc., all the while pumping yourself up only to get there and find that they owe $100,000 more than it’s worth, or only Mrs. Seller is home tonight, or so many other things that would cause you to not get the listing.

3. And, they cost money.  Gas has finally come back down a little, but come on!  Is it worth half a tank with a round trip to find out they want $350K when it’s worth $269K, plus they want you to do it for cut commission?

And, they take time away from the qualified appointments or lead generation so you can’t actually make money (be honest, if you’re in the middle of lead generation and a seller says, “Come on over now,” you’d be at least tempted to go, if you wouldn’t actually go, on the appointment right then and there…most likely with no regard for qualifying them.  Same thing if you took a buyer call and they said, “We’re right here in front of the property, can you come show it to us now?”).

***The quickest and easiest way to do more business, sell more homes, make more money is to pre-qualify your appointments.***

You will be working smarter, not harder.  Think of it in terms of a baseball batter, and I apologize in advance if you don’t understand the reference, so I’ll try my best to make it clear.  Pitchers can and do throw all types of pitches to fool batters.  They throw curve balls and the like designed to get the batter to swing at pitches out of the strike zone, that they can’t actually hit, in order to fool the batter.

So, if a batter simply swung at every pitch, they’d likely not do very well in the long run, would they?  Sure, they’d catch a few good ones and hit a few home runs here and there.  Yet, most of the time, they’d swing and miss, or make an out in some other fashion.

The hitters that do the best (All Stars, Hall of Famers) select the best pitches and only swing at those.  And, if you haven’t made the connection, in my analogy, the bad pitches are unqualified appointments.

So, the batter is still batting, (as you would be still generating leads), yet they swing at only the good pitches (as you would only go on qualified appointments), thereby conserving energy (as you would, along with mileage and gas, etc.), getting more hits (getting more contracts signed) and ultimately getting paid a heck of a lot of money (making more money from all the houses you sell).

The hitter (and you, the salesperson) worked smarter, not harder, and had more success.

You should think of qualifying appointments in another fashion:  you have standards, and they meet your standards then you can go on the appointment.  You’re in business, for gosh sakes.  Don’t let people waste your time.  Don’t waste your own time.

If you have a potential seller on the line, you need to know how much they owe on the house, what their motivation is, do they have to move or do they just want to test the market.  And, don’t ever assume you’re the only agent they’re talking to.  You’re lead is everyone’s lead.  So ask if they plan on interviewing agents.  Ask if they’ve thought about going FSBO.

With a buyer, don’t let them just tell you they’re “good” when it comes to mortgage qualifications, insistt on a pre-qual at the minimum.  It shows they’re serious, as well as lets you know if they can get a loan for the house they’re looking at.  Find out if they need to sell a home first, and work on getting them to list it before looking for homes to buy that they won’t be able to close on until their home is sold anyway.  Find out if they’re working with other agents.

Those are just a few questions that you need to ask both a buyer or seller, otherwise you’re going in blind.

Hey, I had to learn this, too.  When I sold, in the beginning, I worked with buyers that I didn’t qualify properly, and the results were: a) ultimately didn’t or couldn’t buy, b) bought with another agent, c) made offer but couldn’t get financing, d) showed lots of homes, then they decided they need to list their home first and used someone else, e) name another bad scenario, it probably happened to me.

When working with sellers I had all sorts of crappy appointments and results: a) went on appointment with one or other spouse not there, b) one spouse wanted to sell, other didn’t, c) seller only wanted CMA for estate calculation purposes with financial planner, d) seller was going to list with a friend all along, but used me to keep the friend honest, e) seller thought it was worth more, and wouldn’t sell for less than that, f) you name it, I had it happen when I was afraid to qualify.

Damn, typing that depressed the crap out of me, and I was a very successful salesperson for a number of years!


P.S. If you haven’t already figured it out, this is different than a mortgage pre-qual, which, as I stated before, you should insist upon potential buyers having.  However, leave that kind of qualifying to the mortgage person.

If you want to discuss questions to ask, simply email me at

Scott Friedman