At the end of most commercial airline flights, the captain customarily thanks the passengers for choosing to fly with that airline. They know that consumers have many choices today and it has never been more important to establish lasting relationships and communicate your value.
With this in mind, before every consultation, take the time to ask yourself, “Why should this client hire me?” Clients have many agents to choose from, but they will hire the agent with the most value and a track record of delivering referral-worthy customer service.
1. Are you asking the right questions and establishing expectations?
2. Do you listen and respond to client needs?
3. Are you making your value known on and offline?
1. Establish Expectations
Whether winning or maintaining clients, open ended questions offer insight into motivations. Understanding their needs is crucial to establishing and maintaining expectations. Unlike yes or no questions, open-ended questions invite conversation and offer the best insights. To get the conversation started and best serve your client, consider these options:
• Have you ever lived in this neighborhood?
Yes- What do you love most about it?
No- Is there anything about this neighborhood you do not like?
• What attracted you to this neighborhood (schools, safety, acreage, etc.)?
• What do you like the most about the home I showed you?
• What did you like the least about this house?
Make and keep a list of questions that invite this type of detailed communication. The responses will help you better understand what is important to your client. With this powerful information, you can be more purposeful in selecting homes to show buyers.
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2. Listen and Respond to Build Loyalty
There are two aspects of relationship behaviors agents can utilize to strengthen their client relationships.
• Personal Relationship Behaviors
• Consultative Behaviors
Personal relationship behaviors are related to non-business discussions and interactions. Building rapport is the first step in finding commonalities, growing connections, discovering interests and opening lines of communications.
Consultative relationship behaviors are fact driven, analytical, solution oriented and address the needs of clients.
“Personal Relationship Behaviors have a greater direct impact on loyalty than either consultative behaviors or perceptions of salespersons trust,” according to The Importance of Relationship and Consultative Behaviors on Realtor-Client Relationships, a Keller Center research report by Steven Newell PhD and Richard Plank PhD.
While you need to deliver facts and help clients analyze their options, remember that for many, real estate is the single largest purchase they will make in their lifetime. There can be a great deal of emotion tied into a sale or purchase. Your clients are humans and they will appreciate you communicating with them in a friendly and personal manner.
3. Make Your Value Known Offline AND Online
Today’s digital environment can be a great advantage for agents. Establishing and promoting your online presence helps boost your reputation by keeping you current and in front of leads.
In this digital age where referral leads can be garnered online through website testimonials, take time to review sites and social media channels. Your online presence should be considered more than an optional component of your marketing plan; it should be required.
Real estate is a relationship-based business and few things speak louder than a satisfied client testimonial. The National Association of REALTORS® 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers showed that 19 percent of recent buyers viewed online recommendations when searching for a real estate agent, and half of those buyers said they were influenced by what they saw. What’s more, 38 percent of buyers who didn’t use online recommendations said they’d consider doing so next time – a response that was particularly prevalent among the next wave of buyers, the millennials.”
By keeping your online business profiles updated and professional, you can offer prospective clients insight into your expertise and experience. One way to achieve this is to ask for and display client testimonials. When you display client testimonials online, you are able to showcase your track record of customer satisfaction and the value you deliver.
You are great at what you do. And your clients agree. Don’t be afraid to tell the world!