By Jason Nagy
Some people may consider our real estate business as nothing more than a sales job filled with stereotypical, overly extroverted, slick sales agents who act like cut-throat, commission-earning, used-car salespeople. I would like to change that mindset.
Instead of a pushy, self-promoter who is convincing people against their wishes, I tell the agents at our company that the way to win new clients is to reframe the situation and think of yourself as a servant and professional consultant who is reaching out to people with valuable housing market data, such as property trends and inventory updates.
Unfortunately, our culture defines greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige and position. We live in a “me-first” era. But, I believe greatness is measured in terms of service, not status. Thousands of books have been written about leadership, but only few on serving. That’s because people would rather be generals than privates. Seeing our role as servants in real estate will help win new clients. Ask yourself: Who out there needs my help out today? I believe the answers will lead you to new clients. Here are a few other tips:
“I am not a salesperson.”
Your clients want to work with a real estate profession, not just a salesperson. If we want to be regarded as a professional then we should act like one. The difference between merely a salesperson and a real estate professional is that a salesperson focuses on the end result, namely the commission; therefore, their actions are driven by a result. However, a real estate professional earns an income as a result of representing the best interests of their clients. Earning an income is a direct result of representing the best interests of my clients. Yes, there are times when I am selling, such as when I’m negotiating on behalf of my client or I’m asking the listing agent to accept my client’s offer. But, I’m in sales with a client only before they become my client, such as during a listing presentation or buyer representation presentation. Once the documents are signed, then my client has a high-qualified professional on their team.
Good leads come from a good database.
The most important information you have to win new clients as a real estate professional is your database of previous, current and future clients. Without your database, you have no leads, and without leads, you can’t expect to close any deals. It’s crucial to keep your database current with updated information about people. Whether it’s a new phone number, new job or new email address, or perhaps somebody got married or had a child, all these tidbits of information are important to include within your sphere of influence. At least once a year, you should reach out to everyone in your database to say hello, get updated information and ask them if they know someone who needs an answer to a real estate question.
Ask the right questions with potential clients.
A real estate professional will win new clients by asking the right questions to new prospects and then listening carefully. One of the most common causes of frustration and friction in relationships is that we don’t really listen to each other. Too often we talk at each other rather than with each other. It’s better to be present in the moment with somebody’s wants and needs. Listening is a form of kindness. The best questions are open ended that start with such phrases as “tell me about” or “what are your goals.” You become a good listener by asking creative questions. Approach the conversation from a standpoint of curiosity: “Do you own or rent? Do you view your home as a place to live or as a retirement investment? What would cause you to move to a new house?” Since you have positioned yourself as the source of valuable information that will benefit the client, then tell them, “I promise not to bother you, but based on what you’ve told me, I would be happy to share with you information on homes so that you’re the first to know. Would you prefer a text, e-mail or phone call? Before you share your side of the story, you need to let the other person know you understand where he or she is coming from by paraphrasing what they’ve just said.
Explain the entire process ahead of time.
When I spend the necessary time to completely explain the entire transaction process upfront, the result often is a new client. I will tell a new client, “If you choose to work with me, you will know everything that’s happening. I will layout a road map of what to expect and possible pitfalls to watch for. And, I promise to return phone calls within 24 hours.” I may need to explain the process again, which is okay because repetition creates a level of stronger comfort and confidence for my client.