Before platforms such as Zillow and Trulia were available, agents were not only the “search engines” but also the advisers, experts, fact-checkers and guidance counselors. And now their role as advisers is becoming even more defined.

That’s important because clients often come to agents with blinders on. It’s the agent’s job to deliver on what the client wants, which sometimes means agents need to push clients outside their comfort zone and open them up to new possibilities, particularly when compromises are necessary.

Opening them up to a new style of home or a slightly smaller backyard might be pretty painless. But swaying your client to try out a different neighborhood so they don’t have to compromise elsewhere — that’s a much tougher conversation.

Here are a few lessons I’ve learned in helping my agents open their clients’ eyes to new communities when compromises are necessary.

The end result might not be what they envisioned, and it’s likely they’ll resist at first, but it almost always leads to a happy client in the long term.

Embrace your community

You can’t sell a community that you know nothing about, and there’s no better way to get to know your community — and those around them — than to be a part of them.

Encourage agents to be active in clubs, community service projects, local events and charities. Attending events as a group can also help push reticent agents to get involved and embrace the community.

Bonus: Being involved in the community gives you a chance to network, meet with potential clients and build relationships with local service providers. Being an agent is all about being the local expert.

Sometimes you can even bring the community to you through creative marketing strategies and innovative open houses.

A year ago, a property that we were managing suffered extensive damage from an electrical fire. Much of the destruction done to the building was irreversible and left the property in shambles.

Despite this tragedy, we were still able to see the potential in this property and took on the necessary renovations. After several months of construction, we opened the property up for viewing.

The open house was a huge hit. Not only were we able to show off our property to the community, but we were also able to honor our community by celebrating the service people who had helped stop the fire months before.

The project was an important opportunity for us to bond with our community. Through this project and multiple others, we have gained the trust, recognition and friendship of our fellow community members. It’s all about stepping up when support is needed and getting involved whenever and wherever an opportunity presents itself.

Create a window into the community for your clients

You’ve attended the festivals, worked at soup kitchens and chatted it up with local government. You’re an expert. Now, don’t let that community knowledge go to waste.

There are many ways to show off your local communities to turn them into a resource for current clients and also use them as a method for attracting new clients.

It’s up to you how you do that, but make sure you’re taking the time to convert your expertise into a tangible resource. Your clients likely won’t have time to experience everything a city has to offer firsthand, so it’s your job to create a window into the community.

For example, my brokerage has a YouTube channel that features everything from the local police station to the Carrollton Greenbelt walking trail.

My video team and I interview local officials about the services they’re providing and the amenities available to the community. We go out into the city to give viewers a chance to see what the community has to offer and hear firsthand from the people who make it their job to protect and serve the town.

We use these videos as a resource for current clients so they can learn about their prospective hometown and as a means for attracting new clients. If you don’t have a video team at your beck and call, there are plenty of other outlets to highlight your community.

It can be as simple as handing out magnets that list local resources and contact information or writing a blog linked to brokerage websites. Another outlet for highlighting the community is social media, where you can post about events and services.

Highlighting what’s going on in local communities is the perfect way to show potential clients that you’re an expert. Additionally, it can help current clients make a more informed decision about where they’d like to live. And as I always say, a well-informed client is a happy client.

Use community knowledge for better buying experience

If you’re going to talk the talk, you better walk the walk. You’ve taken the time to highlight the local communities, but now it’s time to show your client what it’s all about.

Most clients need to experience what a community has to offer to believe it. I’m not suggesting that you drag your clients to a local carnival or push them to run a 5K with you.

There’s a much easier way to bring a community to life for your clients: Tap into local service providers during the transaction process. Exposing them to local businesses is an effective way to showcase resources and will result in an all-around better buying experience.

However you choose to connect clients with service providers — it’s important to make sure you’re tapping into local resources. If an out-of-town visitor asked you for a restaurant recommendation, you wouldn’t point them to the nearest McDonald’s, would you?

You want them to sample the local cuisine and get a feel for what the area has to offer. The same sentiment applies when it comes to service providers. Take every opportunity to highlight what makes it worth it to live in the local community.

Rett Harmon is a co-owner at Century 21 Novus. You can follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Email Rett Harmon.

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