Brokerage

5 ways to exceed your ultrawealthy sellers’ expectations

Serving the ultrawealthy client

You’re about to go on a listing appointment for a multimillion-dollar property. What expectations will the sellers have and how will you meet them?

Most luxury clients expect much more from their agent than just posting pretty pictures of their property on the MLS and on various online sites where you syndicate your listings. What will it take for you to win the listing and get it sold?

1. Move from closing the prospect to creating a unique customer experience

Luxury sales were once based on controlling the prospect and expertly telling them what to do. Closing is an essential part of any sales process. Today’s luxury clients are smarter, well researched and tech savvy. They expect to control the process. Your role first and foremost is to provide them with the specific information they will need to make the best decision regarding their sale or purchase.

Going beyond this minimum level of service will require you to do much more. Find out what matters to your client, and structure her customer experience around what matters to her.

For example, many ultrawealthy clients are collectors. If your client collects vintage dolls, spend an hour reading up on this topic. Then, if you are showing this client property, ask questions that focus on how well the rooms where the collectibles will be displayed fit the client’s needs. This type of detailed focus on your client’s personal interests will make you stand out from competitors and earn you plenty of referrals as well.

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2. Market knowledge is essential

... Avoid dropping names or trying to be something you're not in terms of your lifestyle. These tactics label you as "not one of us" and will often cause the client to look elsewhere for representation.

When it comes to luxury properties, detailed market knowledge is essential. Before you walk into the appointment, create a folder containing interior and exterior pictures from as many of the comparable sales as possible. The best agents can describe these without looking at the comparable sales, but in today’s digital age, there’s no excuse for not having as much supporting documentation as possible.

Your market knowledge must also include information about the history of the area, the people who live there, as well as the various types of construction. It’s also important to have an in-depth knowledge of any notable architects in the area as well as luxury builders.

3. Market statistics

Many luxury clients rely on their business managers, attorneys or tax advisers when it comes to buying or selling real estate. It’s common for them to meet with their financial adviser rather than dealing with you directly. Consequently, you may be working more with their financial adviser as opposed to your seller or buyer.

When it comes to dealing with financial advisers, most are highly detailed and cautious. This means that you must have justification and documentation for almost everything that you’ll do. On the other hand, don’t be surprised if your self-made-millionaire client personally grills you about the money details, too.

A critical part of this conversation is having mastery of absorption rates. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require appraisers to look at absorption rate as one of four components of an inventory analysis.  To determine whether conditions in a particular market are improving, stable, or declining, appraisers must look at the total number of comparable sales, absorption rate (sales per month), total number of comparable listings, and months’ supply of homes.

In most cases, using detailed data on absorption rates increases the probability of getting the listing at the right price.

4. Avoid competing with your clients or their representatives

Many agents are eager to demonstrate their real estate expertise. Granted that you should be the expert, but your approach must focus on being a conduit of information to assist your clients in making the best possible decision for them. When you consistently remind both the clients and their financial adviser that it is “their house and their decision,” you will have fewer conflicts with either party.

Remember, there is absolutely no upside in attempting to show that you are smarter than their adviser. Your clients generally have had a relationship of trust with this person long before they started working with you and will probably continue to have that relationship long after your transaction closes.

5. Many ultrawealthy clients are ultrafrugal

Many wealthy individuals achieved their wealth by being financially conservative. A great example is the president of Ikea. He still flies coach and takes notes on both sides of the paper as a role model for his employees. These individuals are often active in civic activities. They also enjoy spending as much time with family and friends as possible. In other words, they don’t appear to be “rich.” Money is a detail, not a primary area of focus.

Consequently, avoid dropping names or trying to be something you’re not in terms of your lifestyle. These tactics label you as “not one of us” and will often cause the client to look elsewhere for representation.

Would you like even more best practices for your luxury business? If so, don’t miss part eight of this series.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named “new and notable” by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com.