There’s no concrete approach to securing your client base. As seasoned agents know, buyers, sellers, renters and landlords might drop you no matter how successful your relationship has been thus far.
But usually, if you’ve done the legwork and establish good rapport, clients are less likely to stray.
Aside from working hard on their behalf, you have to sell yourself. Being considerate and dependable sets you apart from the thousands of other agents looking for clients in your area.
Follow these strategies if you want to incorporate relationship-building qualities into your personal brand:
1. Show respect to get respect
One of the easiest ways to show your client you don’t care about their time is by showing up late. Always put punctuality at the top of your priority list. Customers should recognize you as the quickest and most responsive agent they’ve encountered.
If you work in a fast-paced niche like rentals, you’re probably aware of the importance of responding and scheduling within the hour. But with the endless resources buyers have to contact an agent via search engines and portals, it’s just as important to lock buyers and sellers in right away.
Everyone knows that delays happen. Traffic, car trouble and illness afflict everyone at some point or another. But if you’re regularly on time and once in a while an issue arises, be sure to communicate.
Send a quick text if you’re stuck waiting for the babysitter to arrive. Or, if you’re behind the wheel, use your Bluetooth-enabled speaker to call your client. For clients who prefer messaging, use Siri to send a text.
With today’s hands-free technology, there’s really no excuse for why you can’t be forthcoming when appointments are pushed back.
2. Be a listener
Clients cringe when they feel the need to repeat their must-have lists. If you show them something that differs from their wants and needs, explain why.
For example, you could say something along the lines of, “I know you wanted an open floor plan, but this place is under budget and has the large yard that you said was a necessity for the kids. The lower price point allows you to do some cosmetic renovations and achieve the look you want.”
If you fail to provide your reasoning upfront, they may assume you aren’t a good listener and, therefore, are not keeping their best interest in mind.
3. Admit your mistakes
When you screw up, take the blame. Be a problem-solver and come up with alternatives to fix the situation. Be sure to discuss these resolutions with your client before moving forward.
Never blame the client, no matter the circumstances. Unless they are acting completely unprofessional and you’re planning on ending the relationship, it’s best for you to take responsibility.
4. Stand up for yourself
Don’t take setbacks lying down. Vouch for your client in front of all necessary parties — and work hard to ensure each deal goes through.
Avoid constantly saying yes or you’ll risk looking like a pushover. Rearranging your whole schedule to accommodate an aggressive client may interfere with your other obligations anyway.
If they can’t be flexible, it might be an indication of a toxic, unproductive working relationship.
5. Speak up
Transparency is a tactic many businesses implement in their fundamental values. Being open and honest is just as important in a business-to-business relationship as it is when you’re dealing with your customer.
If you know a request is unlikely to work, explain why. For example, pretend your buyer wants to lowball the seller. Enlighten them about why this strategy has potential to backfire, especially when working with banks or corporate-owned properties.
Being honest helps nonexperts gain knowledge of the real estate industry and eliminates excessive, unlikely requests.
6. Provide your expertise, not your point of view
You’re the knowledgeable party here — if you know an area is booming and a property is priced well, let your client know it’s time to make an offer.
Opinions involving personal preferences, including cosmetic features of a property, should be kept to yourself. After all, you’re not living there — and worst-case scenario, you could end up insulting your client.
At the end of the day, these qualities mimic those you would search for in a friend, significant other or business partner. They shouldn’t be unfamiliar — just different in the ways that they are applied.