• Focus on providing your clients with value -- not just what you want them to hear.
  • Clarify what your clients need and expect from you and take every opportunity you can to provide that.
  • Take the perspective as a strategist, adviser, and advocate -- not a sales person.

Back in 2012, Zillow launched its first TV ad campaign that became recognized for the line, “You’re not just looking for a house. You’re looking for a place for your life to happen.”

It’s one of the initial times that a modern real estate brand appealed to the obvious — but under-discussed — emotional aspect of purchasing a home.

And though the advertising agency Zillow retained to create that ad might have come up with the line through research and strategy development, it doesn’t take a team of marketers to show your clients that you value this experience just as much as they do.

It does require your ability to recognize that your clients are more than just buyers or sellers.

It also demands your acceptance that you’re ushering people through an incredibly sensitive and meaningful time in which you have the ability to influence what their life looks like beyond their interaction with you.

And most importantly, making a bigger impact on your clients requires you to abandon the stigma that real estate agents are just that: sales agents, and you exist to simply “move inventory.”

Use their name — not a label

How would you feel if your doctor sent you a letter that was addressed, “Dear Patient?” What about an attorney writing an email to you that began with, “Hello Negligence Case?” Or more likely, a letter from your insurance company that begins with, “Dear ID#123456?”

You’d feel nothing. You’d make a face and maybe a grunting noise. Then you’d proceed to read the letter.

Just like attorneys or healthcare providers, real estate agents and brokers provide a professional service. And the way that they communicate with their clients is either going to inject or withdraw confidence within the relationship.

When you’re communicating with your clients, take every opportunity you have to address them by name.

Instead of saying, “I work hard for my buyers to get them the best deal,” a simple shift to “I’ll work hard for you, John and Jane. I care about you getting the best deal possible,” will result in authentic smiles and trust versus a simple agreeing nod. The statement becomes about them instead of you.

Ask what’s expected of you

Find out how your clients expect you to communicate with them. Do they want to hear from you around dinner time, or is anytime during the day OK? Would they prefer you text them or send them an email?

Additionally, beyond the standard steps it takes to buy (or sell) their home, what else do they expect from you to make the experience easy for them?

If you’re able to ask these questions at the first interaction, you’ll already be establishing the principle of respecting their time and having an interest in their desires. And even more importantly, you can begin to put what you learn into practice right away.

Get the full story

You can’t have a big impact on your clients if you’re not able to connect on a level that’s important to them. And the conversation of connection goes beyond an exchange on Twitter and receiving their pre-approval letter in an email.

Making an impact and establishing a true, authentic connection begins with having an honest desire to listen to their story.

Why are they moving now versus a year ago or a year from now? What are they most nervous about right now? What are they most excited about right now? What do they see themselves doing in their new house over the next one, three, five years?

Not only are these excellent conversation starters, but they also provide insight into the big picture that you can use to be proactive and diligent throughout the process.

For example, if you know your clients are moving to start new jobs and they’re most afraid of being more than two hours away from family, you can reference local attractions that they can do when their family comes to visit.

Educate, don’t dictate

As humans, we experience a great deal of fear when we’re faced with uncertainty. In ambiguous situations, we don’t have control. And as a result, we either want to run away (which shows up as buyer’s remorse or taking the house off the market), freeze (which looks like ignoring your calls) or fight (which unintentionally results in petty disagreements or pointless negotiation variables).

If your clients are unsure about something, your response should never be “don’t worry about that.” That’s a completely ineffective statement since they’re already worrying.

But if you address their worry, explain the situation and present the options and variables, not only are you eliminating the sense of lacking control, but you’re also erasing the root of the anxiety.

If you’re in a situation where you don’t have answers, ask if they want something that explains what you found out in more detail.

The act of purchasing a house isn’t just a transaction. It’s a symbolic representation of meeting a new milestone in the journey you and your clients call life.

And if you can establish a connection beyond the formalities, your impact will be astronomical.

Timothy Frie is the co-owner of Norman&Page.

Email Timothy Frie.

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