Troy Palmquist is an indie broker in California with more than a decade of experience. His regular column, which covers a range of helpful tips for agents and op-eds on industry happenings, publishes Thursdays on Inman.
Buyers can be tricky, and getting them to make a commitment to you can be even trickier. We all know the key to a lasting real estate career is buyer loyalty, but are you effectively achieving this with your clients from the very start? This is a hot-button topic among many agents who agonize over using a listing or buyers presentation.
Let me frame it this way: Buying or selling real estate is one of the most important decisions a person will ever make in their lifetime. So why is it that people take the agent-client relationship so lightly? Why are some agent’s scared a client will be offended by making a commitment on paper to an agent for an short amount of time? Is that so much to ask?
Pretend you are the client for a minute. Does your CPA come to you during tax time? Does your attorney talk legal fees and pleas over the kitchen table? Does your primary doctor make house calls? Most likely not.
We are in an industry that caters to our clientele. Typically there is no upfront fee involved, and we, as agents, go to the client. The least our clients could do is commit to us in writing with an agreement that establishes our expectations up front.
I am an industry professional. I’ve earned this commitment. And it’s precisely why I am a proponent of agents using presentations and securing agreements. Here are some things I always incorporate into my presentations to secure a client’s business — and loyalty — right away.
1. Make it about them first
A needs analysis is a critical first step in showing clients you care. The trick is to listen thoughtfully, get to know the client and make it about them prior to giving your pitch. At my firm, we rely on the folks at Excellum for coaching and training our agents.
Debbie De Grote, founder and CEO of Excellum, recently talked buyer presentations with me and said, “I used to always have my buyers sign one, and I found that when I first did their needs analysis, and then presented in writing my ‘home search services’ and then used the script in the book to ask for their commitment, it was pretty easy.”
2. Demonstrate your value and expertise with a clear plan
An Inman article “Creating buyer loyalty in real estate” suggests, “The easiest way to start demonstrating your value to buyers is to have a formalized buyer presentation that walks them through the homebuying process from start to finish and helps them understand what they can expect.”
At The Address, we are developing a compelling presentation book to assist agents in walking buyers though what they do and the value they bring. This tool streamlines the process and helps you “sell” yourself with confidence, while outlining how the process works.
3. Ask for a commitment
The primary goal of a presentation book is to encourage the use of broker-buyer agreements.
Our brokerage is a little different because we have access to investor-owned assets that are going to come up for sale, so we are able to offer access to off-the-market inventory for buyers to see. This is a distinct value add, making it even more important to secure a formal commitment.
Your broker-buyer agreement should not only state your course of action, but also the expectations you have for your client. This includes asking (or gently requiring) the buyer to tell you about any properties that might be of interest and to always come to you first.
There is a common misconception that listing agents are the only people to show homes or that they are limited to certain neighborhoods. This is not true. Now is your chance to discuss the mistakes buyers make when not using their buyer’s agents properly and set up expectations for both parties.
De Grote added, “If they objected, it was usually a red flag they were not going to be loyal. Occasionally, it might be that they were looking in a different area I did not service, and then I would grant an exception in the agreement. Also, I found I had more resistance when it was a six-month agreement, so I shortened to 45 days because if they had not purchased in that time frame, usually, I felt then they were not a serious buyer or we could extend.”
Creating a streamlined buyers presentation with these three key points in mind will help you secure business and attain loyalty, which is the ultimate goal of the broker-buyer relationship.