March 22, 2017
Hey girl. That's a niiiiiiice house. Who's your Realtor?
Hang on. No, this isn't an how-to on dating your client crush, so real estate courtiers: beware! Take your romantic interests elsewhere!
Although you are not romantically dating your clients, the same investment of effort should be put into this professional, fiduciary relationship. Home-buying and selling tends to be a personal transaction - someone is choosing where they want to return to at the end of a long day, pour themselves a glass of whiskey (or wine!), relax, and unwind. Agents should constantly remind themselves of this as they engage in this business partnership.
While meeting with your client may just seem like another task on your schedule, on their side, it could be a potentially daunting activity. Having scheduled conferences exclusively in the office or over the phone may make your meetings as looked forward to as trips to the dentist (eeek!).
Instead, every once in awhile take your client out for coffee or to a casual dinner and discuss business there. Offer to bring your office to them, and schedule around them, wherever they are, and they'll appreciate the effort. Not only will this lift any possible anxiety they might be feeling around your meetings, but it will also demonstrate to your client the length to which you are willing to actively invest in them and their needs.
Actively listen to your client and be intuitive. Be patient with them, and cater and adapt to their needs. Offer up your own advice and recommendations. Immediate response is a major factor in establishing good relations with your client; in fact 47% of buyers rated responsiveness as key, even over professionalism, local expertise, and experience.
Additionally, clients want full honesty from their agents. Real estate agents are required by the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics to honor total honesty and confidentiality with their clients, but desire to not be a rule-breaker shouldn't be your only motivation toward transparency. You are leading them through a difficult process that they aren't experts on (why they called you in the first place!), so clients want the confidence to rely on their realtor's word.
However keep in mind that while they might not know everything about the process, you might not know everything about their interests. Don't assume, always ask. In any relationship, secrets are no fun!
As stated above, your client has hired you for a reason: to hand-hold them through a number of tricky negotiations in a tricky market. For this reason your level of experience and professionalism is significant. Your client needs you to to be able to navigate the current real estate market, find them a perfect home adjusted to their needs, be technologically savvy, and of course, negotiate a great price.
They depend on you; be patient while leading them through the process, and constantly adapt your approach on certain topics based of their level of knowledge as well as their personality.
Undivided loyalty to and acceptance of your client is a must in this relationship. Buyers and sellers - and anyone really - like to feel as though they are supported in their decisions. Nobody likes to feel like they are burdening someone else, which can be common if one feels like they aren't being valued. To prove to your client that you're in it for the long haul, actively care about them, not just the transaction. Remember that their interests, whatever they may be, come before yours.
In short, realtors must treat this relationship not so carelessly. How you act, present yourself, and attend to your client will make a big impact not only on them but on the long-term partnership as well. Remember, your past clients are often a fruitful source for future client referrals and references and establishing your relationship early on, will only pay off down the road.
Establish trust between you and your client and they'll have you in mind for further potential real estate transactions. Hey, if you're lucky you might even get a call from them in the future.