In every industry there are tried and true principles that never stop being relevant. These principles can be referred to as basics, core, or just plain smart but in the fast-paced, tech-driven business that real estate has become I thought it may be a good idea to remind folks of the best way to re-orient your business for long-term success.
Follow-up is the diamond of sales, hands down. The simple truth is that only the tiniest fraction of the population will ever transact with you on your first interaction. If you scratch your head and wonder why those folks you met in an open house never called you, I don’t know you, but I can still say confidently it is because you didn’t follow up. Your role in the sales process is to keep your product or service top of mind for the prospect and that requires a gentle nudge through follow-up. This could be a text, email, phone call, or any other vehicle, but your one interaction or two interactions will likely not be enough to drive a prospect to make a decision without regular follow-up. You may be the best REALTOR® with advanced skills and abilities but the most important ability is dependability! At the end of every interaction ask if you can follow up with them on some piece of information and then actually follow up.
The follow-up mindset should be fixed in your mind all the time, but if you want to take it level-expert you need to consider the method. If all your interactions are by social media direct messaging it can be a bit like getting stuck in the snow. You rock back and forth and apply power to the wheels, but you can expect the same result of spinning wheels and a deeper rut to climb out of. Until you get out and push yourself out you aren’t going anywhere. Think of communications the same way. If talking to someone by social media or text messaging, ask for an email address to be able to send additional information or set them up on a search. Once at that level try calling and talking on the phone, where you ask for a face-to-face meeting perhaps at a coffee shop or your office. Relationships can survive at one level, but relationship development will never truly happen until you start moving up the hierarchy to the highest possible level of face-to-face interaction. Make your goal in every interaction to get to that level at a speed that matches their comfort level.
“People don’t care what you know until they know that you care”. I didn’t invent that principle, but it has remained true these many years. The average consumer has a highly tuned genuineness sniffer and can smell out your motivations pretty quickly. As a requirement of all REALTORS®, you must uphold your client's best interests at all times, even above your own, but how is that done practically? Let me provide two principles that can help orient your “best interest” meter.
First, you must always remember that your role is never to talk anyone into, or out of anything, but to bring your experience, research, and advice to bear upon the situation so the client can make the best decision possible for them with all available information. The moment you start “Selling” your opinion to the client to convince them to do or not do something, you have strayed out of the realm of best interest and into the realm of coercion.
Second, you must always remain detached from the outcome of every situation. If you can keep your emotions in check and support the decisions of your client even when they don’t line up with your personal goals, you find it will result in your clients building trust in your expertise and judgment knowing that their interests are most important to you leading to long-term trust and relationships. Both desperation and ambition have a smell that consumers can detect so to keep from emitting such an odor detach from the outcome and focus only on your client's needs and wants regardless of how it turns out, and you will find it turns out for the best more times than not.
Know your stuff
If I hire a plumber and find him under the sink watching online videos about fixing a leak, I will have little confidence in his abilities, and will certainly not lead to repeat or referral business. I expect that hiring any professional comes with the understanding that they know more about the subject than I do. In real estate, holding a license is only the start of learning the whole panoply of knowledge required to be successful. I find three key knowledge bases are crucial for REALTOR® and they should be actively pursued regularly.
First, know your product. For a REALTOR® that means getting in a lot of homes and sitting through a lot of open houses. A strong understanding of the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of different property types will help steer the marketing of listings, as well as the buyer who thinks they know what they want but clearly haven’t considered a superior alternative to match their needs.
Second, know the market area. This one requires some active research and even boots on the ground to learn about the differences between neighborhoods, proximity to infrastructure or transportation, crime rates, new construction areas, and even keeping up on municipal government goings-on relating to housing, taxes, or land use bylaws. Finally, know your contracts. AREA produces not only the standard contracts for all REALTOR® in Alberta but also many resources to understand the standard terms and conditions in those contracts. These member-only tools must be explored to gain any benefit from them so a REALTOR® must take the time to know the contracts inside and out to be able to explain, alter, and negotiate the contract to protect the client.
Last but certainly not least is a mention of professional courtesy. The real estate industry in Alberta includes members from every corner of the province but it is amazing how so many times the same RELATORS® end up interacting with one another in win-win transactions. This is why to the REALTOR® it feels like a small industry and a little professionalism and professional courtesy can go a long way. Although every REALTOR® has a responsibility to promote and defend their client's interests only, it never has to be done aggressively or arrogantly. It always serves the client's interest to have cordial relationships with the REALTOR® opposite in any negotiation to keep the lines of communication open and productive.
These are some principles that continue to hold value for each subsequent generation of REALTORS® and their clients. Whether you plug AI, social media, or all other manner of electronic tools or marketing into your business ensure they are a layer on top of these principles and you will see continued long-term success. Don’t take my word for it, check it with any long-term successful REALTOR® in your brokerage for verification.
Provincial Practice Advisor
Bryan has many years of experience in the real estate industry including over 10 years as a former broker in the Edmonton Region.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone: 403-209-3619