Voyage Real Estate 10 Commandments of Client Relationships:
1. Thou shalt qualify all clients as ready, willing, and able to perform, before expending company energy, time, and resources.
A lead is ready, willing, and able to do business today (RWA).
A prospect is two out of the three.
A suspect (as in, “I suspect they will do business someday…”) is a person qualifying in less than two out of the three components of RWA.
When in doubt, ask yourself if the person you are dealing with is RWA. If they are not, set up a plan to keep communications open with them until they are. Avoid exerting a lot of energy into people who are not fully RWA.
Examples of individuals who are NOT RWA:
A person who is anxious to move, has a good job, but has not been financially prequalified with a lender (perhaps the most common).
Someone who is one-half of a decision making team asking you to show them a home for sale- with the other team member in absentia.
2. Thou shalt sell what is available today
This is an acronym known as SWAT. Selling what is available today is the best practice in any sales scenario, and especially real estate. In other retail industries, this phenomenon is referred to as FIFO (first in, first out). If your client has a pressing housing need, a renovation loan such as an FHA 203K is an example of how you can start in earnest selling what is available today.
3. Thou shalt overcome objections
The concept of overcoming objections is founded in the basic principles of the sales industry. If the client has an objection to performing, how do we best overcome that? Listening to your client empathically, and following commandment 4 is a good start.
4. Thou shalt answer questions with questions
Not in an obvious way. Relationships are built upon subtlety. A client telling you that school district is very important, and then asking you how the neighborhood school rates is a good chance to ask them why the school district rating is so important to them. It will surprise you how much they will reveal. And it will lead you closer to the holy grail of client connections: knowing their true Big Why. Every question asked of you is an important catalyst to ask a question of them. Asking “why?” until we get to the crux of the matter is how we build unbreakable rapport, and ultimately, trust.
5. Thou shalt exude enthusiasm
It will be obvious if you generally embrace and enjoy selling. It is an unmistakeable air that resounds and creates tremendous mind share in your client’s sphere of influence. If you are enthusiastic, your clients will be, too. Enthusiasm alone is the single greatest tool you possess in the creation of referrals and return business.
6. Thou shalt never speculate
It’s okay to dream big with your clients, but don’t paint any pictures for them. The road to hell is littered with the corpses of real estate agents who told their clients that they couldn’t lose; that the real estate market could never fail; that Real property always grows in value. What if you had told a client those words in October of 2007? Be enthusiastic, but never speculate. When you find your clients speculating with you, see commandment seven.
7. Thou shalt provide pure data
Clients must make real estate decisions based on numbers provided to them by you, the real estate professional. In a world of ever-available and at times inaccurate data, the information we mine for them shines ever more brightly, compared to what clients dig out unaided. Buyers must determine their purchase offer amount, and sellers must determine their listing price amount- based upon data you provide them. We cannot fill in those blanks. By providing accurate and timely data, clients can easily ascertain a proper purchase amount, or smoothly reconcile what a realistic sales price on their listing would be. If a client is unable to do this, you haven’t provided them with enough data.
8. Thou shalt ask everyone for their business
This one is simple. You literally have to ask everyone for their business, including your closest friends and even family. Just being a Realtor or a broker isn’t enough. You might have the world’s biggest website and a huge Facebook page. You might think that everyone around you knows you are a Realtor, and some of them might. If you haven’t asked them specifically to be their Realtor, they will pick someone else, every time. Practice your elevator speech, and start asking for business, and the referrals will come. Your success depends upon it.
9. Thou shalt clearly explain the processes
Having a good working understanding of the processes involved with a purchase or sale of real property comes only with time and transactional experience. If you are newer to the craft, seek the guidance of a more experienced agent or broker to relate the processes to your client. Provide a realistic timeframe based on data (average days on market, average closing length, etc…) so they are not surprised. Also, ask all listing clients what would happen if they received a full-price cash offer on day one, and they had to close and be out in 21 days. Could they? If not, they may not be RWA.
With a buyer, working a purchase to coincide with the termination of their rental agreement is a great example of the value in timing. Remember, a successful transaction leaves no one displaced. You are being hired to provide clarity to a is a very intimidating process for most folks. If they feel comfortable with your mastery, they will perform accordingly. Take this chart from the National Association of Realtors, for example:
10. Thou shalt not let a client die on the vine without referring them.
We all have had that one client that we couldn’t please, no matter how hard we tried. If you find yourself at wit’s end and you are feeling like the client is being lost, refer them to another agent. Be clear with your referral percentage expectation with the recipient agent, and get a signed referral agreement at the time you refer the client.
Remember, 25% of something is better than all of nothing. Some agents specialize in only agent-to-agent referrals.