Category Archives: Clients

Client Knows Best

bfde9ad766297d20f829ded2996ab3c2Selling real estate can be one of the most rewarding careers around. What other profession affords its members so many opportunities to become proficient in a variety of disciplines? Brokers and agents alike often find themselves wearing many hats during the course of a transaction. Aside from being a parent, I cannot think of many jobs that require the level of flexibility and expertise that real estate professionals do. 

I frequently work with first time home buyers. They are my favorite to serve but often require a greater scope of expertise than a seasoned home buyer. As real estate agents, we must be prepared to adapt and deal with a variety of emotions, situations, and circumstances each time we meet a new client.

Keeping abreast of the changes in real estate law and with new ways to stream line business is something most of us do without thinking. Being skilled and informed in these areas is the key to achieving and maintaining a successful real estate business. However, we also need keep in mind the important role that our approach to each client plays and also be mindful of the importance that strong interpersonal skills play when working with people of all types.

Taking steps to learn and understand as much as we can about what makes each individual client tick often makes the difference between a successful close and a lead that drops of the radar. Listening to a client who may be afraid or unsure will go a long way towards them feeling comfortable with their decision to sell their home. 

What approach works for one, will not work for others. The aggressive sales approach often will frighten a new buyer who is in the beginning stages of their journey. Letting the client dictate the pace and rate that information is disseminated is something that we all need to consider. Some clients do not want to be contacted immediately when a lead comes in.  Others call every ten minutes with a question or concern.

Shifting our approach is not easy, but is a critical part of the equation. The range of people we encounter can vary from those who know everything to those who are clueless. 

Being able to add the skill of discernment to successfully meet a client wherever they may be in their process is sometimes more important than having all the right answers about a home’s features or the steps involved with buying and selling a home. Remaining mindful of their needs is a sure fire way to keep buyers and sellers feeling confident in not only our abilities as agents, but in our abilities to relate to them on a personal level.

Agents who understand that the job is equal parts business operations, law, customer service, and psychology will be in an excellent position when their referral business begins to grow. Word about how we interact and our level of patience and understanding will get around. Creating connections with our clients does not mean becoming their therapist, or best friend. That is a completely separate blog.

It means doing everything we can in our power and scope to leave every customer feeling like they are the only one. It means holding their hand, offering guidance as the transaction moves along, and giving a high five at closing when the keys are handed over. Every effort agents make to this end will increase the chances that when they pass along your name to their friends and family it will be done with a smile on their face.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

There is no better feeling than when someone calls you out of the blue and would like to discuss a new listing. This is especially true if the home is large and worth quite a bit more than most listings in the area. I live in a very diverse community where the prices can range from the low 30’s to over 400K. My last call was one of the out of the blue calls. I answered the phone and landed a listing appointment. Easy peasy. Until it wasn’t.

In this line of work there is a dance that we all do. For me a listing presentation is just as much about deciding whether or not I would like to work with a seller as they are about whether or not they want to list with me. In my experience, a good fit for both seller and agent is critical to a successful transaction.

I began to spend time putting together my presentation. This property was a unique property and finding comps was quite a challenge. I had some background and the seller had informed me that she had just fired her last agent. Red Flag. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt since she shared that he did not list the property on the MLS and they were upset that they were not getting any showings. In my research, I discovered that the home was listed for an insane amount. Not just high, but fall down, hit your head on something price. I proceeded anyway with the work needed to give her a comprehensive picture of the market and what a realistic expectation for sales price could be. She originally had let me know that she wanted to walk away with $150K after the sale. Red Flad #2. I knew that the comps and what they owed would not even come close to this net amount. Seller’s wanting more than they will actually will get? Unheard of. Convincing them of otherwise was going to be a challenge. I am always up for a challenge.

I am an optimist which is why what happened next is so frustrating. The day before our scheduled appointment I called to confirm the time. She informed me that she had decided to go with another Realtor that she had spoken to a couple of days ago. This would not have been such a big deal if I had not spent money on materials for the listing presentation and the hours of time preparing a very complicated CMA. Consummate professional that I am, I wished her the best. She seemed surprised and felt bad about not calling me sooner. By the end of the call she had waffled and wanted to ask her husband about still meeting with me and she could not find him but wanted me to call her later in the afternoon. I had an opportunity to swoop in and have her choose me, thereby bailing on another agent, who, she mentioned, was a friend for a long time.

Needless to say, i did not. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether or not to stay or go when it comes to working with a seller. Other times the decision is clear before you even get out of the gate. In our world, some consider it crazy to walk away from a potential listing, no matter the circumstances. The rule of thumb I have learned is that all people show things about themselves. These are clues about how things may roll as they pick up and get running. I consider that had just dodged a bullet and potential disaster before I did any other work. Instincts can be just as valuable as facts in real estate. Sometimes walking away is the most profitable choice.