There’s a downside to living in a society in which endless information from the internet is available (unless you live in North Korea) at the touch of a button. As a real estate professional,it has become increasing difficult to have a conversation with a client without them first emailing or texting me information they had found online.
There’s nothing wrong with having informed clients, in fact, the correctly-informed ones are a real estate pro’s best friend. But there’s a difference between an intelligent and informed client, and one who obsesses over every internet rumor and follows the trails of every online “expert.”
For example, a new client of mine became so obsessed with information she found online, that she would “fact” check every piece of information before she could make a decision. She treated Google, the county tax records, Zillow, and Realtor websites like they were her best friends and close financial advisors.
This client would not only send me text messages about listings,she also included images, driving directions, and fun facts, like when the house was built.
All this texting was overwhelming, and especially to an agent who knew exactly what she needed. There finally came a point when I had to say, “Wait a minute. I have been in the business for 20 years, which makes me the expert, not the uninformed, questionable, and outdated information you’re sending me.”
I built my business on three core principles: Trust, Loyalty, and Integrity.
Trust is the sort of thing you build from the bottom up. It begins on the first day a client meets their agent. You have to listen from the start to every word they say. This is incredibility important to your relationship with him or her, because it sets the stage for future loyalty (a “conspiracy among friends,” if you will).
If they don’t believe you can trust that agent, they will be reluctant to share their true motivation for selling or buying a house. Trust is the first step to opening up real dialog, and so trust takes longer to build. But the benefits of working with someone who trusts you are worth the time you put into the process.
Loyalty springs from Trust. Believing that information that they shared with their agent won’t be used against them is liberating for a client and forges bonds of Loyalty.
Loyalty cuts both ways. A client is more likely to feel loyal to someone who is more interested in a long-term relationship than making a fast dollar. Pointing out your legitimate concerns about a property is both sincere and a way to impart your genuine concern for your client.
Integrity is what keeps everything in balance. It is merely believing in the Golden Rule, and putting it into practice: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto to you.”
There is rarely an argument at closing time if both parties feel they were treated well, and with respect. The reverse is just as likely to spark the kind of negative experience that is potentially damaging to client relationships, and avoidable.
When building client relationships, keep these tips to keep in mind:
Merrick Damon Williams
MerrickDamon Residential Brokerage
Georgia, Florida, Costa Rica