Work to earn your clients’ trust

Private Property South Africa
Cathy Nolan

2The foundation of client service is the empathy you express and the trust you build with your clients. As a real estate consultant (rather than a “salesperson”) these two qualities are crucial to your success.

In today’s market, where products and services are increasingly the same, and consumers will buy from business that they feel have the same values and ethics as they do, in real estate, clients will do business with people whom they feel have the same values and ethics as they do, and whom they trust will treat them ethically.

Establish rapport by:

  • Being genuinely interested in the other person

  • Smiling, being friendly and helping them to relax with you.

  • Using their name.

  • Being an active listener and remembering what they have told you.

  • Always asking questions and talking about the other person's interests.

  • Sincerely making the other person feel important.

  • Being respectful and identifying with their dreams, concerns and situation

In terms of getting the information you need to work with, you need to understand what this information is. Your first need is to determine what the client’s situation is, and what their needs and wants are.

Buyers and sellers typically fit into three situations:

  • Problem (eg, a divorcing couple must sell their house as part of a settlement)

  • Situation (eg, their present house is too small for a growing family or too large once the children have left home)

  • Opportunity (eg, a partner gets a new job in a different location)

The most efficient way to get this information is by asking questions. The skill involved is in knowing the right way to ask questions and the right questions to ask. Questions are an incredibly powerful tool in selling. They help to build rapport, identify the clients' situation, wants, needs and motivation to buy or sell, and show clients that you are genuinely interested in them.

Research shows that top performers ask more questions and have a high listing success rate. Lower performers tend to tell and sell, rather than ask.

Sales consultants should query (diagnose) before they offer solutions. Then they can produce a customised plan and service to fit the client’s wants and needs.

Asking questions is only one part of the strategy for success in real estate. It needs to be backed up by an attitude and level of service that pleases the client and has them wanting to return.

By Jenny Swanson of Harcourts

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