Exactly how is each prospect, client, and their related problem different?
As a real estate professional, how you adapt what you do to this essential service truth and how you communicate this reality determines whether prospects and clients will refer new business to you.
Referrals are significant business drivers, so anything that interferes with clients referring undermines business growth.
How each prospect, client, and property is different is the real point of what you do and of the services you provide. How aware you and your clients are of this truth is crucial to your success.
In a busy market and over many years, continuous success -- liberally loaded with ongoing pressure and stress -- can distract you. Your professional focus can shift from the uniqueness of each client and the problem you solve to concentrate on similarities between transactions -- the "sameness."
This mental shift is applauded when a "sameness" focus initiates economies of scale to control expenses and provides time-saving reusables for marketing and advertising. On a larger scale, target marketing concentrates your business activities on defined market groups with clear similarities. This "sameness" has practical applications, including:
- Template-style promotional content for everything from listing presentations to post-closing follow-ups ensures your message effortlessly remains consistent.
- Standardized email and other digital campaign formats inexpensively allow repeat reach-outs to past clients and new prospects in greater numbers than door-to-door canvassing.
Digital content, social media, online practices, and mobile computing facilitate a "sameness" focus. However, concentrate too intently on "sameness" and successfully sustaining your real estate practice may be challenging.
The real estate truth is that every property is unique. That makes seller, buyer, and the resulting real estate transaction unique, too. At the heart of this are the unique definitions of success created by each seller, each buyer, and you.
From your perspective, success is achieved when the deal closes and generates commission. Through many transactions, you have worked with clients: either sellers who sold or buyers who bought. Do your clients always feel as successful -- and hopefully more successful -- than you do?
Which of the following two statements accurately describe typical reactions for your clients after their transaction closes?
Scenario 1: Clients feel dragged through an often-confusing, usually-stressful legal and financial process with you in charge, but at least they ended up with something -- not what they initially expected, but something.
Scenario 2: Clients are aware of you continuously tweeking the legal and financial process to accommodate their unique situation and significantly reduce confusion and stress, until they achieve more than they expected.
In Scenario 1, clients have completed a real estate transaction and are ready to move on, but do they genuinely feel "tell all my friends" successful? On contemplation, they may have reservations about what happened, or didn't, so they hesitate to refer you. Since they may have initially seemed pleased with results -- from your perspective -- lack of referrals may surprise you.
In Scenario 2, clients feel that the success was theirs. Since you both understood their definition of success, you were able to achieve more than they expected. You knew which aspects of the property would mean more to them and which features would not. You were also clear how to make the process less confusing and stressful for them. On contemplation, they are clear about how you helped make things happen and won't hesitate to refer you. In fact, they may champion you to friends and family.
When you do not clarify the prospect's or client's definition of success from the start, you miss opportunities to understand what makes them different and how differently they see real estate. Do you listen for success?
- Buyers -- Hearing a buyer's "dream home" description, are you mentally matching it with listings? This order-taking passivity is not listening.
- Sellers -- Hearing details of sellers' attachment to their property, are you mentally erasing their presence in the property with staging strategies? This marketing is not listening.
Active listening involves asking questions about statements that clients make and standards they insist on, so you understand exactly what they mean by what they say. Questions clarify what they value. Resulting discussions can ensure practical, achievable goals are set. If you do not confirm information and goals with the client, neither they nor you will concentrate on what really matters.
For example, buyers may be distracted by decor issues while sellers may be off-track reacting to negative buyer remarks about the home. Distractions waste valuable time -- time that may make a crucial difference, especially in a hot market. What approach do you take to focus on a client's achievable definition of success?
- For inspiration as you rethink your seller approaches and for more ideas on uncovering seller uniqueness, consider 6 Home Seller Procrastinations: What Are You Waiting For? or 3 Tips for Seller's 'Stay Or Go?' Dilemma as a place to start exploring seller perspectives.
- To discover different buyer viewpoints and gather insight on recognizing opportunities to draw out uniqueness, consider Home Buyers: Seven Insights Into Confident Decision Making and Five Core Matching Questions For Buyers.
Source: "What's Your Point?" by PJ Wade