This blog post comes from our YPN contributor of the year Marco Da Silva. This is one of Marco’s posts that was originally published in August of 2016.
I’m about to share one of the most valuable skill sets I’ve developed over my 14 years of practicing Real Estate. One that has transformed the way I do business and has helped me attract and retain more clients than ever! It starts with the greatest kept secret I’ve learned as far as client services go. So what’s this secret? Answer: Your clients want you in the drivers seat! Whether they trust you in the driver’s seat, well that’s a whole different thing, but I’ll try my best to get you there. Let me first clarify the driver’s seat analogy and why today it’s a default in my business environment. Like most experienced Realtors, I have spent my early years in real estate mastering the art of making mistakes, telling my clients what they want to hear and always doing it their way. It’s a scattered approach that ends up costing both you and your client: time, money and unnecessary stress. Mastering the art of making mistakes you ask? More specifically, I mastered the art of learning from my mistakes and how to avoid them, which many fail to do. It’s through learning from these mistakes, along with my passionate pursuit of excellence that together have led me to become the great and well-respected Realtor I am today.
There’s a time and a place for everything. Running numbers for the first time during a multiple offer is not the right time nor place. Your sellers trying to get a hold of their mortgage lender 30 minutes before their counter offer expires only to find possible mortgage penalties – not a good idea either. Finding out your buyers don’t have enough money on closing, ouch! Oh and the don’t worry, I’ve been pre-approved just to find out 30 showings later that their not… no comment. Driving around aimlessly showing homes with no direction or process of elimination. Watching them struggle last minute to get a hold of Grandpa to borrow money for a deposit they don’t have… Well I think you get the idea. Successful client road maps can avoid most of these unnecessary issues, leaving your clients with a clear mind to concentrate on the things that matter most to them through their home buying/selling journey. Besides you have a life too, don’t waste time on mediocrity get good at what you do.
Here are a few tips to follow that will help you gain control of your business and more importantly of your clients’ success.
“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” – Paulo Coelho
Get your clients to understand the how. Most clients have good intentions when it comes to trying to take over the wheel. I found they generally do this, not because they think they know it all, but mostly because they don’t believe you know enough. Some may feel you just don’t have what it takes to outrun the competition. Let’s change that! Show your clients how you’ll help them succeed and why it’s important you do it right! As an example, I’ve designed a great buyer presentation that takes my client into the future of a multiple offer scenario where I have to sell a prospective seller and their seller representative on our offer, by eliminating any uncertainties they may have on our ability to execute a smooth closing. This getting the seller to yes strategy often leaves our competitive buyers in the dust! I then remind my clients that I can’t do this alone and if there’s a weak link in our team, none of this will be possible. When they understand the importance of being well equipped with a great strategy, they become motivated to work with me as a professional, organized client. Stop selling your clients on the destination (transaction) alone; they want to know how you’ll get them there. You’re finally in the drivers seat!
“Good is the enemy of great.” – Jim Collins
Stand for something great! For those who know me well, I’ve never been afraid of telling it like it is. Realtors don’t help, great Realtors do. So whether you’re in your first year of Real Estate or your 15th year, stand for something great! When you set high client service expectations, you set the groundwork for designing an amazing client services road map. Every successful business has a clear client process designed from start to finish, why should your business be any different? Here’s how I look at it, I can offer someone satisfactory service and they’ll probably do business with me. But they will never refer me to their friends or family unless I offer them an exceptional experience with amazing results. With over 80% of my business coming from referrals alone, I can tell you that I have an invested interest in getting this right. Not to mention that treating others the way I want to be treated, is all I know.
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn
Design your client service road map. It’s imperative that you get started on designing a pro-active plan, because if you don’t, both you and your client will fall into someone else’s. No sale or purchase is the same, but lucky for you there are similar needs most sellers and buyers have. Start by creating personas of typical clients you may serve. Example: First time buyers, First time sellers, Upsizing, Downsizing, Investors, etc. Remember that your clients often compete with other buyers or sellers. It’s your job to design an outstanding client services road map that simplifies this journey leaving your clients’ competitors in the dust. This road map should anticipate many of the obstacles you will face together. Your road map should include a step-by-step process from qualifying your clients to setting expectations from one another. It’s the right way, what’s best for you, no short cuts, here’s what you need to hear, now let’s go get them, are you in or out approach! Your clients will love you for it! This will be the beginning of your refined and professional real estate career. Whether you’re an experienced Realtor or new to the industry, there’s no reason why you can’t proactively design and follow a successful win/win road map that leaves your competitors far behind. Organize the right time and place for every step and leave your clients in awe!
“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1000 percent Return on Energy!” – Brian Tracy
Qualify your clients. It’s not always about your clients; remember you’re a professional. Every disorganized client experience will take time and energy away from servicing your other clients the right way. It will also take time away from your life and time away from building your business; you’re better than that! Manage your time! It won’t just benefit the moment, but once you learn to master your time you’ll have room to improve on yourself, your business and your processes. You’ll keep getting better and more effective which is what your clients are looking for. For most potential new clients, the worst advice you can give them is to get pre-approved first. You have no idea of their knowledge or experience in selling or buying nor do you know of their goals, financial strength or level of commitment. We devised a program that informs clients of all the cost associated with buying and/or selling, the process from signing to closing and our expectation of them should they choose to work with us, and more importantly what they can expect of us. If after our meeting we feel there’s a common level of professionalism and our clients are ready to commit to our higher level of service, then we put it in writing and begin our journey through our guided clients services process. They absolutely love it!
This OREA blog contribution comes from guest blogger Marco Da Silva. Marco is a Broker of Record and the President of Asima Realty Ltd. He helps consumers buy and sell real estate in the GTA. He has served on many Toronto Real Estate Board committees, including MLS, Consumer Relations, and Buyer Services.