Many Realtors, including myself, have an occupational hazard of talking too much. There is so much information to share in order to educate our clients that it is extremely easy to get carried away.
Anyone that knows me knows I am a “talker,” but it is simply because I love what I do; there is so much information to cover, and I want to show my knowledge and make sure the clients are fully prepared. Although we are our clients’ real estate resource, we also have to temper that with recognizing information overload and avoid turning off potential clients.
Here are three techniques to achieve that balance:
1. Two-Way Conversation – Clients are essentially interviewing agents to find knowledgeable representation, compatible personalities, top producers and a good deal. They already go into a meeting with certain priorities and questions, and are looking for certain compatibility. We may lead the conversation with our introduction and pitch, but we have to make the client feel empowered and open to participate just the same. A meeting should never be a lecture, but a back and forth discussion. You need to get to know the client as much as they need to get to know you.
Like any presentation, it is best to start with an introduction about yourself (as well as gratitude for the meeting itself), the agenda for the meeting (tour home, review presentation and materials, timeline and questions), and to put your audience at ease by letting them know your purpose is to get to know them as well as their goals.
During the tour of their home, let the client lead; this is the time to really break the ice. My rule of thumb is that if I have been talking for more than two minutes, or if I start to lose eye contact, I pause and/or ask questions so the client can feel comfortable to participate regularly.
If you show genuine interest and a warm personality, that is usually a major deciding factor if a potential client will choose to do business with you. Real estate is about the people.
2. Open-Ended Questions – The best way to engage people in a discussion is to ask open-ended questions (questions that are not answered by a simple “yes” or “no”). This will enable the client to show what their priorities and concerns are, provide you the full perspective, and show the client that what they have to say is most important. Here are some important questions I always try to cover in any listing meeting:
- Why have you decided to consider listing your home now?
- What are your top three most important attributes you are looking for in an agent?
- What are the best features of your home?
- What improvements have you made in the past few years?
- What are some issues that potential buyers may be concerned with?
- What do you think is important in showing your home well?
- What types of marketing and feedback are important to you?
- Do you have a listing price in mind?
- How flexible are you with staging, showings, price negotiation, repairs, moving?
- Do you have a commission rate in mind?
- What is your timeline you are looking to list and sell?
- Is there anything else I can answer about myself, the brokerage, or the process?
- When should we talk or meet again?
Validate their concerns and help them to understand how you are there to help. Don’t just tell people what they want to hear; rather, give people information that is realistic and will ultimately prepare them. Clients appreciate sincerity and gentle honesty.
3. Leave Information and Resources – Out of respect for everyone’s time, and to prevent information overload, it is vital to leave concise materials for clients to refer to afterward. This enables you to spend more time listening and building partnerships. A well-organized folder featuring summarized information and helpful resources such as: what you offer; what your brokerage offers; the listing/selling process; market statistics; recommended contacts; checklists; budget/net sheets; and more is valued by clients.
A reader-friendly Comparative Market Analysis with lots of listing photos is also essential. This all shows you are prepared, organized and truly a value-added resource. Clients can refer to this information at their convenience and prepare themselves in the way they are most comfortable. Some clients like hard copies, while some prefer internet resources, but either way, they will have your branded materials to centralize their process.
If you leave your meeting knowing that potential clients know you just as much as you know them, that is a key indicator that you have done your job well. Listing meetings go far beyond the marketing presentation. You can present all the information in the industry, but how the client feels about your compatibility and interest in their needs is usually the deciding factor on working together.
She can be reached at 630.346.3272 or Christine.Groves@CBexchange.com.