Trust and Loyalty…What is that? Every Real Estate Agent can achieve a business that has a Fan Club of followers that are loyal and trust you.
Every Real Estate agent dreams of clients that hang on their every word because they trust you. The added bonus is when clients are loyal to you as well. It’s like having your own fan club of admirers putting you on a pedestal. The two typically go hand in hand. If they are loyal they trust you and vice versa.
What do you do to actually achieve this dream? Is it just a dream? Is it too much to ask that the client appreciate the time and energy you exert to take care of them? All too often, an agent will spend countless hours with a client, just to find out days later that client is off to the races listing or buying a home with someone else. To make matters worse, the client will often call to “give you the good news” that they’ve decided to work with another agent or they just went under contract at a new home site. How can they expect you to be happy for them? What are they thinking?
Real Estate clients often expect you to be “Johnny on the Spot” for them without question, but range in their own level of loyalty. What is the factor that decides whether a client is going to be true to you or be attracted to the first realtor that comes along?
As a 28-year veteran in real estate sales, I can tell you that I thoroughly studied the experiences I had over the years in the area of loyalty and trust. It is a continuous journey in improving your communication and listening skills in order to achieve the ultimate results with the public. As a coach to real estate agents, this is an area we work on.
Here are the 10 top reasons clients will be loyal and trust you:
- You provide a luxury service for a luxury price. It’s not all about the money. Even if you offer lower rates thinking that this is the answer to more transactions, it is not. The value the client is getting is far more important than a few bucks saved. In real estate sales, we know that our earnings are the first to be placed on the chopping block. But, what if your client protected you from paycheck attack because the value you provided was far and away greater than mere money? Additionally, sometimes perceived value is at play here as well. If you have cheap prices, sometimes people think you’re a cheap agent. In the book “Influence” by Robert Cialdini, he starts off with a story about a Native American jewelry store in Arizona. The store’s owner was experiencing a disappointing lapse in turquoise sales. She kept discounting them, and discounting them, and they weren’t sparking the interest of any customers at all. Finally, in frustration, she decided to just clearance them out and sell them at half price. She was leaving for a business trip, so she left a card for her employee that read “Sell these at 1/2 price.” The employee misread the card, and made the price of every piece X2 the original price. You can imagine how upset the store owner was when she returned, until she found that every single piece had sold! The customers were perceiving that the constantly discounted turquoise had something wrong with it. It was only until it was the most expensive turquoise that they had ever seen that they just had to have it! Being a trusted real estate advisor who offers the insight the client needs into the market trends guiding them to transaction success is what they need in a professional, and you are worth every penny of the price that they will pay for your services.
- You convey confidence. Do you look hungry for a deal? If a client can see the need or smell the scent of your desperation, then it’s time to realize you won’t get anywhere with them. Ego is everything. You have to develop a “servant’s” attitude to help them get suburb service, advice, and put their best interest first. The best real estate agents like to solve problems for their clients, are really driven to help them have a great experience, and get what they want.
A good real estate agent runs their business professionally and doesn’t change their style of doing things or bend over backwards for every client they work with. Clients respect a confident professional and despite the fact they do not respect hungry, they do respect a level of confidence that makes them feel safe in working with you and they do like a take charge agent. Have you ever gone on a first date with someone who constantly asked you what was wrong, if you were upset, or what you didn’t like about them? They may have consistently apologized for this or that. They lacked self-confidence, and chances are, you did not want to go on a second date with this person! Theodore Roosevelt once said “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.” Be professional and have confidence, and the money will always follow.
- You have a strong web presence. Do you have a blog? Does it look like 1998 or is it kept up to date and current? Is there any content activity that makes it look like you are a resource today as well as being actively engaged? Are consumers following you? Does anyone ask for advice? Your website or blog site needs to be easy to use and clearly niched. because the consumer will get easily confused if you don’t have a clear message about who you are and what you do. You need to be active on social media and constantly remind people about who you are and what you do. It is so important. According to an article written for Yahoo! by Erin Richards-Kunkel, 74% of consumers cite relying on social media for business decisions. Facebook shares have the greatest influence on Google search rankings, and Facebook itself is the most visited website of all other websites. 56% of Facebook users check the site daily, and over 50% made their decision based on a recommendation from social media. 64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users shop from brands that they are followers of. With 5 million images uploaded to Instagram daily, 120,000 tweets per second, 89 minutes per month on average per user spent on Pinterest, and 800 million users on YouTube each spending an average of 15 minutes a day watching, there are a ton of channels and ways to reach people that actually generate sales from a loyal customer base. Educational content that is consistently good will cause the public to see you as a trusted contributor.
- You have a Mission and a Purpose.
What do you stand for? Every worthwhile company has a Mission or Purpose Statement. If you don’t, then you are just waiting in line for the next prospect that wants to use you. Stephen Covey, the author of the 7 Habits for Highly Effective People, wrote, “a mission statement is not something you write overnight, but fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life.” Have a clearly stated Mission/Purpose statement that flows into everything you do. Include it consistently on everything the consumer touches. Use it when you introduce yourself. Over time, everyone will understand your purpose and know you mean business and respect you for it.
- You have a social Are you a member of networking groups or clubs? Do you attend neighborhood functions, church gatherings, and other community events? Do you engage in charity? The list could go on and on. Social presence is having a name for yourself that is consistent and with a positive reflection. You have to live what you stand for in everything you do. Be consistent and don’t waver. According to an entrepreneur.com article and a study by Cone Communications and Echo Research, 82% of people consider social responsibility when deciding which brand to buy from. There’s also the positive benefits of meeting new people, and gaining new connections, and referrals. Testimonials in both written and live video showcase that you are worth the extra look. People want to follow those that others want to follow, and social media is a very effective strategy for being one of those people.
- You have a business and marketing plan. You know the type of client you work best with, and are targeting. You know what methods of marketing you need to use to reach your target client. Do you know your client target? You certainly don’t want to work with people you don’t like or feel comfortable with.
If you want to have a very strong attraction to others, then you will need to identify your target clients down to preferably the last detail and craft ads and emails that match their goals, aspirations, and problems they need solving.
It’s easier to fill a demand then create one. According to the US Small Business Administration, business planning done right connects the dots in your business so you get a better picture of the larger picture. Strategy is required for success, and without having tactics or strategic alliance, you might be overlooking products that are not right for your target market or not realizing the unexpected costs that may arise.
- You’re not a salesperson, but a teacher.
Do you provide education to your clients? Set up an educational autoresponder, a monthly newsletter, an e-mail when you see a value article to share, and make sure they know you are their resource for even the new local restaurant that just opened up, the neighborhood sitter, or the best local vet. If you’re an authority on real estate, and an authority on your particular neighborhood, it will be easy for people to refer others to you. Nathan Barry, owner of Convertkit and author of the book “Authority” realized that he had a lot of products on the market but he wasn’t selling any of them. He didn’t have the money to do a lot of advertising, so he brainstormed for other ways to get his product out there. He realized over time, that by providing education, and free newsletters and blogs, he was building his e-mail subscription list and customer base. The second he put out his next product, people jumped all over it. They recognized him as an authority on the subject, they trusted him, and they knew that he had provided them with tons of useful information in the past. In the first 24 hours, he sold $26,679 worth of eBook copies. To date he’s made over $400,000 in eBook sales, on top of running the popular e-mail list serve conversion program.
- You think outside of the box.
Do you do things like every other agent in your office? Do you like surprises? Well, chances are, so do your clients. They expect you to be professional and knowledgeable, but it’s nice if every once in a while you give them something they didn’t expect. Gifts are always a wonderful touch as long as you adhere to your local real estate laws, or even a recommendation for a new restaurant would be appreciated. You can offer classes or workshops as a way to reach out to new clients. You can put special touches on your Open Houses and serve food and drinks that others might not have thought of. You can arrange or coordinate special mixers in your neighborhood to get folks together. Famed scientist Sir William Bragg once said, “The most important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts, but to discover new ways of thinking about them.” Thinking outside of the box is another way that you can do things differently from other real estate agents.
- You provide a personal touch.
According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 small businesses fail in the first 18 months. Forbes magazine seems to think that one of the top five reasons for that is not maintaining personal relationships. Real Estate Sales is all about relationships in order to achieve a successful business. Sales are always more effective with existing relationships and when you have already provided value. Value can be providing information and proving yourself as an authority, as discussed previously, but it can also be as simple as being a neighbor or a friend. Start with those you already know. When was the last time you sent out a handwritten thank you or “Thinking of You” note? A thoughtful voicemail or text message is a welcome surprise for anyone. Anytime you can keep yourself on your client’s mind is a positive thing, and will create a meaningful and lasting relationship. Can you imagine making yourself so valuable that they make sure their friends are aware of you? Personalized service is paramount in achieving lifelong relationships. Providing invaluable education will cause you to be needed. Building relationships takes a while, but if you learn to follow up consistently the rewards will be in larger paychecks and greater satisfaction for you by the achievement of loyal clients.
- You set goals for yourself.
The best teachers and coaches know that in order to succeed, you must have goals. You must know where you’re going. It’s not enough to have a mission statement and business plan, you then have to make that plan come to life. Often times, we feel that knowing what we are trying to accomplish is enough. It’s not. We need to have monthly, weekly, and even daily goals to keep ourselves on track and accountable. We need to check those goals regularly to see if we are making progress on the benchmarks. Without a solid plan, your business will spin in circles and the public will not trust or want to be loyal to you.
To summarize these ten tips, be yourself and make people fit you. Phony sales people are transparent and rarely last in this industry. Build relationships that have cohesion so they will outperform any other kind of business building tactic. Put the time into a consistent campaign, showcase a strong character, and build a strong community with rich educational content. You will succeed and achieve the business you want!
Cindy Bishop is the Managing Director of Cindy Bishop Worldwide, a real estate education company specializing in Continuing Education and Business Development to the Real Estate Community. Cindy is an active coach specializing in real estate agent development.