Your most valuable asset as a real estate professional is the confidence that your clients have in you. Every seller must be absolutely confident that you can deliver the results.
We both know that you’re the best possible person for your sellers to rely on to get their homes sold at the prices they want, in the time-frames they want.
But here’s the thing… It doesn’t matter that you and I know this – your seller has got to know this as well!
Getting your sellers to know that you are on their team can be challenging. Especially if you’re working with expired/cancelled listings, you may be working with sellers who have been burned by bad agents in the past. And even if your listings are fresh, you’ll be working with people who have been conditioned by the media to believe that it’s a horrible time to try to sell a house.
It’s up to you to build the trust that needs to exist between agent and seller – and to do that, here are seven phrases that should never pass your lips:
Sorry, but in real estate, there is no “late.” Being late demonstrates a tremendous amount of disrespect to your sellers, which is why you’ll often find that late agents are agents without any clients to their names.
When you set an appointment you are making a commitment to be at a certain place at a certain time. If that time rolls around and you are not there, you just demonstrated an inability to keep your commitments. That means you just committed a huge credibility no-no. In fact evidence suggests that when you are 60-seconds late for a first meeting with someone, you lose 50% of your credibility instantly.
If you’ve struggled with tardiness in the past, it’s up to you to start taking action immediately to ensure this never happens again. Set your alarm clock extra early, leave the office ahead of time to account for traffic – basically, do whatever you have to do to show up on time.
When you were a kid, did anyone ever tell you, “Here – let me show you how to do this…”. Pretty frustrating, right? Chances are you didn’t want to be shown something – you wanted the opportunity to do it yourself!
In the same way, agents who tell their prospects, “Let me show you what I’m going to do for you,” risk coming across as arrogant or patronizing. Telling a client that you’ll “show” him how special you are demonstrates an agent-centered point of view – not the customer-centered perspective that actively showcases your value as a salesperson (rather than just alluding to it).
This distinction is best illustrated with an example. If your car breaks down, do you want the mechanic to show you how he’s going to fix it or do you want him to go ahead and do what he’s best at (that is, actually fixing your car!)?
As a real estate agent, a far better approach is to always speak in a way that puts your client’s interests first. Focus on results by saying things like, “If you could get your home sold for top dollar and make this move, is that something you would get excited about?” When you get an enthusiastic “Yes” back, you can respond with, “Great! Let’s set up a time to get together to go over how to make that happen for you.”
Never once do you undercut your own strengths and abilities by offering to “show” the prospect how you’ll help achieve these goals. Instead, you convey your confidence and expertise by putting your client’s needs and wants first in every part of your conversation.
Sellers are looking for an agent that gets results. And they are counting on you to be the “can-do” problem-solving miracle-worker (the bar’s high, I know!) There is absolutely nothing you can’t do for a prospect or a seller, so don’t even think about letting this phrase enter your vocabulary.
Of course there are things that neither you – nor anyone else – can do, as well as things that you are not willing to do. However, your focus and communication must constantly be tuned to what CAN be done and how a challenge CAN be accomplished.
If, for example, a Seller asks you to reduce your commission. Instead of saying, “I can’t….” or “I won’t…,” simply say, “I appreciate you asking. And even though my commission isn’t going to be reduced, here’s what I am going to do… I am going to go to work and do everything it takes to get you top dollar for your home so you can get as much money as possible in your pocket, because that’s really what you want, right?
See, you can tell someone “No.” The magic is in learning HOW to tell them “No” in a way that lets them see you as the person they still want to say “YES” to.
Similarly, as a professional, there’s never, “I don’t know.” There might be instances where you say, “That’s a great questions. Let me check into that and get back to you with the best answer for you.” – but there are never instances where this is an acceptable excuse.
The number one complaint the Sellers and Buyers have about real estate agents is poor communication. When you are slow to return a phone call or to follow through on a commitment with a client, you put a gaping wound in your credibility.
Have you ever had a client you needed to call back or see, and you knew it was going to be an unpleasant conversation – so you avoided it? Or procrastinated on actually making the call? You should realize by now that putting off the call doesn’t make it easier or better. In fact, usually the longer you take to get back to them, the worse it gets.
Plus, if you’re slow to respond or act with them, how do you think you’re training them to respond to you when you need them to make a decision or take action? You’ve conditioned them to believe that it’s OK for them to be slow to respond.
Take action now! Make the call. Show them you mean business. Create a pattern of promptness and urgency in the transaction. Everything works better in real estate when it’s done quickly and promptly.
News flash – the sky isn’t falling. You’ve probably heard the quote, “What you focus on EXPANDS.” Similarly, the words you use to describe a situation can either escalate a problem or promote a solution.
As an agent, your clients look to your to be the “deal-maker” and the “problem-solver.” When you talk about something as if it might be a “deal-breaker,” you’re focusing on the problem – not the solution. Remember, what you focus on expands. In this way, agents can take a tiny issue and escalate it into a major problem, simply with the language they use to address it.
Your job is to make the issues go away by finding solutions and negotiating “win-win” agreements. Don’t turn a molehill into a mountain and stress others out by making the issue bigger than it is. Instead of saying “Oh no!!! This could be a deal-breaker,” a much more powerful approach is to respond, “It looks like we have a situation to work through here.”
Be the calming influence and let everyone see that when trouble arises, you’re the capable captain of the ship who knows how to guide the transaction through the storm.
What’s worse than any of the individual phrases listed above? Failing to stay in touch with your sellers at all! Again…this is included in the #1 complaint people have about their agents….failure to communicate.
By ignoring your sellers and failing to provide them with regular updates, you’ve demonstrated that their sale isn’t a priority of yours – even if what’s really happening is that you’re afraid to report how little progress there’s been on their listing. Even if all you have to report is showing feedback and basic market statistics, make the effort to be in touch with your sellers at least once a week.
You may not always have good news to share, but at least your clients will know that they’re in good hands.