A simple formula for success in Real Estate:
A deep understanding of the market, including the trends and available inventory, applied to a deep understanding of your client’s needs.
The first part of the approach above is not that difficult. Any good researcher who spends the time reviewing inventory and activity is able to develop real estate market expertise. The real challenge is being able to gather enough information about your clients, and then having enough experience to apply that knowledge to real estate market opportunities. Developing this strength is closely akin to having the kind of skills that a psychiatrist has. It’s not enough to know what someone wants. It’s imperative that an agent knows why they want it.
Sadly enough, it doesn’t matter how much talent you have. If you don’t have the right information your conclusion as to what will work for your clients is likely to be seriously flawed. That’s why it is an absolute must to gather as much information as you possibly can about your buyers and sellers before you develop your strategy. Consider the following examples:
- A buyer tells you they must close as quickly as possible. You spend several days working with them only to find that their immediate relative has a license and will present any offers. Now you have a mess on your hands. If you had known about the relative in advance, your strategy would have been much better.
- A seller could tell you they’re underwater with respect to the value of their home and must list their home for significantly more than what it’s worth. You don’t think to ask about a short-sale option with their bank and the home doesn’t sell. Ultimately, the seller lists with another agent that finds out about the short-sale option, lists it for less, and sell it immediately. You’ve wasted both time and money for nothing because you were missing key information.
Obviously, knowing all of the facts usually makes a big difference in the conclusions you draw. The best approach is always to gather as much information as you possibly can. And, with the right script, this is far easier than you would imagine. The key to successfully gathering information is to be courteous enough to get an approval before you begin asking lots of questions. The following script is nearly fool-proof.
“___________, if you don’t mind, I would like to ask you a few questions to get a better feel for what you’re looking for, then, instead of wasting your time offering suggestions that don’t make sense, I’ll be happy to share the information I have and make suggestions as to what may work and we can see is there is a fit. Is that okay?”
The answer will be yes nearly 100% of the time. If you add that there is absolute confidentiality with whatever is discussed, you’ll be surprised at how much information your client will offer. This approach is always the best one and may be the only fool-proof approach to building a strong relationship and providing the best possible service to all of your clients.