Trusted advisors in every industry whether its wealth management, health and psychology or even real estate, all recognize that it is critical for their clients to have great trust and confidence in their advisor’s ability to assist them. You can be the smartest, most experienced, most knowledgeable agent in your area, but none of that will matter unless your clients trusts you.
How is this trust and confidence developed? It begins the first time you meet a perspective buyer or seller. Your ability to provide the best possible advice will be limited by the lack of information you know about your client and the real estate market. In other words, you must know everything about your client, and in order to know everything about your client, you must literally ask dozens and dozens of questions. Asking questions also gives you an ideal opportunity to build rapport with your clients and prospects. By giving people the opportunity to talk about themselves, you’ll find your prospects will become far more comfortable sharing additional information and trusting your judgment. Not surprisingly, because most people enjoy talking about themselves to someone that listens and cares, it will be very easy for your prospects to feel very comfortable having you represent them.
A good rule of thumb to apply to the initial phase of your relationship with a new client is, “There is no such thing as asking too many questions.” If you have less than 3-4 pages of notes, you aren’t asking enough questions and will not have all of the information necessary to be successful representing your client. Remember, a strategy is only as good as the quality of the information it is based on.
Possibly the most critical question that must be asked throughout the entire warm-up is, “Why?” By asking the question “Why?” after every comment, answer or action taken by your perspective buyer or seller, you will gain a deep understanding of who they are and will also gain great insight into their motivation or their “hot button”. Here are some great examples of how the “Why?” question can be applied:
- Ask them why they want to buy or sell?
- After each question, ask them why they gave the answer they gave.
- After each comment, ask them why they gave the comment they gave.
- Ask them why they didn’t call you back.
- Ask them why did or didn’t like a particular property.
- Ask them why they won’t make the seller an offer.
- Ask them why they won’t reduce their price?
Keep in mind that you can recognize what’s important to your clients and prospects just by asking them the question “Why?”