One of the agents who responded to my survey about what you did and didn’t learn in real estate classes said he or she wished they’d taught how to make yourself valuable to real estate prospects and clients.
Can you do that? Sure you can. And you can do it even if you’re a new agent.
You can begin making yourself valuable to real estate prospects and clients by giving them good information.
To begin at the beginning, with the prospects you need in order to have clients, use your prospecting letters to offer information that will help them.
Some people (in all industries) hesitate to give information away “for free,” because they fear that their prospects will no longer need them. In most cases, the opposite is true.
When you give potential buyers guidelines for making a home search, they realize that there’s more to it than they realized. They also realize that you can save them hours, days, or weeks of searching. When you warn them about pitfalls, they realize that you are on their side and that they need your protection.
When you give a buyer client good advice on writing an acceptable offer, negotiating, and dealing with home inspections, you become their shoulder to lean on.
When you give home sellers advice on how to get ready for market, they realize that there is far more to it than putting a sign in the yard. My FSBO Prospecting letters are a good example of giving advice that brings prospects back to you.
Those 11 letters point out the various tasks that need to be performed in order to effectively market a home. By the time they’ve read them all, homeowners will come to realize that they may not be up to the task, but that you are, and you know how to market effectively.
Part of making yourself valuable to real estate prospects and clients is answering the unspoken question: “Why?”
For instance, buyer prospects need to know why their first step should be getting mortgage loan pre-approval. Sellers need to know why they should remove collections and family photos – and why they need to vacate the house when it’s being shown. Those who are thinking of buying new construction need to know why they do need a buyer’s agent who will protect and guide them.
They may not ask, which means they may not listen. Tell them why even when they don’t ask.
“Because” is considered a valuable word in copywriting, and it is a valuable word for you in communicating with real estate prospects and clients.
You can make yourself valuable by answering questions clearly and completely.
How many times have you been frustrated over not getting clear answers to your questions – whether about real estate or anything else? How many times have you felt that the person answering you was in a hurry to end the conversation? Your prospects and clients are no different.
Some people are embarrassed to ask again if they don’t understand at first. So when you answer questions, ask if they have further questions or need to know more. Show that you are in no hurry to dismiss them or their questions.
Learn all you can about your territory and your niche, but if you don’t have the answer to a question, don’t be afraid to say so. Tell them you don’t know, but you’ll find out. Then do it.
Agents who return calls and emails promptly are more valuable to real estate prospects and clients. (And everyone else involved)
When I begin work on an agent bio, I first read the answers to my questionnaire, then read the agent’s testimonials. Comments about agents who have the most glowing testimonials almost always include mention of the agent’s availability. “He was always there for us,” and “She always got back to us immediately” are common phrases.
That doesn’t mean that you should be available 24/7. In my opinion, you should not. It does mean that you should be available during your stated hours and that you should stretch that a bit when you’re in the middle of a hot negotiation.
Yes, you should have stated hours.
Keep your prospects and clients satisfied by telling them when you will and will not be available. If you don’t work on Saturday or Sunday for religious reasons, tell them so. Then they won’t feel frustrated if they try to reach you and get no response.
If you take an hour off each evening to dine with your family, let them know that you’ll return their calls after a set time, and up until whatever other hour you choose. Tell them what time you begin responding to calls and emails in the morning. People are more cooperative when they know what to expect.
Past clients and those in your sphere are prospects too…
They may become future clients and they may refer others to you, so they are valuable. Past clients and those in your sphere of influence are so important that I often refer to them as an agent’s personal gold mine. Make yourself valuable to them by being their real estate resource.
By the way, this is something I wish I’d known when I started in real estate. My first brokers didn’t pay attention to them, so didn’t teach me to pay attention. It took years before I woke up to the value of past clients. That’s why I harp about it to you at every opportunity.
Stay in touch with them and always be willing to answer their questions about the market, about specific properties, or about real estate in general. (But don’t give advice about markets where you have no expertise.) Consider the time you spend talking with them as an investment in your future.
When you stay in touch, be friendly and informative. Resist the urge to make every contact an ad for your services. Send market reports, just listed/just sold cards, your newsletter if you write one, and/or something fun, such as my Event-themed Staying in Touch Letters.
To make yourself even more valuable, take time for an occasional phone call just to say “I was thinking of you,” or to send a magazine or online article that you know would interest a specific person.
And finally, you make yourself valuable to clients by doing the best job possible.
You do it by staying on top of every detail, making sure every deadline is met, keeping confidential information confidential, and protecting your client’s interests in every way.
But you already knew that…
Top agent Image courtesy of supakitmod at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Agent on the phone Image courtesy of iprostocks at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Edith Schreiber says
Great stuff, as always!