Things that matter often happen quickly in real estate. To succeed and to help clients succeed, real estate professionals must earn trust from first contact with prospective clients. Professionals must also sustain trust with clients through often stressful, quick-response decision making and, occasionally, when things do not work out as hoped.
A buyer or seller benefits from quickly bonding with their chosen real estate professional, so they can all get to work on the tasks associated with buying or selling a property. How does a professional make it easy for buyers or sellers to believe their trust will be well placed when invested in someone they have only just met?
• Confident, articulate, respectful professionals are aware of the impression they make and how to earn trust from first contact, online or off. Less polished professionals often undermine opportunity by concentrating on what they want to have happen rather than on what the prospect is attempting to achieve.
• Referrals from friends or family can help get the relationship off to a good start, but the prospect’s leap of faith must still be based on their reaction to the impression the professional makes.
• Professionals with a strong ethical and results-oriented reputation in the community may more easily earn trust in those they just meet. Once again, it’s how they perform that really earns trust, not just their reputation.
How do you make it easy for prospects to quickly give you their trust? How do you make it easy for clients to sustain trust in you?
RESPECT is a vital element in earning trust. This materializes as consideration for feelings and beliefs, paying attention to questions and responses, treating others with courtesy and kindness, and maintaining an attitude of deference or admiration for the knowledge and goals of prospects and clients.
The three “Rs” are key elements of Respect that professionals should keep in mind when determined to earn trust:
When a real estate professional doesn’t recognize the value in prospects and clients, they probably won’t see value in the professional either. Take people for granted or adopt condescending airs and you’ll receive the same reaction, or no reaction, in return. For buyers or sellers to recognize your value to them, it must be clearly evident to them—in terms they relate to—that you respect them. This means respect for their financial situation, their real estate goals, and their understanding and misunderstanding of real estate complexities. Demonstrate respect by being respectful and by understanding how to treat individuals politely. For instance, when introducing your client to someone, speak to the person you wish to honor first. That would mean saying the client’s name and making the introduction to the other person using their full name, that is, “Ms. Client, this is the owner of the property, Mr. Bill Seller.” Then, use the other person’s name and introduce them to your client (full name): “Mr. Seller, this is my client, Ms. Alice Client, who is interested in
viewing your property.”
To earn trust, stop believing that your stand-by excuses carry any value at all. Simply and consistently—reliably—do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it. You and each member of your team must be predictably reliable with follow-up and follow-through to demonstrate respect and earn trust.
Prospects and clients want to find professionals to work with who can be trusted to put client interests first, whatever happens. A solid and creative commitment to problem solving and troubleshooting—“What I get you into, I’ll get you out of if necessary”—to help clients secure the property of their dreams, is essential to earn respect and trust. Your physical and mental stamina, as well as a hunger for up-to-date strategic information from the latest listings to the hottest trends, will keep you steps ahead of your and your clients’ competition. A reputation for creating financial and negotiation pathways around offer-stalling situations is a major trust-earning element since it demonstrates respect for client needs and goals. When clients enter into transactions, the respect they receive will build trust to levels that mean they cannot resist telling everyone about you—the amazing real estate professional who had their back during the often-confusing, stressful transaction.
Respect for clients and for yourself is expressed in the many ways clients find you and your expertise valuable. To earn trust from prospects and clients, concentrate on recognition of their efforts and concerns, on your consistent reliability, and on remaining resourceful.
Accomplish the above and you’ll know the answers to the following two questions and how to use the answers to your advantage and your clients’:
• Why are you valuable?
• How are you valuable?