For most of last decade, a primary motivation for buying or selling real estate was Speculation. Buyers took fast action to earn money, then quickly became sellers to keep from losing it. In that environment quick action – and quicker decisions – were necessary, and we all adjusted our real estate practices to move at that breakneck pace.
Now the speculative aspect of buying and selling has diminished greatly, and our customers are telling us in no uncertain terms: “Slow down! Educate us. Collaborate with us. Make us comfortable with our decision. Help us trust you.” This represents a return to relationship or consultative selling, which is built upon the foundation of quality relationships. The good news is that we excel at this. The even better news is that today we’re able to mix cutting edge tools and technology into the relationship with our clients.
Pursue Lifestyle Selling in today’s market
In today’s market, the primary motivation for buying or selling real estate is no longer speculation but Lifestyle. Lifestyle changes that contribute to the decision to buy or sell a home include marriage, the birth of a child, children growing older, children moving out (or back in), divorce, job promotion or relocation, aging and death.
Lifestyle selling is consultative selling. The first – and most important – step in successful consultative selling is listening. We must understand from our customers why they want to buy or sell, how committed they are to the process, and what they feel they need to know in order to decide. The most effective approach we can take is 50% listening, 30% research, and 20% educating or informing.
Lifestyle selling takes time! It requires collaboration. It requires converting information into knowledge. It requires the liberal sharing of that knowledge. Our display of relevant knowledge and caring advocacy are pivotal to building trust with our customers.
Use available tools to share knowledge and earn trust
Other important ways to build trust are to respond to our customers’ requests for information, to meet their sense of urgency with our own, to communicate with them in the manner and via the medium they prefer. As a company we’re focused on building tools that offer a way to do all this: informational videos, links to timely and relevant information, social media sharing, a mobile platform for data and communication. Using and sharing our unique tools like In the Know and This Week’s Relevant Links and The Real Estate Minute will help to convert information to knowledge and establish trust. And our new mobile websites allow us to communicate with our customers when, how and where they wish.
Continuing to earn our customers’ trust post-closing is critical to (a) proving the genuineness of our pre-closing position, and (b) building future business through referrals. This connection can be maintained many ways, but all are social. All.
Establish lasting relationships with old and new Friends
So slow down long enough to pick several communication platforms that work for you. The same message that you deliver to someone as a customer now can be shared with them as a “friend.” This will fulfill both your and their desire to maintain a meaningful relationship. It will also lead to new referrals that generate new relationships built on new – but enduring – collaboration and trust.