What is the most important attribute in a successful real estate agent?
What is the one issue that affects every salesperson regardless of what they sell? Regardless of whether it is a product or service, high or low priced, business-to-business or business to consumer? Here it is: People buy from people and organizations they know they can trust. In 2006 a leading US sales & marketing consulting group, The Brooks Group, conducted some interesting research. Here is the question they asked over 6,000 buyers:
"To what extent did you trust the salesperson you bought anything from in the past 24 months?"
The answer may surprise you. An astounding 64% said they didn't particularly trust the salesperson. The logical question then became obvious. Why did you buy if you didn't trust the salesperson? The answer was simple. They had no choice because there was a specific feature that sold them, a benefit they needed or a product they had to have. The consequences to the possibility of a repeat sale were severe. Over 93% said they might never buy from that same organization or salesperson again.
So, what’s the bottom line?
In real estate we are involved in a relationship-based sale rather than one that is purely transactional. If you rely on repeat, referral and long term, positive strategic positioning to sell your product or service, trust is essential. In fact, if that is the case, trust is far more important than merely being liked. The Brooks Group suggest professional salespeople embrace this simple principle: with mutual trust, a salesperson can sell value - while being liked guarantees you can only sell on price. The consequence of this should be obvious. Top salespeople sell the value of their product, and marginal ones sell price, concessions, discounts and slim margins.
Let's take a look at ten very specific ways for you to develop and sustain a sense of trust with your prospects or clients.
1. Promise a lot and deliver more. Don't believe for one moment the old saying that you should "under promise and over deliver". Set high expectations with your clients and then exceed even those lofty expectations.
2. Be punctual for every appointment, each commitment and deliver on every promise you make.
3. Show up to every meeting with accurate, timely, relevant answers and knowledge. Anticipate their questions and come prepared to answer them in as much depth as necessary.
4. Meet every commitment, 100% of the time. Not 99.9%…100% of the time! If you or your company or team makes an error, admit it. There is nothing worse than dodging responsibility, blaming others or failing to admit a mistake. Take full responsibility.
5. Never allow your client to be blindsided. Alert them about issues that will affect them. Do this even if it is painful. Be sure to give them as much notice about anything that affects them as early you possibly can.
6. If your clients are married or partners never deal exclusively with one client unless you have the permission of the other client to do so.
7. Prepare extensively for every client interaction. Leave nothing to chance. Seize every opportunity to show how much depth and understanding you have of their situation and circumstance.
8. Take time to educate customer service, delivery, technical support personnel or anyone else who ever interfaces with your customer. Educate them about promises or understandings that you and your customer have, specific issues that are sensitive to your customer and exactly how to deal with the account.
9. Stay in touch. Never let your clients feel that you are taking them for granted. Make them feel that you are so interested in them that they are your only client.
10. Building trust is essential in making a sale. Sustaining trust with customers is critical to building a long-term sales career. Far too often, salespeople believe they are "selling" themselves. Far from it.
Salespeople are selling their sincere interest in the client or prospect. They are communicating that the organisation they represent is one that can be trusted to make good on any promise they vow to make. How do you feel when you buy something? Isn't that what you want, too? In short, when you sell ask yourself this question…"Am I the person representing the product and organization that I would trust implicitly?" Be tough on yourself and your answer. It could be the secret to your success.