The business of selling is an integral part of the real estate industry – with no properties to sell, agents would have nothing to do all day! But how does your business approach the sales game – is every prospect “fair game” or do you value their future loyalty?
Preconceived ideas about pushy real estate agents mean that people often look for ways of developing resistance to various sorts of sales pitches. This attitude can be frustrating for agents when you find yourself handling objections, making even a straightforward sale difficult and hampered by mistrust.
However, all is not lost! Recent research indicates that homebuyers are increasingly basing their buying decisions on whether or not they consider a real estate agent to have an appropriate code of ethics. Simply put, they are asking “can I trust this person to find the best deal for ME?”
Ethical selling does not have to be an oxymoron. Building up a loyal customer base by showing integrity will do wonders for your client relationships. Before you can pave the foundation for building lifelong relationships, you need to ask yourself some hard questions:
Is this sale in the best long-term interest of the customer?
Be honest with yourself. Is it ‘right’ to sell an elderly couple a small unit on the 34th floor of an apartment block with no elevator? They may well like the view, but unless they are former professional athletes then it’s probably not!
Make sure that your overall goal is something to the tune of “what can I do for you, to get you to cooperate with me?” It is important to recognise good opportunities for yourself, but not at the expense of the customer. The more customer-focused you become, the greater your chances of making a sale!
Is my success based on making sales or having loyal customers?
This does not mean that the answers are mutually exclusive! You can make sales by making loyal customers, and make customers by making sales. To develop a relationship that is beneficial to both the client and yourself, it is vitally important to establish trust. Homebuyers will not purchase a property from an agent they do not trust – it’s as simple as that! The sales process must emphasise building a relationship and not just making the sale.
I am critical of the competition?
Real estate may be a dog-eat-dog industry, but before you start belittling the competition, you may want to consider the effect this will have in the eyes of the customer. The competition can’t steal your clients unless there is something wrong or lacking with your skills.
Blatantly criticising your rival will make you seem petty and self-centered. Instead, emphasise to the customer your own strengths and why you are the best person for the job. Be honest and assist them is getting what THEY need - they will be sure to seek you out in future for what they want!
Would I buy that?
Put yourself into the shoes of your prospect. Would you buy the property? If not, why not? Always be honest, even when a prospect asks you tough questions that may result in losing a sale. Honesty is the best policy and is your best friend when it comes to client retention and gaining referrals.
What do I stand for?
What is your reason for making this sale? Is it to make people happy? To make money for yourself? To generate income for your business? If you aren’t sure then you shouldn’t be selling! Think long and hard about your motivations just before you make your next sale pitch.
These five questions are at the heart of ethics in the selling process. They must be asked every time a sale is being proposed. As a real estate agent, you have a responsibility to your prospects to find the best investment for their money. Do the right thing by them and you can’t go wrong!