Five ways to build trust

It seems like such a simple thing, but building trust with your clients and potential clients can be a hard task. Hannah Gill examines how to put everyone at ease in an authentic manner.

Last time, we covered defining and delivering your value proposition.

Once you have your value proposition down pat, you can start to leverage it, and with that comes the need for your current and prospective clients to believe in what you are telling them.

The good news is, building trust is relatively easy because so much of it is underpinned by being authentic and genuine.

The bad news is, if a customer is unhappy and trust is broken, it can take a lot to rebuild.

There’s a 91 per cent chance an unhappy client will leave and worse yet, they will likely tell nine to 15 people about their experience.

Here are my top five tips to help you build trust with clients:

1. Overcome objections

To do this, you need to ask lots of questions to understand your client’s motivations, and once you do, you can trial close them.

An example:

You: “Mr and Mrs Smith, I understand your main concern is the tenant not paying rent, it sounds like the experience you had previously was incredibly stressful.

“If I were in your shoes, I would have felt the same (cue: empathy). We’ve discussed our strategy to ensure thorough vetting of tenants and ongoing proactive management of arrears, are you comfortable with our approach?”

Mrs and Mrs Smith: “Yes, it all sounds good to us. We feel much better about it.”

You: “Great. In that case, let’s get the paperwork sorted so we can start the search for a new tenant.”

If the client then says no and offers another objection, you repeat the same process to eliminate each hurdle.

This builds trust as the client feels heard and understood.

2. Listen more than you talk

The quieter you become, the more you can hear.

Sometimes we forget to listen as we’re so eager to provide information.

Listening and observing language patterns helps us overcome objections and ensures our client feels valued.

Are they emotive or matter of fact in the way they describe the property – is it business or personal?

The way you speak should mirror their language as it will resonate with them more.

3. Split up good news

It takes nine touch points to build trust, so why not fast track that with a new client.

Let’s say you advertise a property on a Thursday and immediately get registrations for Saturday’s open.

At the open, you get two applications and one has offered $10 more.

You might be tempted to call the owner with this good news in one go on Monday, but where possible, split it up over a few days.

1. Email the ad to them.
2. Call to let them know you’ve got bookings for Saturday.
3. Text letting them know you’ve got applications coming in.
4. Call to let them know you’re checking references.
5. Call back an hour later to let them know one applicant has offered $10 more.
6. Call again to let them choose from two qualified tenants. That’s six opportunities to connect and build trust, instead of what might have been one phone call.

4. Pick up the phone

It’s incredibly hard to connect with someone over email, so wherever possible, take the time to talk to your client.

It’s even better if you can speak to them in person over coffee, lunch or on Skype or FaceTime.

5. Do what you say you will

I learned the value of this by calling a prospective developer back on the day I said I would, a month after losing a pitch for a development of 110 apartments to another agent.

This follow-up call gave me a foot in the door and an initial commitment of 14 units.

Fast forward six years and we now manage more than 200 properties for them.

I guarantee they would not have reached out to me, and what a missed opportunity that would have been.

I share this story not to try to impress you, but to impress upon you just how valuable doing what you say you will can be.

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Hannah Gill

Hannah Gill is the Director of The Property Collective, REIACT President and one half of Gill & Hooper