‘Collaborative’ selling, ‘consultative’ selling, ‘relationship’ selling. You’ve heard the jargon, you probably use it yourself some of the time – but do you realise how much difference it can make to your success? Terri Cooper explains.
No longer are agents regarded as the “experts!” The new breed of clients now has access to information that was once the exclusive realm of the agent. They are often are more informed of property values and market trends than their agents – no wonder they want to negotiate fees!
So if your clients can perform their own appraisals, list and market their own properties, try to negotiate their own sales, how can the industry survive? How can agents continue to make a living?
The general consensus is that there is really only one way. You need to think hard and long about how you view your clients – are they true partners in the sale or just bystanders? You need to build relationships with clients who will be loyal to you, bring repeat and referral business, trust and believe in your professionalism and your ability to take the stress away from what can be an overwhelming experience. You may use systems, procedures, have a team of personal assistants, buyer’s agents and a ‘you beaut’ CRM system, but unless you consistently apply the power of “we”, you will be in trouble.
In this modern world of rapidly changing technology, nothing will ever take the place of ‘getting up close and personal’ with your clients. Unless you move out of your comfort zone, eyeball as many prospects and clients as possible each day, your business will stagnate and eventually fail. Unless you put your ego on the back burner, and focus your attention on the client’s needs before your own, you will most certainly not survive.
Now, don’t get me wrong, ego is good – in fact I would go so far as to say that without a healthy dose of ego you will not go far in a sales career. ‘Ego’ is not a dirty word, but you must harness this ego, and put your client first if you want the business. They first need to know that they are important, and that you will pay them the respect that they deserve. Anything less will not do.
The one consistent trait of successful salespeople is the ability to ‘connect’ with their clients. Without this, you may get the listing or the sale once, maybe twice, but long term success with repeat and referral business will elude you. The ability to communicate effectively with your client is worth a fortune to you in your career. You must learn to listen first and talk second – remember the 80/20 rule? If you are talking more than 20% of time, it is a “me” fest instead of a “you” fest. The result – one unhappy client who hasn’t been listened to and another lost opportunity for the salesperson (you!)
Let’s look at a step by step example of the use of this model of selling – focus on the client and collaboration from start to successful conclusion.
Step 1: At each stage, explore the seller’s needs with selective open–ended questions. When you ask your questions, make sure you are actively listening to the answers. Don’t be too ready to jump in with your own comments. Be comfortable with pauses – allow your client time to think before you respond. Let the client lead you into their world. Involve your clients in the conversation –– don’t talk at them or over them.
Terri Cooper and her company Real Estate Mastery, have an enviable reputation for delivering innovative, relevant and customised trainings for all real estate qualifications in city and regional locations. Abandoning the classroom model, her hugely popular courses are always delivered in small group format with approachable industry–experienced trainers.
For more info visit www.realestatemastery.com.au.
Step 2: Consciously put yourself in the sellers’ shoes. What could they be feeling? Stressed, anxious, frustrated? It’s all about being aware of the client’s mood and being in sync with them. This will build trust quickly, and make the process of listing more rewarding for you both.
Step 3: Uppermost in the seller’s mind is “What price can I get?” You must gain an idea of the seller’s price expectations before you arrive! You need to arrive armed with as much market evidence as possible – visual evidence, not merely verbal.
Step 4: At the Listing Presentation, deflect talk of price until you have shown your plan for sale. Ensure that you cover all their questions and concerns BEFORE you discuss price.
Step 5: Getting the listing price right! You must present your comparative market analysis in a very detailed way. It is not enough to bring along a printed list from RP Data, Price–Finder or similar. This does not give the seller enough information on which to base their own price expectations. You will need to bring along A4 print copies of comparables from sites like realestate.com.au, homepage.com or similar – at least 3 past sales and 3 – 5 currently on the market. The seller needs to be able to see and touch the competition. They need to put on a buyer’s hat and look at the choices of homes in their own price bracket.
Step 6: This is the time for the power of “we!” lay out these comparables; go through the features of each – in detail. Then simply say something like: “So … in the light of what else is on the market right now – where do you think yours sits?” then .. be silent! You must resist the urge to speak, to give your own opinion. You want the seller to indicate (based on hard evidence rather than hearsay) what price they think they can achieve. This collaborative approach takes the pressure away from you, really shows whether you have a saleable listing with a serious seller. If the seller rejects the market evidence and insists on an unrealistic figure, you need to question whether you even accept a listing that could be a total waste of your time.
Step 7: After you and the seller have set the listing price, a realistic one based hard facts and not wishful thinking, just imagine how much less stressful it will be to attract a serious buyer and negotiate the sale!
Try this collaborative approach for a couple of weeks and watch your listing success skyrocket!