Dale Carnegie’s Seminal Work How to Win Friends and Influence People sits on the bedside table of many an agent. Named one of Time’s 100 most influential books, it has sold over 30 million copies and has lessons for all of us in the industry.
How to Win Friends and Influence People has undoubtedly helped plenty of real estate professionals improve their communications and relationship skills. Building upon Carnegie’s evergreen self-help classic, today we present How to Win Friends and Influence People: The Real Estate Edition – helping agents break down the barriers between the public and property professionals.
CHANGE THE PUBLIC’S PERCEPTIONS
It’s no big secret that estate agents aren’t number one on the popularity list when it comes to public perception. And whilst many of the public’s accusations are unfair – that agents are all dishonest, that they artificially push up the price of properties and so on – the onus is on all of us as an industry to be professional, avoiding unconsciously falling into negative stereotypes.
Let’s talk presentation first. The most prevalent stereotype of an agent is that of a smarmy, schmick individual, jetting around the suburbs in an ostentatious vehicle. Think very carefully about the way you present to the public as first impressions do matter.
Is your attire that of a trustworthy person who respects the gravity of their role, or is it more like partywear for a cocktail event? Fellas, leave the ultra-slim suits, thin ties, gelled hair and pointy tappers for Saturday night. Ladies, put aside the bodycon dress, heels that make you totter and Kim Kardashian-worthy contouring for fun times with your girl squad. And whatever you do – don’t leave your sunnies on your head (or worse, on your eyes) when you’re conducting OFIs. Your professional capabilities and skills should shine – not your fashion gaffs or immaturity.
WIN CLIENTS BY ADDING RESPECTFUL VALUE
Nearly everyone dislikes being cold-called or door-knocked. Let’s face it: it’s pretty invasive. And it’s even more offensive to be asked by a perfect stranger, apropos of nothing, if you’d like them to sell your home. For most people, this is a deeply personal question and an invasion of their privacy.
The reality is, property professionals need to prospect and we ultimately need to ask that question. We don’t, however, need to keep employing dinosaur-era prospecting techniques that the public revile. Rather than ringing at inopportune moments, think about the timing of your prospecting calls and their content. Forget a scattergun approach to this important process; instead call during business hours and have something meaningful to share.
Service is what we can offer our clients to win their business – building loyalty, earning their trust through genuine assistance. Don’t ask them off the cuff if they want to sell their home. Rather, offer them information that is relevant to their own investment. Diarise to follow your prospects up in a suitable timeframe and, if you’ve had a good conversation, send them a thank-you card to remind them of your existence. And not the branded cheapies, either! Be memorable in every good way – including your stationery and handwritten notes.
BE FRANK FOR FRIENDSHIP
Good vendor or landlord relationships mirror the complexity of any long-term friendship. There are always ups and downs – but for friends to go the distance, they occasionally need to speak frankly to one another. Honesty is the best policy, even if it’s painful to deliver bad news.
Too often, agents avoid telling vendors and landlords unvarnished market feedback in a timely fashion. And it’s not because they’re dishonest – it’s because they want to avoid hurting their client or causing ill feeling. Unfortunately, avoiding your client’s short-term disappointment or anger at bad news results in Taylor Swift levels of Bad Blood. It also means that transactions take longer, affecting the bottom line for all parties involved. Real talk is the best policy with your clients, always.