Listings used to be literal notecards in boxes in the office.
When photography came around, that was considered a huge technological advancement.
Now, here in the future, potential homebuyers can take virtual tours anywhere in the world, from their bed. They no longer need real estate brokers to peruse the marketplace. Only the real estate agents who understand this fundamental shift will succeed in the future of this business.
You are no longer just a search tool. Just boots on the ground. When helping a buyer or a seller, you’re a concierge, therapist, adviser, and a buffer from the harsh realities of selling or finding Home Sweet Home.
Building these skills helps you play the long game of relationships and lead-gen. They’re the best way to become the person your clients go to for real estate forever, to make it so no one else will do.
These are the skills to master for the top real estate agents of the future.
Let’s look at each of these services more closely:
Any time anyone needs a cleaning service, a contractor, mortgage broker, or even a good dog walker, the more people you can give to them, the more intertwined you are in their life as a source of quality information and connections. This service reinforces your capabilities and relationships with your leads.
In conversation, this sounds like:
- “I know an amazing dentist!”
- “Come check out this school.”
- “I’ll put you in touch with so and so.”
With each person you recommend, you build your credibility. That’s why referrals are so important. The better able you are to connect your leads with wonderful providers, the more likely they are to recommend you as one.
More than likely, a couples therapist. Couples don’t always see eye to eye right away. (Like I need to tell you this.) What’s important is working through that with the couple.
With a lot of these transactions, you end up touring with one side of the couple who loves everything, luring you into thinking this is going to be easy. Then you take out the other side, and realize what you’re really in for.
Honestly, couples are the hardest. I have a couple I’ve been working with for 8 years. Two presidential terms, and they have yet to decide on a purchase.
There’s a reason people are together: they compensate each other. There’s a good cop and a bad cop. There’s always going to be a side that’s more eager to transact and do it, then there’s always going to be the less eager and more cautious side.
You never know what’s going on under the surface, either. I worked with a couple where we had an accepted offer, but then they had cold feet and backed out. Only later did I realize that they were having huge marital issues.
To handle all this, it’s best to develop a separate relationship with each member of the couple. You have to understand what each of them needs to satisfy to make the sale happen. Both need to feel respected, and that what’s important to them, whether price, space, wow factor, or anything else, has been heard and considered.
From there, it’s often you and the person who wants to buy working together to satisfy the other one who’s difficult to please. The more you facilitate communication between them, the more likely it is to actually happen.
You are walking your clients through one of the most complicated decisions of their lives. You better be ready to hold hands and lay down the facts. They need to feel like they can trust your knowledge and intuition. The more trust equity you have with them, the more they’re likely to go with the numbers you suggest or the recommendations you lay out. They won’t feel the need to see every house on the market, just the houses you recommend.
You need to help them understand where the value is, and make sure they don’t buy something they can’t sell later. I always look at it as though I will likely be the broker that has to sell it when they’re ready. (As I hopefully will be.)
They need to trust that you didn’t just sell them a particular place because you didn’t want to talk to them anymore; you sold them something that will resell in any market, outside of the trends of property value swings.
To gain this kind of trust, you have to present yourself as a professional at all times. Educate yourself as much as possible, dress like the success you are, and take the time to explain each step in the process as they go through it.
They need to feel like you’re worrying about the sale for them, so that they can relax a little.
Right over there, where Jimmy took his first steps? That all needs to be ripped out.
Not that you’re going to tell your client that. It’s just one of those little details you shield them from.
For the same reason actors have agents in the world of film, buyers and sellers need brokers to go in there and do the dirty work.
Sometimes it’s a buffer from looky-loos trashing their decor in a Joan Rivers-que rant.
Sometimes you’re shielding them from a toxic personality on the other side of the sale.
Most often, it’s from the stress of negotiations. That’s why agents deal with each other directly, so that the seller and buyer don’t have to have direct communication, where the seller is blinded by their attachment to the home and the buyer is in a state of sticker shock. A lot of our work comes down to the back and forth between the brokers, trying to get each client to the best point.
We can be the experts in negotiation, covered in the mud of battle, so our clients can stand back and enjoy the experience. With this part of your service, it’s important you learn to communicate what happened well, and cover any questions they have in your meetings. They have to feel heard and a part of the dialogue, even if they’re not there for the live show.
This all reminds me of a situation where a particular client listened to everything I told them to do. A few years later, when they sold, they returned to me, and again I told them what to do, and they listened. As a result, they sold very well.
They thanked me up and down. I could see that I had really done something for them, something they couldn’t get on a website. It was an amazing feeling to end a transaction on, for everyone, and it’s the kind of feeling I hope you find in your work as a real estate agent.
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