Modern Sarasota Realty, Old Fashioned Principles
By Mark Coppens, MBA, REALTOR
There’s a downside to living in a society in which endless information from the internet is available (unless you live in North Korea) at the touch of a button. As a Sarasota Florida real estate agent, it has become increasing difficult to have a conversation with a client without them first emailing or texting me information they had found online.
There’s nothing wrong with having informed clients, in fact, the correctly-informed ones are a real estate pro’s best friend. But there’s a difference between an intelligent and informed client, and one who obsesses over every Internet rumor and follows the trails of every online “expert.”
For example, a new client of mine became so obsessed with information she had found online, that she would “fact” check every piece of data before she could make a decision. She treated Google, tax records, Zillow, and Realtor websites like they were her best friends and close financial advisors. This client would not only send me text messages about listings, she also included images, driving directions, and fun facts, like when the house was built.
All of this texting was overwhelming, especially to an agent who knew exactly what this customer needed. There finally came a point when I had to say, “Wait a minute. I’ve been in the business for years, which makes me the expert; not the uninformed, questionable, and outdated information that you’re sending me from online.” Well I didn’t REALLY say that. After all, the customer is always right, right? But after having an honest and candid conversation with her I came to the realization that what our relationship had lacked was trust. This client didn’t really know me, and since this was one of the largest purchases she had ever hoped to make, she wanted to make sure her best interests were protected by the person she had trusted the most – herself. She had become as informed as possible, and in doing so, lost track of the fact that real estate agents add value by providing insight and expertise based on years of experience. And I, to my fault, had assumed that she would trust me at face value. I knew that I was extremely competent and hard working, but how could she? While an agent’s attribute of being trustworthy can be passed to your client from a friendly referral, a relationship with a totally new client forces agents to take a step back and really focus on the fundamentals before trust can be developed.
I built my business on three core principles: Trust, Loyalty, and Integrity.
Trust is the sort of thing you build from the bottom up. It begins on the first day a client meets their agent. You have to listen from the start to every word they say. This is incredibility important to your relationship with him or her, because it sets the stage for future loyalty (a “conspiracy among friends,” if you will).
If they don’t believe they can trust the agent, clients will be reluctant to share their true motivation for selling or buying a house. Trust is the first step to opening up real dialog. The benefits of working with someone who trusts you are well worth the time you put into the process.
Loyalty cuts both ways. A client is more likely to feel loyal to someone who is more interested in a long-term relationship than making a fast dollar. Pointing out your legitimate concerns about a property is both sincere and a great way to impart genuine concern for your client.
Integrity is what keeps everything in balance. It is merely believing in the Golden Rule, and putting it into practice: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto to you.”
There is rarely an argument at closing time if both parties feel they were treated well, and with respect. The reverse is just as likely to spark the kind of negative experience that is potentially damaging to client relationships, and completely avoidable.
When building agent/client relationships, keep these tips to keep in mind:
The SRQ Duo |Merrick Damon Real Estate