What do you think about every day? Let’s see… there are the e-mails you need to answer. There’s the open house you need to prepare for. There’s the information you need to send. There are the phone calls you need to make. There are the houses you need to preview or show.
You’re so busy thinking about all these tasks that I’m willing to bet you don’t stop and think like your clients.
You’re not alone. We’re all guilty, at one time or another, of focusing too much on our own thoughts to take some time to step into the heads of our clients.
Picture typical sellers. They want to sell…but they have no idea what to do. Listings, the MLS, and negotiation are all foreign and nebulous concepts to them. All they know is that they need to sell now. And they need someone to help them.
This is how you should picture your clients in order to begin thinking like them. See them at their kitchen table. They’re sipping their coffee. They’re worried. They don’t know what to do. Who should they call?
Right now, at this moment, what they need is information. They are desperate for it. They haven’t thought about selling in years—so they need someone who will guide them down the confusing path of real estate transactions.
Enter you. This is where your marketing should begin. These people have a problem. You are their solution. You are a professional “problem-solver”.
So, how do you communicate this?
This is where you need to stand out. This is the point where all your marketing—whether it’s print or online—should be different from your competition. Whatever everyone else is doing, you’re doing the exact opposite.
Your marketing message needs to convey information. You need to be known as the one true authority on real estate in your area. Your message should have the theme: “Anyone can show homes. But I’m not just anyone. I have insider information about properties, neighborhoods, and the real estate market that will get you the deal you want.”
This is why thinking like your clients is so important. You need to get out of your day-to-day grind and get into their heads. You need to know what their worries and concerns are. You need to create materials that address these fears. Most importantly, you need to highlight exactly how you are the solution to their problems.
Successful businesses have a problem-solving mentality. They don’t see themselves only as “sellers” of products and services. They look for people with problems—and introduce themselves as problem-solvers with solid information. People hear their message and say to themselves, Hey, this person seems to know what she’s talking about. This may be the solution we’ve been looking for. I think I’ll give her a call.
Not only is it important to think like your client before acquiring them as a client, it’s also important to do the same when actually working for them. I tell agents that there is a simple way to find out how your clients think once you’ve signed with them:
Yes, it’s that simple. Ask your client how they want you to work with them. Find out their preferences. Some good questions are:
- “Do you prefer e-mail, text messages, phone calls, or regular mail for updates?”
- “How do you prefer to search for homes? Online first? Or driving around first?”
- “What is the one most important aspect of a home that you want me to keep an eye out for?”
When you ask these questions, you get to know your clients on a deep level. You get “into their heads”. As you’re going along in your regular workday, you may see something that might appeal to them. Bing! An alert goes off in your head that says: “Call your client. That’s something they would be interested in.”
Throughout your contacts with your clients, be the best source of information they’ve ever known. Provide them with statistics, data, analysis, and commentary. Share your opinion based on your expertise. Show them that you are a problem-solver like they have never known before.
Communication is essential for any business. For a real estate agent, this is doubly true. Without constant communication with your clients, you will lose that connection that keeps the momentum moving forward. They need to know that you’re doing your best for them. By learning to think like they do, you learn how to do your best for them.
Here’s a fun exercise to get you thinking like your clients: Call the last five buyers you’ve worked with. Ask them what the best part of the buying process was for them. Then, do the same with your last five sellers.
Get down to the details. Ask them what they were thinking the very first time they called you. Ask them how their thoughts changed as your relationship progressed. Ask them if there was a time that they felt you didn’t understand them.
By talking with your past clients, you’ll have an even better perspective. Then, you can take what you learn and apply it to figuring out how your current and future clients think.
Thinking like your clients not only gets you more clients, but wows your current clients with your ability to help them in ways that most agents ignore.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI