How sweet is it to get a testimonial from a past client? Especially unsolicited ones?
Doesn't just make your day; maybe your year. And in a year where many of us have had little to cheer about, getting reinforcement from the people that matter to you most never gets old. And in a year where deals are harder to put - and keep - together, I've been amazed at how many recommendations I've been getting from clients (especially those I didn't know before we began working together).
Why now? Would you believe too much free time on my hands? Weird as it is to say, apart from being healthy with total control of all my faculties, the best part about 2008 is that I've had time to assess how I approach my business (kind of like my first year when I had nothing going).
Even though I pride myself on good communication (my years as a journalist and public speaker coming in handy), I've noticed that when I get excited, I tend to use too many words to make my point. I don't have a problem with silence (see Uma Thurman's comments in Pulp Fiction about how nice it is to not talk about mindless bs), and I use it as an effective negotiating tactic, but when you're talking to clients, why use 100 words when you can make your point in 10?
I'm not referring to the social aspect of your client relationship; there's no substitute for genuine extroversion. I'm talking about that weird zone you get into when you begin discussing something like an inspection, appraisal, structural concern... etc... and all of a sudden you subconsciously realize that you've been blabbing for about a minute and you've got no idea how to wrap it up. I mean, the sweetest noise on earth is the sound of our own voice, right? Yeah, and your farts don't stink, either.
I've done a lot of work on this (the overtalking part, not the farting) and it truly has created an unintended effect - the less I talked, the more important the words I used became! And, not surprisingly, my clients saw me as more of an authority than ever before. The net result? Sales went more smoothly and those listings that didn't sell became less my fault than the realities of poor market conditions (which resulted in extensions on listing periods).
Of course, a lot of this confidence and assertion on my end came from experience, but I know a lot of veteran Realtors that try to compensate for having one less mouth than ears by talking twice the time. I'm not saying anything really radical here. You always need to choose your words carefully. You know the old saying... better to have everyone assume you're an idiot then to open your mouth and remove all doubt?
As real estate professionals, our expertise is questioned and challenged every day by online "informational" sites, less-than-competent agents and groundswells of consumerism that try to empower homeowners to dangle their biggest investment on the open market. Knowing that I'm not the only game in town, combined with the fear that every client I have is a weather vane for future business, I've gone the extra mile to make sure I know my s**t and can deliver that message with authority. And how do my clients thank me? By telling me what a great Realtor I am. I'll take that.
Especially in this market.