As I've stated in earlier blog posts, one of my favorite things about this industry is that no two days are the same, no two clients are the same and no two transactions are the same! There are always new lessons to be learned and those lessons wouldn't reach their full value unless we shared them with one another. As a sales manager, I feel it is not only my job to share these experiences, but it is my responsibility as a friend. As a broker, I really value those times when the experience creates that "a-ha!" moment, when you feel enlightened and inspired to share the experience with the hope that those with whom you share will fully digest the lesson to be learned.
One of the major struggles for many agents, including me for many years, is the struggle that while being direct it is difficult to be nice. I often see new agents tip toeing around topics such as qualifying buyers, recommended listing price, staging recommendations and market conditions as if they were breaking bad news. What many of us fail to realize is that buyers and sellers are coming to us for a reason. THEY NEED OUR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE! Real estate professionals, if you are truly a professional, are no different than a stock broker, an accountant or even a doctor. We have intimate knowledge of our industry and profession and they don't! It's that simple!! Here are a couple of examples I use with my agents all of the time:
1. Qualifying Buyers: When a prospective purchaser calls in to the office, once the niceties are exchanged it is time to get down to business. Asking questions like, "Will you be financing your purchase? If so, have you been pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan? If so, for what amount?", seems so simple, but ask the question in the wrong way, like you are embarrassed to ask or know that it is a sensitive topic, and you will likely get a negative response like, "That's none of your business". The fact is, it is your business!! You need to know that the buyer is qualified to purchase the property they are requesting to see. Ask the question like you deserve to know the answer, in a direct but nice way, and you will avoid this unpleasant scenario.
2. Recommended listing price: Once you have determined the motivation of the seller, and you know for sure that they are not "fishing", you will likely have a standard approach for taking a listing, whether it be a one or two step process. Once you have worked the CMA it is time to discuss your findings and your recommended price range. Life would be great if all clients were realists, but we know that is not the case. So now what do you do? In my experience, create a marketing plan that includes pricing the property to sell in the time that matches their goals and make a direct, but nice, presentation why you believe your strategy is the best way forward. The price may not be to their liking, but you can remind them, in a direct but nice way, that the numbers don't lie and that market conditions are not anyone's fault. Being direct exudes confidence and that is what buyers and sellers need at a time when they are making huge financial decisions!!
3. Staging recommendations: Once you have agreed on the way forward with a solid marketing plan it's time to get the property ready for the market. One of the things we are all guilty of is not saying what we really want to say for fear that we will hurt our clients feelings. But wait! Didn't they just trust us to help them with one of the biggest financial transactions of their lives? Now is not the time to beat around the bush! You have created the "plan", now it's time to execute! Being firm, but nice, indicates to your client that there are some things that are not negotiable, like the doilie collection from Great Aunt Gertie all over the furniture or the 823 stuffed animals that adorn the children's' room. Reduction of clutter, recommended painting and cleaning and yard rejuvenation should all be parts of your plan and they should be required in a direct, but nice way! After all, if you want your strategy to be successful, and believe me, your clients wants to be successful, then you'll need to be firm and direct.
I have been blessed to be in the position to use all of these techniques and for the most part I have been successful in the execution of each! We all know that there is not a "one size fits all" approach to this business. Being firm, but nice, builds confidence in both you and your clients and can lead you to great success, both personally and professionally.