“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” – William James 1842-1910
Who of us have never faced a contrary ##@^%$%*(&() in our professional lives?
We’re constantly faced with negative, impatient, overbearing, egotistical and boorish people (did I leave anyone out?) in our business.
Sometimes, I know, I wish that God would send these people elsewhere! But somehow, they seem to gravitate to us whether we like it or not.
The very best professionals realize how to build an agent/client relationship. Exceptional agents acknowledge that everyone they meet has needs. Needs are based on two areas: One is sub-conscious and the other is conscious need. Both of these must be discovered in order to be on a level playing field with our clients.
Once you gain the wisdom of working with various types of clients, you will master how to build iron-clad relationships. We all have to understand that one commission from one client does not build a relationship.
Mastering what is in the minds of our clients comes from not pre-judging them on first introduction.
We tend to put identity tags on each type of person we meet. Those I.D. tags may cause your sub-conscious to “tag” them as being unwieldy, biased or any of the other traits we mentioned above. This type of thinking will create an extreme bias in working with such people and you may wind up losing a lifetime client without thinking through the process of relationship building.
Just because someone’s appearance does not meet with your standards, doesn’t mean they’re not a good person. While some people appear as “cactus types” at first, it doesn’t mean they’re not soft as cream on the inside. You have to dig a little deeper to discover what the conscious mind and the sub-conscious mind is thinking.
I often go back to what each of us thinks sub-consciously: “What’s in it for me?” Consciously, we think, “Is it good business to do business with…” Maybe some of us have been the cactus type somewhere in our careers and not been made aware of it.
I remember a phys-ed teacher in high school, Red, who was an absolute tyrant and bullied me around. He made me feel inadequate and demeaned me many times over. Yet years later, meeting him in business, I discovered another side to him, when he was in tears discussing how his daughter had been treating him and his wife. I was a young businessman at the time and was a rapt listener. My recall of the conversations is rather dimmed by time, but I recall how grateful he was that I listened. Later, we only met briefly over a cup of coffee and he apologized to me for how badly he had treated me in school. I remember telling him that it was okay. I was a wimp in P.T. anyway! He was truly appreciative of having someone to listen and to share his grievances with. I never saw him or his wife again, but I remember those two conversations vividly.
So, before judging someone on first impressions, give that person a little leeway. Let him feel some love, by just listening first and asking questions later. Get them to relax. You can do this quite easily by asking non-threatening questions. Once you can develop these traits, people will genuinely feel comfortable working with you. A relationship will be formed that will evolve over time.
Here are some pointers and ideas for dealing with people.
When you first meet, ask questions that cannot be answered by yes or no, or make statements that show how much you really care about the sale.
Example: What would work for you? Can I do something that would….? Which of these three homes would you choose for your best friend? I would never sell you anything that I wouldn’t sell to my family. This is not a home you’re selling, it’s been your family history, hasn’t it? What is your family’s goal in eventually finding the home of your dreams?
I think that you get the idea. Your own broker/trainer, I’m sure, will come up with others if they’re using this column for training. A productive training seminar might be to see how many objections could be handled with this technique.
I guess what I’m really saying is that the relationship you’re trying to forge is based on the knowledge that you are truly understanding of your client’s situation. They’ll soon see that it is good business to do business with you, and they’ll be glad they did. So glad that they will send you referrals without you even asking.
Let them feel the love.
Building relationships is like building a home. You have to begin with a good lot. Build a strong foundation. Work from a basic plan to have a well-built and long-lasting home to live in with your family. Isn’t this what we tend to strive for in our personal family lives as well? The more I practice it on a daily basis, the more I realize that strong family relationships are built in the same way.
At least that’s the way I see it from my desk this month.
Stan Albert is celebrating his 36th year in active real estate, and is with Re/Max Excellence in Woodbridge, Ont. He serves on committees at RECO and at the Toronto Real Estate Board. He is an established trainer and business consultant and can be reached at [email protected].