In real estate, your name is your brand and unless your brand presents itself as trustworthy, it’s going to be difficult to continue to grow your business.
In years gone by real estate agents have had image issues with trust, which stemmed from a small minority of agents using dubious tactics to win listings and equally questionable sales tactics.
More recently, the industry has changed a great deal, and with data on property prices readily available to both buyers and sellers, the way real estate is conducted is more transparent and fairer than ever before.
With more data and technology at the fingertips of both agents and clients, the agent themselves becomes the differentiating factor within competition. For this reason, respect and trust within agents is more important than ever. Furthermore, it is often the most important factor a vendor contemplates when deciding on an agent.
Here are some things you can do to improve your trust with clients.
1. Honesty and Integrity
Being completely honest with a vendor is one of the most important elements in building trust.
Vendors want to know how much their property is actually worth and what the current market is like for their property. While it might be great in the short term to win a listing by telling a vendor that you can achieve a record price for their property, that will likely only lead to both parties being disappointed with the end outcome.
By being honest and having integrity on all matters, you’re going to be building a reputation for yourself that will resonate within the industry. In the short term, it might cost you a listing, but in the long term, honesty will build trust and set you up for a long career.
Vendors need to know what’s happening throughout the entire process of selling their property. Most really do appreciate all the small details and it’s important that you keep an open line of communication with them at all times. They certainly shouldn’t have to wait more than 24 hours for you to be calling them back.
While different vendors will prefer different forms of communication, be sure to keep them in the loop. That way they feel a part of the process and you are also building your relationship along the way.
3. Do What You Say You’ll Do
Actions speak louder than words, and given the previous reputation of real estate agents, it’s imperative that promises are kept.
Nothing can hurt trust between two parties more than saying you’ll do something and not doing it. Not following through on your word can often be interpreted as a false promise or lying, and in business this can be a deal-breaker.
If you make a promise to a client, ensure you deliver. If you can’t, get on the front foot immediately and let them know why, and what you’re going to do about it.
A vendor doesn’t expect perfection, but they do expect you to be proactive and to stick to your word.
4. Act Promptly
We all know that real estate agents are busy and are often on call seven days a week. Regardless, it’s still important that you always act promptly when someone reaches out to you. Even if you can’t resolve the issue that is being brought to you at that time, acknowledge the vendor and their problem, and provide them with a timeline of when you can get back to them with more capacity for problem solving, or perhaps even come back with a solution.
Simply getting back to someone's SMS, email or phone call gives the impression that you genuinely care and are proactive. From a vendor's point of view, they want an agent who is there ready to rally as many buyers as they can for their property.
With so much focus on making sales and winning listings, it can be easy to forget that you are dealing with real people who have genuine problems and are often going through big life changes.
Listen to what your clients are telling you and then do your best to solve the problem for them. Just the act of listening to someone immediately builds rapport and trust because so few people genuinely listen to others in a meaningful way.
For fast-talking, busy agents it can be tempting to throw down your sales pitch, but you’re far better off learning to take a step back and working on your listening skills. By listening to your vendors instead of talking at them, you will be able to better understand their needs and then fulfil those needs.
By building and maintaining honesty and integrity with your vendors, you are much more likely to create positive experiences which will improve your reputation as an agent.