Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Power Of Unity in Real Estate Client Relationships

Trust is important in establishing and maintaining relationships, and nowhere is this more true than in real estate. You want to make sure that you and your client understand each other’s goals at the outset, so that neither of you experience any surprises later on.

How do you establish trust and build unity with a client? One word: unity. As Robert Cialdini highlights in his new work, Pre-Suasion, unity is a major bias that makes us persuadable. Essentially, people are more likely to trust those closest to them with whom they identify – their “ingroup” – than those in any outgroup they don’t identify with. Shared personal relationships make us more likely to agree with and support one another.

Real estate is a relationships business. It is so important to become friends with your clients. Some real estate agents send a Christmas card to their client in order to stay-top-of mind. This doesn’t need to be fancy or gushy, just a simple message with your signature. Clients will be more likely to use you again if they decide to sell or buy because of simple gestures like this. Other real estate agents do events with their clients and their clients’ friends, like going bowling. This builds a network and means that the next time one of your clients or someone close to them needs to buy or sell – you guessed it: you’ll be the first person they think of to call. Not only does this maintain a client network, it can also build one as people recommend you to others.

Little thoughtful details like these build closeness and a personal connection, which is so important in our scattered digital age. People crave a connection with others on a very basic, fundamental level, just as much as they like hearing their names repeated. It’s not enough to just have a social media presence; consistently interacting with your clients is what will really help them remember you.

Of course, this doesn’t mean building relationships that have an obvious ulterior motive. True lasting client relationships will happen organically. Consistency is the keyword here: make sure to have lunch or drinks after work with important contacts. These relationships work both ways, too: when a client or contact sees that you’re putting in the effort with them, they’ll respond in kind. As Cialdini notes in Pre-Suasion: “Our ability to create change in others is often and importantly grounded in shared personal relationships, which create a pre-suasive context for assent” (p. 175).

Negotiations are where this trust and context for assent play a vital role. A common perception is that you can build a relationship with your client in the beginning, and then walk away after the deal is done or you have to fold. Building relationships and creating trust takes time and effort: emails, phone calls, and in-person meetings. But when you show a client that you’re willing to go above and beyond on their behalf, they will be more likely to trust you when the time comes and you have a service you can offer them.

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