Trust is an important component of any business relationship, but is particularly vital to have between client and realtor. As a real estate agent, you're handling a substantial portion of a person's financial portfolio in addition to helping them with the difficult task of moving from one home to another. This experience can be stressful and overwhelming for people, so they need a person they can trust to guide them through the bramble.
If your clients don't feel that they can trust you, your relationship will be flawed and shallow, with neither party being satisfied with the experience. Build trust right from the get-go, and you'll have a partnership that leads to success for both sides.
How does one go about building trust with a client who may be skeptical of your abilities? Start by listening.
Most of the time we think we're listening to a person, but really we're thinking about shopping lists, upcoming appointments, and other noise that pops into our brains. We rarely truly listen, but this is key to earning another person's trust.
To become a better listener, you first need to make sure that when you're with your clients, you're fully present with them. Make them feel like they're your only client, and your first priority. Do this by making eye contact, asking timely questions, and every time your mind wanders to some other deal you have brewing, snap yourself back to the present moment. Your client will be able to tell when you're really with them and when your mind is elsewhere.
Along with being present, you need to learn how to read body language. The majority of what we're feeling in any given moment can be revealed by our body language, and often times this message is incongruent with the words that are coming out of our mouths. If your client says yes to something, but you can see that her shoulders are hunched, her hands are clenched, and she's biting her bottom lip, it's clear that she does not really want to say yes. Acknowledge what you sense, and address her hesitation in an empathetic and respectful manner. If she feels heard and understood by you, your relationship will strengthen immensely.
Another key factor in earning trust is to actually do what you say you're going to do. We have so many advertisements, salesmen, and politicians making empty promises to us that commitment has lost all its value. When you break your word, you take away your client's faith in your integrity and ability.
If you can't do something, or you don't know the answer to their question, say so. It may seem counterintuitive to admit ignorance, but it's much better to be honest with your clients than lead them down the wrong path. They will respect you for your honesty, especially if you promise to find out who can answer their question—and you actually follow through.
By being honest, admitting mistakes, and taking responsibility for your actions, your clients will see that you have strong ethics, and will be much more likely to refer you to someone else. They'll have confidence in your skills as a realtor, and will feel like they know you well enough as a person to entrust you with future business. Things like hard work, honesty, and listening skills seem like such simple things, but they can have an enormous effect on the quality of your relationships with clients.
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