In the beginning, your interaction with a potential client should achieve two goals:
- Assuring them that you are able to provide something they value or need.
- Establishing common ground on which you can build a connection.
The following list provides helpful hints you can employ in reaching out to prospects. With these tips, you can establish that you have the experience, savvy and know-how to list their home — and that you are the perfect person for the job!
Sure, each one of us is different, but we are all human beings with similar psychological “comfort zones.”
If you understand the importance of building a real connection based on common interests and general kindness, you can begin to focus your interactions on that principle. You will be amazed at how easy it is to get more listings when you do.
Strategy #1: Establish some common ground.
This is probably something every agent already practices to some degree.
Think- Country Club, Fraternity, Quilting circle, Motorcycle-gang…the point is:
Human beings love to feel connected to other human beings.
Maybe you played the same sports in high school, or perhaps you both share a passion for the outdoors. You might be a fellow dog lover, as you assume your prospect must be when she mentions her 3 cocker spaniels.
It would be hard not to find at least one area where your interests cross. Whatever your mutual interests may be, remember that anytime you find common ground, you’ve uncovered a connection-building gem.
Strategy #2: Ask your prospect about where they grew up.
Most people tend to get nostalgic reminiscing about their childhoods.
There’s something cozy and familiar about sharing memories from our youth, so it’s a great question to ask in the beginning when you’re trying to establish a feeling of familiarity.
Even in the event that your prospect had a crappy upbringing in a crappy town with crappy neighbors…they will still most likely have some colorful stories to share, each one loaded with nuggets of information you can rely on to reveal those “common-ground-gems.”
Strategy #3: Be a GOOD listener.
Get really good at tucking away little details that can help you build rapport when you bring them up in a later conversation. If you remember to inquire about the outcome of Jr.’s soccer tournament or ask about a recent family vacation, your prospect will know that you really are nice. Niceness is one of the cornerstones of building authentic connections.
Which leads me to number 4…
Strategy #4: Niceness matters, People!
Mark Twain once said he could “live for two months on a good compliment.”
Open the door for your prospects, offer to take their coats, or direct them to the restroom.
Try to be as helpful as you can. The goal is to demonstrate that you are a thoughtful, kind person, and not just another smarmy salesman laying it on thick.
Following a 7-year study, Fred Kiel, head of the executive development firm KRW International, found that so-called “‘character-driven’ CEOs who demonstrate compassion lead companies that are more profitable compared to CEOs who are more self-centered.”
People respond positively to kindness, so to get off on the right foot with your prospects, do not underestimate the importance of being plain old nice.
Strategy #5: Send an interest-specific email.
If your prospect is interested in treasure hunting, you can find an article detailing the discovery of Spanish galleons off the coast of Aruba, or perhaps on new technical advances in scuba-diving apparatuses.
Send it in an email with a quick note saying you came across the article and immediately thought of them. Short and sweet.
Articles and posts are easy to source on the web, so if you find something related to their business or job, pass it along. Doing so is a simple way to show you’ve really listened to your prospects, and that helps cement your “niceness cornerstone” into place.
Strategy #6: Send local coupons or event information.
Keep rocking your “niceness mojo” by subscribing to local “bargains and deals” newsletters or email lists.
It can be a major score if you discover a coupon or event that correlates with your prospects’ interests. Send along the info, and if they have an amazing experience, they know they have you to thank!
If the event or food turns out to be a bust…at least you were sweet enough to think of them when you sent the information, so it’s really a win-win.
Showing thoughtfulness and consideration when technically, there isn’t anything “in it” for you is great testimony to the fact that you are authentically kind.
Strategy #7: Be conscious of addressing both parties in a couple.
As they consider listing or searching for a home, people have LOTS to talk about. While a couple may not consciously notice when they are consistently being addressed equally, they will notice if only one of them is being spoken to most of the time.
It’s a small thing that can really turn into a big issue, so it’s worth it to practice including both parties in your conversation regularly.
As mentioned before, prospects have plenty to discuss in choosing an agent. Don’t let one of those things be how focused you were on one of them, so much so that they were left feeling like the other person’s opinions or concerns were less important.
To sum up the value of the advice offered in this list of helpful hints:
Adrian Miller, a sales trainer based in N.Y, expresses in a nutshell the issue of establishing a connection with prospective clients and the effect it can have on sales:
"People buy from people that they like and can relate to...
...When business owners overlook the importance of that personal connection, they run the risk of losing the prospect to someone else, usually someone who took the time to create a relationship and help the prospect buy something rather than trying to simply sell to them."
In the end, you won’t get listings by showing prospects how many houses you’ve sold...
You’ll get them when sellers are confident you understand why they want to sell their house.
They’ll list with you because they knows you’ve helped lots of people realize their goals by working and empathizing with them on a personal level to achieve the professional results they were hoping for.
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