A sales person must always put their best foot forward. That is they must be on top of their game at all times. It is not only expected, it is mandated by the consumer. Just exactly what does the consumer expect from a sales person? They expect the best services that can be provided at absolutely no cost to them. Let’s put it in layman’s terms as it relates to real estate sales.
They expect to see a professionally dressed sales person.
When I began selling real estate, salesmen wore three-piece suits; year around. It got mighty hot during the summer months but I quickly learned that it paid large dividends compared to casual dress. The image for true professionals is still a suit but has been modernized to leave off the vest. Since I work in a resort area, I see many sales people dressing very casual; too casual to be considered professional attire. It is so refreshing to see an upper-class sales person wearing a suit or dress, depending on the gender. I think a good guide to use is to out dress the competition. For men, dress slacks and a long sleeve white shirt will fit the bill in most cases. Just make sure you have a tie and sport coat in the car in case you go into a place of business. For women, dress slacks and a blouse with a sport coat or jacket works nicely. Albeit a skirt and blouse or better yet a dress is all so impressive. We have all been told the importance of the first impression but it seems that so many people value comfort over success. Another good rule of thumb to follow is to dress like the people we see on the news. How often do we see them dress casual? I think we should all remember that people want to deal with successful people. Therefore we should dress to the level of success we desire to achieve.
They expect us to have superior knowledge of real estate.
After all, real estate is our product. We have been educated and tested in federal and state laws that regulate our industry. We have been licensed by the State in which we work. We are suppose to know the answers to most questions asked by the consumer; or at least know where to get the answer to any question. We work in real estate every day, using specific terms and procedures necessary to list and sell real property. Sometimes we forget that the consumer isn’t accustomed to the processes and we fail to fully explain those processes, step by step, so the consumer will know exactly what to expect and when to expect it. In short, if we fully explain the process each consumer will go through from the time a property is listed until it is successfully closed, it will demonstrate our overall knowledge and provide the consumer with a certain level of comfort and trust in our abilities. Then when we’re asked a question that we can’t answer, it is most understandable when we tell them we need to research the situation before we can provide them the best direction to take. If their first impression was too casual, they might question our ability to provide them the best answer.
They expect us to communicate with them promptly.
In all national surveys that I have seen, one of the consumer’s largest complaints is the inability to reach their agent. They site that agents don’t answer their phone; they don’t call back when a message is left; and they don’t return email messages promptly. I can relate to their concerns because I have had numerous buyers contact me stating their difficulties and frustrations trying to reach an agent by phone. That was never a problem with me because unless I was in a meeting that wouldn’t allow it, I always answer my phone. If I was unable to answer a call, I always return calls promptly. The reason I always communicate promptly is because it meant money in my pocket. I even take phone calls during showing and closing appointments; do you? You should you know. When you don’t take a call in the presence of a client, you are saying to them that your calls aren’t important. You want your clients to know that you have many clients and that your services are in great demand. You may think that your client will feel unimportant if you take an outside call when with them but in reality, they think right the opposite. Remember, they want to deal with successful people and successful people work with a lot of clients at one time. It is actually impressive to them when they hear you talking to another client about a property. They feel a closer connection with you when you are willing to talk to another client in their presence.
They expect you to excel in negotiating skills.
This is not an easy area to explain. Negotiating skills are not easily obtained. It requires a lot of reading, taking specialized classes in the use of various body languages, and the ability to empathize. Empathy is having the ability to put yourself in another’s position. It also requires one to stay a step ahead by anticipating what comes next so that you are prepared to give advice before something actually happens. By far the majority of real estate agents don’t want to spend the time and money required to learn new negotiating skills. A good negotiator always seems to know how to get you to do something you don’t want to do by getting you to see the advantages rather than the disadvantages.
They expect total honesty at all times.
I think most agents are honest but at times, will make statements that are later proved incorrect. The buying consumer, regardless the nature of the product, remembers most things the sales person says. The reason is because they distrust you to begin with so they’re paying very close attention to everything you say. This is the reason we should spend twice as much time listening as we do speaking. Selling real estate is not beautifully describing a home. Selling is providing the buyer or seller with all the factual data they need to make an informative decision. A home will sell itself. All we need to do is listen to what prospective buyers like and dislike about it so that we can better search for a home that fits our clients’ needs. Since Alabama is a Caveat Emptor state, which places all the responsibility on the buyer to find any and all possible defects prior to closing; many real estate agents don’t want to represent the buyer as a Single Agent relationship. They feel the liability is too great. I am right the opposite. I want to represent my clients as a Buyer’s Agent. It has never created a problem for me because I am totally honest with my both my buyers and sellers. I use the same comparables with both clients. I don’t have one set of standards for my buyers and a different set of standards for my sellers. I provide both parties with factual data and let them make their own decisions. If they want my advice they will ask for it. I can’t say this is the best method but it has always worked for me and over my 43 year career, I averaged closing 53 transactions each of those years. You have to decide for yourself the best way to demonstrate your honesty. Just remember that honest is always the best policy.
They expect you to be a leader.
That’s a good thing because I have never known a real successful real estate agent that didn’t control the situation. Control is a harsh word that gets lots of resistance, but I can’t think of another word that has the same meaning. Think about it for a moment. If we don’t control our conversations, the other party is in control. If we don’t provide leadership in a property search, we may never find the home that is best suited for our client. If we don’t control our conversation with our clients, we may never obtain the information we need to find a property that is best for the client. If we aren’t in control we are being controlled by somebody else, and that doesn’t work in sales. Control begins with the word “Hello.” It makes no difference whether we’re conversing via the phone, e-mail, or in person. If we expect to make a sale, we must learn to take control and lead our clients through a process they are fairly unfamiliar with. Without control, we are glorified tourist guides and I never thought that being tour guide was a very profitable business.
Should you have specific questions concerning various issues, please let me know and I’ll research the answer for you. I also want to encourage you to subscribe to our “News & Updates” weekly report so you can stay abreast of issues that might affect you when buying or selling real estate. If you haven’t visited my website, please go to www.AlabamaRealEstateInstitute.com and view previous articles.