It might seem like psychology, but you sometimes need to get into the mind of your client. Don’t worry, you don’t have to have them recline on a couch and tell you about their days in grade school. You do, however, have to ask them some key questions. You want to find out why they are moving, what they are looking for, and when they need to move. There are also some broader topics to consider when trying to understand your client. Let’s dive into all of this in more depth.
In this internet age, customers are free to do their own research and form ideas before they even find you. In law enforcement, this has led to the “CSI effect”, where people think crimes are solved in a day. For real estate, people suffer from too much HGTV. There is nothing wrong with the channel, but people will come in thinking they’ll find the perfect home in days after seeing only three houses.
This is where asking the right questions is so important. Too much information on the internet can actually make it harder for your client to find what he or she wants. Start by asking when your client needs to move. This can change the process a lot, because if the timeline is short, you need to find properties ready to close. If you have more time, you can probe for what features are more important.
Some people are buying their first home and are unsure what they want. You can help them by thinking like your customer. What would you want? What did you have in your first house that you loved, or hated? By giving your opinions, your customer can either agree or realize she disagrees. You may have to anticipate some of what your customer wants for the future, if she’s not sure.
Does your client want to live in this house for the rest of his life, or is he an investor? Perhaps it’s a young couple just starting out in a small home and looking to build equity.
An established homeowner may be looking for specific things in their next house – a certain location to be in a better school district, for instance. Or maybe they need to be nearer their parent’s doctor. Perhaps they got transferred to a new office and that 45-minute drive is not appealing any longer.
You will also have to overcome some skepticism after the real estate market crash that triggered the recent recession. Customers are more distrustful of the market than ever before. By asking the right questions about your customer’s needs, you’ll start to gain their trust. By following through on your commitments, you’ll keep that trust.
You also need to be willing to listen. Not just hearing, but truly listening to what your client wants or even needs to have. Never assume anything in a transaction, but slow down, listen, and gather as much information as you can. Patience and kindness also play into that trust-building process.
Each client is different, and gathering the information from them about what they want will be different each time. Use the right tools, however, and you’ll get the right results every time.