Salespeople are, by their typical nature, people pleasers. They are constantly trying to go above and beyond for their clients to try to get more business. Unfortunately, they often fail at one of the easiest ways to truly satisfy their clients; setting expectations early and going back to them time and again throughout the process. Instead, they often try to “nice” their way through things, especially when problems arise.
Not sure if you’re aware or not, but buying and selling homes can sometimes be an emotional experience for your client. Sometimes, said emotions can be completely out of control and lack any and all resemblance to reason. It can take just the smallest of surprises to send those emotions into the full-on, bat $&it crazy atmosphere.
Setting expectations from the first meeting with a new client can make communication throughout the sale easier, reduce stress, minimize surprises, and create an experience for your client that will have them talking to their friends.
Expectations of the Process
First and foremost among the expectations you need to be setting with clients is how the process of buying and/or selling a house goes from start to finish. Go through each step in the transaction and what your client should expect. Then, as you go through those parts of the transaction, go back and reiterate the point. “Remember when we talked about this?”
It’s important at this stage that you not make assumptions. Just because the client has bought or sold a home before doesn’t mean that they are an expert at buying and selling homes. That’s why they hired you. It might have been decades since they last did a real estate transaction. I mean, I was pretty good in Mrs. Jones’s 10th grade Spanish class, but today the only Spanish I know is a few cuss words and how to order a beer. Don’t skip this step because you think they already know.
Expectations of Each Party’s Responsibilities
You have a job to do during this transaction. That goes without saying. What doesn’t go without saying is that your client often times has a very different idea of what your job is than you do. So, it’s important that you make sure that your client knows what you do during the transaction. If it surprises them by how much you do (which it usually does), it’s a feather in your cap and builds value in you and your brand. If it is less than they are expecting, you’ve set realistic expectations that will help stave off any disappointment.
You also need to make sure that your clients know what they need to be doing during the course of the transaction. Obviously, the explanation is a little easier with your sellers, but it needs to be explained nonetheless. With your buyers, their role needs to be talked about early and often. If you aren’t making weekly phone updates to your clients, start now.
Expectations of Problems that Arise
Your clients hate surprises. Surprises in a real estate transaction aren’t like surprise birthday parties. They are almost never good news and there is no cake. So, you need to prep your clients that problems happen in real estate transactions. People are involved and people screw up. So, preparing them that problems might arise is important. More importantly, setting expectations about how problems will be dealt with is just as imperative.
Setting expectations with your clients from the very beginning will make all the difference in how your transaction goes. It makes you the authority from the very beginning, demonstrates your control throughout the process, eases your client’s stress level, and creates an enjoyable experience for everyone. Setting proper expectations allows you the ability to revisit what you’ve already talked about with your clients and help them move through the process easily.
But, wait, there’s more…
Expectations of Helping You Grow Your Business
I’m always amazed by the fact that Realtors have no problem asking someone to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home, then they guide them through the process successfully, and then, nothing. If you look at the stats that NAR puts out, only about half of the people who use a Realtor to buy or sell use the same Realtor for their next transaction. Sure, there are a lot of contributing factors that account for that drop, but I can assure you that a big chunk of that is because of terrible follow-up from the agent. You did a great job. Your clients are happy. Ask for the damn referral. Then ask again and again and again. More importantly, set the expectation of giving referrals throughout the transaction. Have a plan, act on the plan, and build your business from your referrals. It’s the most profitable way to build a business.