Being a professional is the most important thing in the world of real estate. Far to often do our client become our friends which leads to a regression in professionalism. It ranges in everything from thinking casual conversation is ok to showing up slightly late to appointments. Each one of these behaviors is less than acceptable and they lead to a loss of business that we usually do not know about it just seems to happen.
No matter which facet of real estate you are in it makes the most sense to become friendly with clients, but it is a slippery slope of becoming to comfortable. I know we like to be able to relate and get along but knowing the grounds for what is appropriate is imperative to walking that fine line and not falling over the edge. Sometimes we fall over the edge and other times clients fall over that same edge. One of the places that we as professionals let that line wander is on time management and availability because we try so hard to make ourselves the go to person.
When it comes to appointments in real estate one of the most common gripes is the fact that people want to use the off hours to get things done. While sometimes this is true most of the time it is true do to the professional. What I mean by that is when a client wants to meet the professional, they ask what time we can meet, and the answer tends to be “What time is good for you”. When left open like this the client then replies with a time and day that is usually Mon-Fri after 4 and Saturday and Sunday. This leads to the professional feeling like everyone always want my time off. The reality is they left the door open for this to happen.
When a client asks what time is best to meet the best answer is to say specific times such as Monday at 3 or Wednesday at 2. By doing this you are doing two things, first you are showing that you are the professional and running the show and secondly that these are the times you have available. Of course, sometimes these times will not work out and you may need to be flexible but often they will just answer with one or the other that works, just try it.
Another thing that is far to common in this industry is not picking up the phone or hiding behind texts and email. In this industry we are dealing in hundreds of thousands if not millions. I know we are in a day and age of text but understanding the gravity of the deals you are working on is crucial to ensuring they happen. Getting a text follow up when you are expecting to speak with someone and just tried calling with no answer is nothing short of offensive. If you miss a call because you are honestly in a place you can not talk the text should read no more than “Sorry in an appointment I will call you back in xx minutes thanks for your call”. I know the younger generation believes text and emails are god’s gift to communication. The reality is these forms lack emotion and the strength of a phone call or in person meeting. Lastly in this category make sure you have your voicemail set up with your name, where you work, what hours you answer calls back, and any other pertinent information.
While there are dozens of things, we can do to be more professional the last one I will touch on to do with this subject is telling war stories. I know we become friendly with our clients and I know we see a lot but that does not mean our newfound friend (client) needs to hear them. It is a lot of fun being in real estate and it is an ever-changing environment full of stress and laughs. To often in real estate when working with clients and having empty air we want to fill it with something, so we go to the “I remember the time xyz happened”. Realize the person in front of you is about to spend the most money of their life and is highly stressed. When we through out trigger words and talk worst case scenario those will be the loudest words in their mind. Avoid that type of small talk and stick to things you have in common such as town info, pets, sports, vacation, and other fun items.
Interested in joining a group all about better training in the real estate industry?