If you are not prepared to demonstrate leadership in your own meetings, you will never be recognised as a trusted advisor for your future clients, says business development expert Tara Bradbury.
Irecently conducted a role-play session during a workshop where I was the BDM and one of the attendees was the property owner. I had the frightening pleasure of being back in the hot seat again and, just quietly, I loved it! I also had the attendees provide feedback, which not only opened my eyes to my performance but also opened a conversation about what is most important to the consumer when selecting an agent to manage a property.
Overall, they saw that I took leadership in the meeting, was engaging and continued to bring the property owner back to conversation points that were raised at the start of the discussion. The most important piece of advice I can give is to position yourself and your team as the proactive agents in your marketplace and ensure that, as an agency, you are the main and trusted source for all things property investment. Yes, I know we have so much data online now for our owners and that now more than ever fees are a hot topic. But I can tell you it is hard to say no to someone who is well-educated and passionate about what they do.
Mindset is key when you are going into this meeting and, whether you are face to face or over the phone, how you engage with the client is the most powerful part of this process.
Make sure you have opening questions along the lines of, ‘What is most important to you when selecting an agent to manage your asset?' Then follow up with, ‘What is most important when selecting an agency to manage your asset?'
They may tell you that they have just answered that question. Your response should be, ‘You may feel you have but, in my experience over the last… years, property owners have different reasons for selecting an individual vs the agency. I just want to make sure we have covered all bases prior to you making your decision.'
By taking this approach you are inviting them to think more about the experience they will have with the business across all levels. It also shows leadership in your presentation as they are focusing more on the questions you are asking and not so much on making a judgement about your fees.
Never be afraid to take notes during the conversation and list key areas mentioned that you want to refer back to. If you are like me and lack confidence in thinking on your feet when negotiating fees, don't let one small aspect of the process overwhelm you. Make sure you have a calculator on hand to demonstrate your professionalism by presenting calculations as examples. No property owner expects you to be perfect or a financial specialist, so take your time and get it right rather than rushing or guessing.
You should know everything, and I mean everything, about your marketplace – even if it is not an area where you spend time outside real estate. If you were ever going to be a walking encyclopedia, this would be the place to focus your energy.
IT IS HARD TO SAY NO TO SOMEONE WHO IS WELL-EDUCATED AND PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT THEY DO.
Property owners love to hear positive stories and know what will impact the property today and over the next 12 months, two or even five years.
Finally, you have this meeting to set the foundations of what the overall experience will be like for the property owner. Don't just agree to certain things to win the business. You may see areas of risk or they may raise ‘red flag' conversation points. While you may not battle the topic head-on, when it is mentioned be sure to note it down, ensure you have all the information required from them on the subject and use it as part of your closing conversation, rather than making them feel as though you are telling them what to do on the spot.
We all know some of our clients can get very passionate about how they have lived in the property previously and even the personal renovations they have contributed to get it to where it is today. If you start slamming them with, ‘This is what is required under legislation', you could put them off and push them away from choosing you as they could see this as forceful and arrogant.
If the opportunity is there, try and use it as a tool during your lead-in or even closing conversation. This means you are still making clear what is expected, and it still allows them the opportunity to decide based on your expert opinion. You can also use this opportunity to provide more than one alternative as to what may help them moving forward and allow them to choose what will work best for them. Basically, it gives you more time to think rather than rushing the process, which will keep you in that leadership role during the meeting.
From my experience, you will find during this process that you will be giving the other person a compliment sandwich. Start with the warm and fuzzy opening by showing genuine interest in what they are presenting and future decisions they plan to make with the investment. The middle is where you must invest your full focus and leadership skills, as discussions will take place around hot topics like fees, maintenance, occupants, pets, agency involvement and expectations. This is an area where you need to perform and deliver. Then, finally, we make sure we close our meeting with compliments, with the aim of signing the business on the day – or at least know when we will be having our next discussion. Don't waste your time putting in all the hard work to be left wondering if they are even going to call.
The listing presentation is more than just the actual appointment; it's everything that happens before and after. Use every opportunity to make an impression and show your prospects that you are the right person to manage their most valuable asset. ■
NO PROPERTY OWNER EXPECTS YOU TO BE PERFECT OR A FINANCIAL SPECIALIST, SO TAKE YOUR TIME AND GET IT RIGHT.