Post by Colleen Poynton, Manager of Business Strategy and Development at Investing In Communities
You’re still in real estate. Still. As in – still after one of the worst downturns an industry has ever seen, you’re still in it. Why?
Why do you do what you do? You help people purchase and sell property. You help companies find the right space, or landlords find the right tenants.
If you stuck out this recession, the odds are decent that your job isn’t just a paycheck. There’s a reason you do it. When was the last time you shared that reason with a potential client?
“People buy things from people they like and can relate to.” This great insight is from an article by Lambeth Hochwald over at Entreprenuer.com. Simon Sinek puts it another way – “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Let’s translate these observational statements into actionable business strategy: If you want to establish trust, loyalty, and a productive business relationship you need to create a connection with potential clients.
Hochwald’s article offers several good recommendations of how to build that connection, but point #4 may be the most critical, and I think, the most frequently misinterpreted: “Talk about yourself.” You probably already do this – sort of. You tell clients all about your expertise, your past success, your certifications, client endorsements, etc…etc…
You tell them how you’ll meet their real estate need, but do you ever tell them why?
Perhaps you love to help create strong, vibrant business districts in your city. Perhaps you have a passion for homes and interior spaces – for their idiosyncrasies and personalities. Perhaps you’re a life-long resident of your city/town/county and you know the neighborhoods/schools/parks/local gems better than anyone. Maybe you just really get a kick out of making clients happy.
For some excellent insight into why the WHY is critical, watch this great Ted Talk by Sinek.
Okay, so back to point #4.
The author also suggests that you share a personal fact about yourself (not too personal) – one a customer can relate to. Maybe you volunteer at a local shelter, tutor kids on the weekend, lead a scout troop, or do pro-bono web development for nonprofits (call me). Whatever it is – odds are there’s something other than work that makes you tick. That human element is – surprise – something your clients happen to share.
Point 5 in this article is also essential. Now that you’ve opened up a bit, sit back and listen. What’s important to the person across from you? What makes them tick? Do you share a common passion, conviction, or hobby? If the answer is yes, you’ve successfully laid the foundation for an authentic relationship – one that just happens to involve a business transaction.