Three tips for better client relationships
Keep your clients.
Have you ever had the experience of finally getting that motivated and saleable instruction that you’ve been nurturing and keeping up-to-date for months (maybe even years), a client who you put so much work into that you thought would sole instruct you without question – and then, without warning, they start talking about bringing your competition into the process because they’ve heard “you have to make the agents work for you”?
You have? You’re not alone.
This pattern plays out more than in should and it’s a symptom of poorly managed client relationships. If you lose an instruction, or your client elects to move from sole agency to multi, you have no one else to blame but yourself.
The good news is that there are three steps you can take once you’ve secured the business to manage your relationship more effectively, prevent potential trouble spots before they eventuate and protect your long and hard-won business.
Let’s run through ‘em.
Once you’ve secured the instruction and the paperwork is signed, go back the next day and conduct a strategy meeting. The whole point of this meeting is to outline your process over the first few weeks, to discuss what success in that time looks like and (most importantly) to talk about what will change if your defined idea of success isn’t achieved.
Your aim during this meeting is to get your client to talk specifically about their motivations and needs and to agree what success looks like in the initial listing period as well as to agree what strategy adjustment should take place if the agreed success benchmarks don’t happen. Get this down in writing and both sign it.
This agreement will identify between three and five clear, measurable priorities that you and they are willing to be held accountable for fulfilling over the next three weeks. This critical document positions your entire team to deliver successfully on the client’s terms and builds up credits in the emotional bank account for the future.
This meeting gives your client the opportunity to help define what a successful campaign looks like in the early stages and then gives you the right to bring about a strategy change that has already been agreed if and when needed to make the most of the critical first few weeks on the market.
During this strategy meeting, arrange for your team to attend for the first 10 minutes, view the property in person and introduce themselves to your client. This ensures there’s never a stranger calling your client.
The presence and engagement of team is critical in managing and protecting the client relationship.
Do not feel shy about asking for engagement from your team while on the meeting. Having your team ask questions about your sellers circumstances or property and giving professional comments on the instruction or taking videos of the home on their phones to send to potential buyers all aids in reassuring the client that they’ve made the right choice in engaging your services. In any instruction, the commitment of your team to be available for these meetings is not too much to ask. In a market when stock is so tight, and service levels are so vital to securing, protecting and selling stock, these meetings should be made a priority for you and your team.
Schedule in advance and hold weekly face-to-face review meetings to seriously discuss the numbers, feedback, marketing and strategy.
These sessions must be scheduled and held consistently, and a weekly schedule should be your starting point as an absolute minimum. These meetings are what keeps your relationship solid and they are what earn you the right to discuss a strategy change or price correction sooner in the process.
A seven day window between sessions typically provides the right amount of time for valid measurement of performance and implementation of agreed actions.
The whole point of the meeting is that it’s not about you. Rather, it’s all about how the client defines and quantifies the value you’ve already delivered and how it all relates back to the definition of success you spoke about and agreed on in that first strategy setup meeting.
Bringing it all together…
If you follow these three simple steps, and letting your clients help define what success looks like, you will identify what’s truly important to the client, agree a plan and make sure you are both accountable to that.
By following these steps to strengthen the relationship with your clients, you’ll earn the right to have the courageous conversations (which more of are sincerely needed!) sooner than your competitors can convince your client to meet with them and you will give yourself the best opportunity possible to get an outstanding result for your clients and get paid.