Expertise is the number one word that should come to people's minds when they see your name. If you're still projecting the old image of a pushy real estate salesperson who is only interested in getting them to sign on the dotted line, then you need to reframe yourself in the eyes of your clients.
Being an expert is not easy. It takes consistency and effort. It's not something that you can do once and then forget about. To be a true expert, you need to live and breathe your expertise. You need to stay on top of new trends and developments. You need to be dedicated to providing your clients with information that they desperately need.
This applies to past clients as well. You cannot assume that just because somebody has done business with you once that they'll do business with you again. To be a true expert, you must maintain your expert status long before and long after the sale.
There are five main areas to becoming an expert:
This is so incredibly important. Every day, you need to be out there gathering information about what's going on in the areas you serve.
Council meetings, new zoning regulations, recent crimes, new business developments-these are all items you should know and be able to discuss at a moment's notice. Read the local newspapers that serve your areas. Call reporters to get clarification on what you read. Call town or city officials to ask their opinion on local news that pertains to real estate. Visit local convenience stores and coffee shops with the intent to just listen to the conversations that people are having.
When you embed yourself in a community like this, you literally become a part of it. You know what's going on because you're an insider. You need to "feel the pulse" of the communities you serve so that you can inform your clients of developments that pertain to them. This makes you an incredibly valuable resource-and they will be impressed.
It's one thing to watch the evening news on television. It's completely another to read five different newspapers every morning while clipping articles that may interest your clients. This is how you get to know real estate at a deep level-by being a part of your community's history as it unfolds.
You may not realize how a tiny piece of information that you read two weeks ago might play a part in helping a client this afternoon. If you had missed the article that gave you the information, you'd miss an opportunity to serve your client in the best way possible.
Watch the national news too-because that's what your clients are watching. Make notes about what's being told to the masses and compare the reports to actual numbers in your community. Prove or disprove them correct.
For example, foreclosures are high all across the country right now-but not in Washington. If your clients are only watching the national news, they may not fully realize this important fact. Right there you have a reason to contact them-just to let them know for their future reference.
Trust me, this is powerful. When you highlight a recent news report and express your opinion while quoting local numbers, you impress your clients.
From methods of home construction to types of mortgages, you need to be an expert in each and every area of real estate to which your clients will be exposed. This doesn't mean you need to go apprentice with a builder, but you should know some construction basics that other agents don't know.
You should also be able to discuss APR, points, and closing costs-even though you are not a mortgage broker. It is still important to help your client understand how the process works from end-to-end with details that others may gloss over.
This goes beyond local or national news. This usually requires a mentor-somebody who has seen twenty years' worth of comings and goings. Take your mentor to lunch and prepare some questions to ask about the long-term trends in the area.
If you've been in the business a long time yourself, then create a spreadsheet based on trends that you've witnessed over the past decade or two. Have sales of certain types of homes gone up while others have gone down? Has your center of sales activity moved? What large employers have moved into or out of your area? How have all these factors affected property ownership?
Asking and answering these questions will give you insight that goes way beyond what anyone could get from studying a few local newspapers. History runs deep. If you know an area's history, you can better impress your clients with powerful knowledge about the community in which they live or the one to which they want to move.
Being an expert means understanding how you can best serve your clients. You have your own personal set of talents, interests, and abilities. The next real estate agent down the street doesn't possess your unique set of knowledge and characteristics-even if he or she has more designations or more experience.
Perhaps you're a natural-born communicator. Maybe you have an ability to connect with people wherever you go. In this case, your business should revolve around a more personality-driven style. Look at me, for example. I discovered a long time ago that I can best serve people by being an outspoken and inspirational voice in my community.
Perhaps you're very good at crunching numbers. Then, you might be better suited to more complicated types of real estate-such as commercial properties or working with builders on new developments.
My point here is that if you don't know your own strengths, then how can you develop the expertise to impress your clients? Real estate is about so much more than selling homes. When you ask yourself the important questions and uncover your personal strengths-then customize your business to them-you will impress your clients.
Want to impress? Be impressive. Spend time on each of the above steps and your clients will be saying, "Wow!"