[ecis2016.org] Here is a guide on how property brokers can improve their communication skills while dealing with clients and grow their business
If a sales pitch has the potential to clinch a business deal, the reverse can also be true. It is quite usual for buyers to hear real estate agents make tall promises. They also expect the agent to speak poorly of his competitors. This somewhat negative, yet, common tendency, however, is likely to severely dent a broker’s business. This is why conscious efforts must be made by real estate advisors, while choosing their words when making statements and selecting responses. Let us look at some of the common communication errors that brokers tend to make and how to avoid the same.
You are reading: Communication tips for property brokers in India
Seeking personal information
Seeking personal information from clients that has nothing to do with the work at hand, is very unprofessional. It is understandable that you would need access to personal information of the client, to help them find what they are seeking. This, however, should come from them, rather than from you. Some questions / statements to avoid are:
‘Sir, are you from Lucknow? Even I am from there.’
‘Where do your kids go to school?’
‘How much money can you pay ultimately?’
‘Can you ask your family members for a loan, to increase the down-payment?’
‘You should increase your budget!’
‘If you don’t mind me asking, which state do you belong to?’
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Making unrealistic promises
Just to emphasise a point, one may often end up using the phrase ‘I guarantee’. When a written agreement is signed between two parties, they are obliged to honour the commitments made towards each other under the contract. Even then, there are no guarantees that they would be able to perform their mandated tasks. For example, if you had ‘guaranteed’ the buyer that his housing unit would be ready by August 2020, in December 2019, the Coronavirus pandemic would have proved you wrong. Hence, make a conscious effort to keep this phrase out, when you are having a professional conversation.
A similar oft-used expression is ‘trust me’. This statement is often made in an attempt to form a more personal tie with the client. ‘To the best of my understanding’ would be a more appropriate alternative, in place of ‘trust me’.
Boasting about oneself
Even though it is quite important that you let the customer know about your USPs, you must tread carefully, while walking that path. What might seem to you as mere elaboration of facts, might sound like pompous boasting to your customers. Let your services and products do most of the talking, after you give a preliminary introduction of who you are as a company, what you do and how you do it. There is no need to make statements such as ‘we are the market leader’, ‘we are the best service providers here’, ‘nobody can offer services like we do’, etc.
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Being aggressive or insulting the buyer
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There are sentences that sometimes sound like an open threat or an insult to the buyer:
‘You won’t be able to find such a property in this location.’
‘Nobody will give you this much discount.’
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‘Your budget does not allow this.’
‘You will regret missing out on this deal.’
‘In your budget, this is the only property you can get.’
‘You should increase your budget to buy a good property.’
‘Your property is not good enough to get you the asking price.’
By making statements like these, you are trying to bully the buyer into accepting a proposition you have made. While there is no denying that these statements that play on the concept of reverse psychology, may work in your favour, the chances of them not working are much higher. This is especially true in a slow-moving market, where the consumer is the king and sellers must make every effort to keep them in good humor.
Attacking your competitors
When your business competitor’s name is mentioned, avoid the temptation to make negative remarks, such as:
‘Everyone knows they are frauds.’
‘Their business is in trouble’.
‘They keep fooling clients.’
‘I wouldn’t do business with them if I were you.’
‘I know them personally and they are no good.’
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‘I have been in this market for longer than anyone.’
‘They don’t understand the market.’
‘They are known to fleece customers.’
Even if we were to assume there was some factual correctness in the above-mentioned statements, these simply make you sound desperate and mean enough to rely on your rival’s weakness, rather than your strengths to do business. If the clients do bring up the competition, the best policy would be to politely refuse to indulge them. You would definitely be judged more positively by the client for not getting into frivolous statements and maintaining a business-like discourse.
When an inexperienced buyer or seller approaches you, seeking your assistance is buying/selling his property, it is your professional responsibility to make them aware of the various implications of the transaction. You should hand-hold them through their journey, so that the transaction is completed smoothly. You could also walk that extra mile to be of assistance and help them save on, say, taxes, etc. However, unsolicited advice, even from the best of professionals, is seldom welcome.
‘Why are you registering the property in your name only? Stamp duty is lower if the home is registered in the name of your wife.’
‘Don’t mind my saying this but you should have taken a bigger home, considering the size of your family.’
Statements like these make the listener uncomfortable and ill at ease, at best. Brokers should, hence, refrain from making such remarks.
It is human to exaggerate facts a little, depending on our likes and dislikes. For example, if you like a certain project, you may only have nice things to say about it, conveniently forgetting its disadvantages. If you have a low opinion about a certain neighbourhood, you may try to unearth facts to support your opinion and forget about the advantages that it offers.
‘That neighbourhood / project is bad.’
‘That builder is a fraud.’
‘The bank is sketchy.’
‘Nobody can get you a better deal.’
A property agent can perform his job well and efficiently, only if he gives the customer his undivided attention, while the latter is explaining his requirements. Interrupting the client midway, jumping to conclusions, launching a volley of questions and showing an utter disregard for taking notes, are some of the mistakes that property brokers in India often commit. Conscious efforts must be made to prepare your responses suitably.
5 don’ts for brokers
5 must-dos for brokers
When dealing with clients over the phone
What is the right sales pitch for a property broker?
As a thumb rule, brokers should focus on talking about their offerings and listening to the client for their requirement. The dialogue between the two parties should never be dominated by tall claims or discussions about the weaknesses of competitors.
What role does communication play in brand-building for brokers?
The success of your business would depend majorly on your communication skills. A positive pitch will help you grow your business in a more sustained manner than an aggressive, negative pitch.
How can brokers communicate with clients during COVID-19?
While making a sales pitch during the Coronavirus pandemic, brokers can utilise online tools such as virtual reality tours of the property, schedule meetings with the client and seller through video-conferencing, and carry out all correspondence through emails.
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