For someone to choose you to guide them through the biggest financial decision of their lives, there has to be trust.
So, how do you show a prospect that you are trustworthy? How do you continue to grow that trust throughout the transaction? And how do you maintain trust with your clients, even months and years after close?
Let's find out!
6 Ways To Build Trust With Prospects & Clients
Whether it's that first follow-up call to a web lead, the official listing presentation, a viewing with your buyer, or a catch-up call with a past client, here are some ways to build trust with your prospects and clients.
1) Lay the foundation of trust early in the relationship.
With the right marketing strategy, you can earn people's trust before you ever even meet them. Use content marketing: create and share content that is relevant, timely, and valuable to your target audience. Don't sell; just give.
Push yourself to create videos. Nothing fancy, just flip your phone to selfie mode and record yourself talking. Many people prefer to watch a video rather than read something, and when they can see your face and hear your voice, they can get a sense of your personality and authenticity before they ever meet you.
What to say in your video? Remember the 3 pillars of content marketing: relevant, timely, valuable. You could provide a quick market update, give an informal tour of some really cool features in your recent listing, or rattle off a few quick tips.
If you're nervous about getting in front of the camera, just imagine that you're having a conversation with your favorite client. What would you say to them?
For inspiration, check out broker Ara Mamourian's videos on Facebook.
2) Be positive.
Emotions are contagious, as Daniel Pink points out in his book To Sell Is Human.
So if you approach a listing presentation with a positive attitude—full of joy, or gratitude, or genuine interest in the person sitting across from you—they are likely to mirror that positive emotion.
And when you manage to infect your prospect with the positivity bug, you have a better chance of earning their trust. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, author of the book Positivity, writes that positive emotions "broaden people's ideas about possible actions, opening our awareness to a wider range of thoughts and...making us more receptive."
"...Emotions can be contagious. That is, the effects of positivity during a sales encounter infect the buyer, making him less adversarial, more open to possibility, and perhaps willing to reach an agreement in which both parties benefit. And when both sides leave the table satisfied, that can establish a sustained relationship and smooth the way for subsequent transactions."
- Daniel Pink, To Sell Is Human
3) See things from the client's perspective.
To gain trust, you must be skilled at perspective-taking. Get out of your head (and away from that nagging voice in your head urging you to "always be closing") and get into the mind of your prospect or client. What are they thinking and feeling?
Daniel Pink provides some excellent guidance on how to hone your perspective-taking skills in his book, To Sell Is Human. I summarized some key takeaways here: 5 Strategies for Connecting More Deeply With Your Real Estate Clients.
4) Be collaborative.
Don't take the head-on approach of telling your clients what they need. Instead, work side-by-side with them to collaborate on identifying their needs and coming up with solutions.
When you include the prospect/client in the process and allow them to give input, you gain their trust and are more likely to earn their business.
For buyer prospects, this could simply be asking them what they're looking for in their next home. You could give them homework: "I want you to categorize your desired home features into must-haves vs. nice-to-haves. Then we'll meet again on Monday to discuss those and look over some Coming Soon listings."
5) Get organized and be prepared (so you can be present).
Before every interaction with a prospect or client, take a minute to look over your notes in your CRM. If you've stayed on top of things, you should be able to pop into the lead profile and see an entire history of your interactions with this person.
When you're prepared for a meeting—when you know exactly what you need to say—it allows you to be fully present.
You won't be in a rush. You won't be scrambling through your notes or trying to come up with the right thing to say.
Instead, you'll be listening. You'll be giving the prospect or client your full attention. You'll be learning more about them. And you'll be earning their trust.
6) Always follow through on your promises.
Even the smallest discrepancies between what you say you'll do and what you actually do can erode trust.
If you asked a prospect for a five-minute phone call, set a timer so you don't accidentally go over.
If you promised a client they could call you during your vacation, don't let that call go to voicemail.
Be 100% dependable, even on the little things.
People want to work with a real estate agent they can trust.
So how will you demonstrate your trustworthiness?
Will you launch a content marketing strategy focused on educating and informing people in your community?
Will you get more organized with your CRM, hone your listening skills, and work on being more present?
Or maybe you'll start with simply sticking to your promises, even the small ones. Because people need to know they can trust you with the little things before they'll trust you with one of the biggest transactions of their life.