Jason Forrest is a sales trainer, management coach, member of the National Speakers Association’s Million Dollar Speakers Group, and author of three books, including his latest, Leadership Sales Coaching. Learn more at www.fpg.com.
Earn Loyalty From the Wealthiest Buyers
One successful luxury real estate agent has a secret for how to make high-end buyers happy: not giving them what they want when they want it.
February 25, 2016
What makes a real estate professional indispensable to the wealthiest home buyers in the market? The intuitive answers are likely to be wrong.
Sure, wealthy buyers expect top-notch service and all the bells and whistles. But at the highest level, high-end buyers are used to getting what they want and having people do exactly what they say. They usually have personal attendants, office assistants, and others to take care of their every need. Many agents expect that luxury buyers want their real estate pro to be just another one of the many other people serving them — someone to simply give them what they ask for. The line of reasoning goes that these buyers aren’t asking their housekeeper to use whatever laundry detergent happens to be on sale or to wash the dishes whenever they get around to it. They’re not inviting their chauffeur to just pick somewhere to drive them. They’re not turning over their fortune to portfolio managers and allowing them to speculate in the stock market however they see fit. And they’re not empowering their real estate salesperson to suggest what features will best suit their needs or what tradeoffs might be worth considering. After all, those who make it into that upper echelon don’t generally get there without being control freaks on some level. They know what they want.
But when it comes to getting the property that’s just right for them, buyers often don’t know how to get it. The truth is what these buyers think they want and what they actually need are not the same. High-end buyers end up frustrated when they see their real estate professional as someone who simply takes their list of non-negotiables — what they want, their price range, and the features they need — and delivers a house that fits the bill. And if you see your role with high-end buyers in such oversimplified terms, you’ll end up frustrated, too. Such a business relationship is based on false expectations. As a result, the buyer doesn’t get the right house (or any house at all), and you don’t get the sale.
Dolly Lenz understands this dynamic and takes the counterintuitive but effective approach of leading her clients to a solution they’ll love (whether it’s one they asked for or not). This has earned Lenz (who routinely deals with buyers whose net worth is in excess of $50 million) $8.5 billion in sales in her quarter-century career.
Lenz has made herself invaluable to a demanding clientele because she is confident about what she offers and can lead buyers to the best solution. She is the real estate expert. Her buyers may be leaders and experts in their arenas, but her job is to take the lead in her world (real estate) where she has the inside information and connections that enable her to find the right property time and time again.
Your team of sales associates may or may not routinely interact with high-dollar buyers, but Lenz’s approach highlights an important lesson. She’s confident enough to not just take it at face value when her clients tell her what they want or don’t want.
So brokers, take a close look at your team. How do they respond to high-end buyers? Do they work to fulfill an order or do they take the lead, knowing they are the experts in this area? Your team consists of sales pros, not servants. In order to make your team members invaluable to the wealthiest home buyers on earth, you must empower them to act accordingly.