1. Identifying the prospects you want to work with; and
2. Successfully enrolling these prospects in working with you exclusively
At first glance it may look like building good rapport only pertains to the second activity above, but I can assure you this comes into play in your prospecting also. The reason I know this is both because of my own experience as a real estate agent, and because of my experience as a lender working with real estate agents.
Whenever prospects have contacted me, wanting "all the info about financing a house", I'm quickly sizing-up whether or not I'd be interested in working with them. Most of the time I am able to get to the core of the intentions and am usually happy to help them. However, there are a certain number of people who are just "shopping for free information" and I wish them luck in their search. I don't have time to waste on tire kickers; I need to dedicate my hours to those who are seriously interested in financing their dream home.
Also, in my travels I come in contact with a ton of real estate agents. Unlike most lenders, I don't harass and bother real estate agents looking to get a loan. You know the type, they come in to your office constantly trying to "chat you up" and "build rapport" to try to get business from you. They ply you with doughnuts and cookies, trying to catch a break. If you have gained too many pounds the last few years, you might want to blame some of the "lender ants" who are pushing doughnuts on you!
I feel that many of the agents I come in contact with lack the professionalism of really being someone I'd want to work with. This is primarily because there are simply a lot of mediocre agents out there doing business, and I only want to work with someone who is professional, knowledgeable, and really communicates to me that serving their clients' needs is their number one priority.
So I realize that if an agent approaches their prospects in a way that I wouldn't want to be treated, it is simply easier to be polite and friendly and not play the "pick me" game only to get my reputation tarnished down the road because they don't know how to do their job.
I mean, why would I want to open the door to developing a relationship with them only to regret it later? I'd simply rather move on and work with an agent who shares my vision of customer service.
So if this is the way that I feel about working with them, do you think that a lot of other people out there probably feel this way too? If you were in the market for insurance, and an insurance salesperson called you who you felt was pushy and overly-aggressive or didn't have your best interests in mind, don't you think you might politely try to end the conversation instead of opening the door to potentially having them become your regular agent? I think this response is probably very natural for quite a lot of people.
With this in mind, your presentation and rapport-building skills will definitely affect how successful you are at finding new prospects. The more that people like you and feel that you're someone they will want to work with, the more they'll open up to you and tell you the truth about when they'll be looking to buy or sell in the future as well as recommending their friends and relatives to you.
If you've been in the real estate business for a number of years now, you may have even experienced the following scenario:
You connected with a prospect within the past few months and they told you they had no plans to buy, sell, or lease in the near future. Now, either weeks or a few months later, you've found out that a competing agent has signed an exclusive agreement to represent the exact same prospect.
While it's possible that there was some sudden change that necessitated the prospect now taking action, it's also possible that the first impression you made didn't convince the prospect that you were the agent they should be working with. If this is the case, you may really need to work on your presentation and rapport-building skills with your prospects.
Here are two methods I recommend for doing this:
1. Get on the phone with someone you know and role play a typical prospecting call where
you're talking with the prospect for the very first time. Record the conversation so you
can listen to it again later on.
2. Videotape a typical presentation you might make to one of your prospects when you're
meeting with them for the first time. Just as in the first exercise above, have someone
you know role play with you as the prospect you're meeting with.
You will be surprised at what you hear and see. I learned this technique several years ago and it was truly an eye opening experience. I never would have guessed that I said some of the things that came out of my mouth and what my body language conveyed to me.
What I've found to be very true about building successful business relationships is that people want to do business with people who share the same beliefs, ideals, and opinions that they do. They also want to work with people who communicate that they provide great service, and that the client's needs will always come before their own. In addition, people want to feel that you're someone very similar to who they are themselves.
So the way that you look, dress, talk, and move your body will communicate whether the prospect feels you are someone they will want to work with...or not. With this in mind you'll want to vary the tone, tempo, volume, and timbre of your voice to match that of your prospects, in addition to matching their body language, too. In the process you'll want to look and dress in the best way imaginable for the type of meeting you'll be having, the location where the meeting will take place, and the person you'll be meeting with.
Finally, when you listen to and watch the recordings of how you're presenting right now to your prospects, you'll learn a lot that will enable you to take your presentation skills to a whole new level. When you learn to match and mirror your prospects' voices and body language, you'll soon find a lot more of your prospects deciding that you're simply the best agent they would ever want to work with.
Let me know if you have any questions. I want to help you be more successful in any way that I am able.
Just thought you should know.
Have a profitable day,