As agents, we must constantly be thinking of ways to engage our prospects/clients as they formulate and then tweak their real estate goals through the years. Let’s take a look at three key stages involved with our client relationships…the beginning courtship, the negotiating phase and the bonding stage.

The beginning courtship with a client starts your first meeting, whether that meeting is on your website, a random phone call, a referral from a friend/client or a serendipitous walk-in off the street into your office.  Regardless of the circumstances, make that first time meeting a good one by remembering the person’s name.  To help you remember, try the mind trick of repeating/saying her name three times in the first five minutes of your connection with each other.  “Hello, Sally Sue.”  “Nice to meet you, Sally Sue.”  “Where are you from, Sally Sue?”  “What brings you to (your town/city), Sally Sue?”  “Have you been here before, Sally Sue?”  You get the idea…normal, natural conversational questions and comments we all say upon meeting a person for the first time.  Now that you’ve said Sally Sue’s name several times, you’ll never forget it and she’ll never forget that you remembered it.

Also, upon meeting a prospect/client for the first time, be present and be enthusiastic about meeting this person. Any “to-do’s” on your desk, computer or phone can wait until after this first meeting is complete.  The distracted, bored, unexcited agent doesn’t hold a candle to an agent who is engaged, present and enthusiastic. Your presence and enthusiasm will make this person feel important.  Now that he feels important, most likely he won’t go off searching for another agent to pay attention to him and his goals.

The negotiating phase happens after you and your client have a solid relationship with each other (he trusts you and your ability to represent his interests to the best of your ability), the client’s settled upon a property and the client commits himself to that property. Since you are doing the negotiating on behalf of your client, remember that silence is golden. You have already, prior to this negotiation, made your client’s wishes clearly known so resist the urge to speak…it is not up to you to move the negotiation forward. It is up to the other agent to move the process forward…allow her the time and space to do that by remaining silent.  Always keep in mind that the first person to speak in a negotiation, aside from the initial niceties, usually loses.

The bonding stage comes once you and your client have successfully been around the block together on one or more properties.  Now you feel comfortable sharing your goals with her. Let her know that one of your goals this year is to help “x” number of families buy and/or sell a home and that you’re wondering whether or not she might be able to help you do that.

People are flattered to be asked for help.  They feel trusted and valued by the person doing the asking. They’re likely to think to themselves, “She’d do it for me if I asked,”  or “She never let me down as a professional and I’m confident she’ll be as good for my brother/sister/colleague as she’s been to me. They might even thank me for referring her to them.”

Remember these subtle, but important ways of developing your working relationship and you’ll be on your way to having a client for life!