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Many of today’s brokers are proactively shifting their marketing strategies. Instead of mentoring agents to focus on closing the highest volume of transactions, more brokers are embracing relationship marketing. Relationship marketing recognizes the value of long-term associations aimed at developing and managing trusting and permanent relationships. When you contemplate the ways to develop lasting relationships with your firm’s clientele, consider this: The 2015 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that helping the buyer understand the purchase process is the No. 1 benefit provided by an agent. You can train your team to provide explanations about the purchase process along the way, but I believe the best approach is to start with a comprehensive buyer counseling session.

Successful buyer counseling sessions accomplish several goals: they ensure that the buyer is well-informed, educated and knowledgeable; that the buyer understands the buying process and what is required; that the buyer is ready, willing and able to buy; and that the buyer is loyal and enthusiastic about referring other prospects to your brokerage. These sessions help cultivate long-term relationships based on mutual trust and respect because they allow agents to share personal details, work experience and areas of expertise. Successful buyer counseling sessions lay the groundwork for long-term relationships, resulting in a loyal and indelible customer base for your brokerage. With all this in mind, I encourage you to share the following tips with your buyer’s agents to help them master the buyer counseling session.

Pitch. The buyer counseling session is the opportune time for your agents to distinguish themselves and their services, building value for the homebuyer. It’s also the time to discuss what buyers need to prepare for before the home tours begin. Have agents explain how a well-informed buyer’s agent can guide the homebuyer through this complicated process to avoid any mishaps that could otherwise occur.

Listen. A successful home-buying counseling session is the ideal time for your agents to uncover exactly what the homebuyer is looking for. By asking the proper questions, listening carefully and analyzing the information, your agents will be able to advise and advocate for the homebuyer.

Educate. Homebuyers have access to more information than ever before. Your agents can add value to the buyer counseling session by providing an interpretation of all the information a homebuyer is bombarded with. Agents can also add value by helping to navigate the mortgage process through the coordination of important documentation. This act of sharing knowledge gets buyers involved in the learning process, strengthening the foundation of long-standing, fiduciary relationships.

Ensuring all members of your team earn their Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation will enhance their buyer representation skills and give them access to REBAC member benefits, such as: Mastering the Buyer Counseling Session webinar; A 4-Step Guide for Successful Home Buyer Seminars; the Home Buyer’s Toolkit; Consumer One-Sheets; and the ABR® PowerPoint Template.

Working with your agents to develop a well-rounded buyer counseling session will result in lasting relationships between your firm, your agents and their clients, and an enduring customer base for your brokerage.

Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for NAR and executive director of REBAC. A wholly-owned subsidiary of NAR, The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer.

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