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7 Ways to Set the Stage for Successful Buyer-Client Relationships

How do your agents approach their first meeting with buyers? Do they primarily focus on establishing friendly rapport, or do they work from a set of ground rules that can substantially impact the client relationship beyond the initial buyer consultation?

Rapport is significant, but it’s not enough. In your next sales meeting, consider discussing these seven essentials, which lay the groundwork for successful transactions.

  1. Establish expectations. Remind your agents that client relationships are a two-way street in terms of each party having expectations and obligations. Buyer’s agents should be able to explain their services in a clear and compelling manner so that buyers understand what to expect. Similarly, agents should clarify what they expect from their buyers.
  1. Use buyer agreements. A written and signed buyer representation agreement is a powerful tool for reinforcing expectations, reducing misunderstandings, demonstrating the scope of services provided and encouraging loyalty. Each state’s real estate license laws set specific guidance. Consider using one, even if it’s not required.
  1. Insist on pre-approvals. If a buyer isn’t ready, willing and able to purchase a home, they’ll be at a significant disadvantage when negotiating with sellers. Encourage your agents to require pre-approvals before they invest substantial time in a buyer’s house-hunting efforts.
  1. Review needs and wants. Ask useful questions and listen carefully to buyer preferences. It’s the only way your agents can successfully support a buyer’s goals. Also, remind your agents that Fair Housing laws require a neutral approach. Let buyers direct all decisions concerning desirable properties.
  1. Discuss market conditions. Agents who do a good job discussing and explaining current inventory, pricing dynamics and other significant market factors accomplish multiple goals. First, it’s a great way to showcase an agent’s knowledge and build credibility with buyers. Additionally, it can empower buyers to make smarter, realistic purchasing and negotiating decisions.
  1. Review data security. Make sure your brokerage has taken adequate steps to safeguard clients’ personal information, and be ready to address any related concerns clients may raise. If a buyer goes under contract, be sure your agents are alerting them to the risk of real estate wire fraud and how to prevent it.
  1. Take precautionary measures. Safety isn’t limited to data security; it also includes protecting your agents. First and foremost, encourage them to arrange all initial meetings with buyers at your office or in a public location. Of course, there are also many other ways to promote agent safety beyond first-time meetings with buyer-clients.

Habits Worth Developing
These steps, followed consistently, can lay the groundwork for successful buyer-client relationships that drive future real estate opportunities. Likewise, when your agents adhere to these steps, you’re also reducing your brokerage’s exposure to complaints, formal grievances or more substantial problems.

These topics, and many more, are covered extensively in the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) Designation course. Learn more at

Marc D. Gould is senior vice president of Member Development for NAR, overseeing a wide range of professional development programs for REALTORS®, including the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC). REBAC is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who have completed the specialized education and documented experience in working with consumers purchasing a home. To learn more, visit