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I know how long it takes to create a new buyer or seller relationship into an actual client, then a listing, sale and closing. It is truly a value-driven business—the agent or team who creates the winning relationship is the one who adds value to the process for the buyer or seller.

What differentiates your team? Are they focused on building a relationship with a new client, or just trying to close a deal? So many more positive outcomes happen when you focus on a long-term relationship with the client. Build a true relationship with a client, and you will have repeat and referral business from them for years to come.

Follow these proven strategies that will help your team add value and build genuine, long-term relationships with your client base, which will result in not only happy clients, but also, happy clients who will literally refer you to every single person they know.

Work at their pace. I suggest meeting people where they are, meaning, if their needs are more urgent because their house is sold, their lease is up or they are relocating to your marketplace and they need to buy a house right now, then that’s great—they have more immediate needs, and, as such, you will service them that way. If, on the other hand, they are in their current home, don’t need to move out and want to move up within the school district to a specific neighborhood, then you may have a potential client whose needs are not immediate and more long-term, and you would show them homes less often, but still work with them.

Ask more questions. The person who asks the most questions certainly does control the conversation, and with each question, you can figure out the next natural step in the progression of them buying or selling. Asking leading questions helps you better help them—not asking them questions means you find things out as they happen. I always like to ask people,”Where do you want to live and when do you want to be there?” and “What’s going on with your lives within the next 60-90 days?” Some of the information you gather could change their financing ability or their closing schedule. Always ask more questions and lead the effort.

Listen to emotion.
Great salespeople listen to emotions and not facts. You have to watch body language and listen to the tone of their voice to help you understand why they are in the mindset they are in and the decision track they are following. Listening and responding to their body language and tone is the most effective way to figure out their objections, and allow you to overcome them, as well. Usually validating their concerns and then uncovering what is really bothering them will help you, too, figure out what is really going on behind the decisions they are making.

Add tremendous “surprise” and “extra” value.
The experience you have with your buyer or seller client should be Ritz Carlton-level service along every step of the home-buying or selling process. “Adding value” means doing things that other agents don’t do—going the extra mile to send them thank-you emails, cards and closing gifts, and, even more so, handling the pre- and post-sale details for them. Ensuring that every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed goes a long way. The way you speak and offer your services should be value-driven, meaning what you do actually helps them save money or time and destresses the process. Offering a “Homebuyer Guide” in print or digitally will help your buyers by organizing the home-buying process for them, including mortgage loan referrals, home inspectors, title companies, moving checklists, and more.  This goes beyond the average agent’s service and takes your quality service standard to a much higher level.

Thank your loyal clients for their business. What makes an agent’s stellar reputation is how you treat your clients during and after the closing of their home sale or purchase. Communicating with them along every step to make sure they know what is happening, providing more information they didn’t know to ask for and offering solutions to their everyday needs during and after the closing will brand you as the top-of-class in your market. Make sure you thank your clients at every stage of the process both verbally and in writing. Showing gratitude is such an important part of any relationship, and letting your clients know that you take nothing for granted and how special they are to you will truly cement your relationship—and, honestly, just makes everyone feel appreciated and good.

Client’s needs first, not the sale. Working with your agents to teach them how to genuinely create long-lasting clients for life starts at the team leader and is truly believed at each level. Putting your need to just close a deal second to the client’s needs is paramount to creating a relationship based on trust and confidence. We get what we give. When you give freely and provide true servant-type service that adds value, you will have an abundance of clients that will be attracted to your value-driven style.

For a free copy of my exclusive “Agent Skills Assessment,” click here.

Sherri Johnson is CEO and founder of Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting. With 20 years of experience in real estate, Johnson offers coaching, consulting and keynotes, and is a national speaker for the Secrets of Top Selling Agents tour and the Official Real Estate Coach for McKissock Learning and Real Estate Express. For more information, please contact or 844-989-2600 (toll-free) or visit