Tips for your first meeting with a new client
Like an important interview or a promising first date, meeting a prospective client for the first time can be a little nerve wracking. Leaving the right impression could result in a profitable transaction and a long, fulfilling business relationship for both parties. Here are a few tips for nailing your first client meeting.
Do your homework
Before you meet a client for the first time, there are a few things you can do to help prepare. If the prospective client provided any information about themselves — whether they’re buying or selling, what their budget is or the neighbourhood they’re interested in, use this info to do some research. Dig up the most recent comparable properties that have sold in the neighbourhood to get an idea of market rates. Research great schools or community amenities if they mention having school-aged children. If the prospective client didn’t provide any information about themselves, you might even consider having them fill out an optional short questionnaire outlining the rough parameters of their search. Otherwise come prepared with a list of questions to ask — it’ll give them the impression that you are organized and prepared.
Listen more than you speak
While you want to have questions planned and offer some knowledge to help guide their search, you should ensure that you’re listening more to the client than speaking yourself. Usually it just takes a few inquisitive questions to get the ball rolling and the client talking about their wants, needs and prior experiences in real estate. Make sure you’re actively listening to their responses and taking notes on the important parts like must-haves or preferred neighbourhoods. The client will likely appreciate that you’re noting these items down.
Use technology to your advantage
Further on our first suggestion of doing your homework, bring along a laptop or tablet to your meeting and use it as a meeting tool. You can bring up listings they might be interested in or search a map of the city to identify neighbourhoods they’d like to live in. It’s useful to look though images of listings together and highlight features that appeal to them or elements that are contributing to the property’s value. While this could be accomplished on your smartphone, a laptop will appear more professional and you won’t be interrupted by calls or messages. If you’re not meeting at your office, select a location that has wi-fi and arrive a few minutes early to set yourself up.
If you haven’t heard from the client after your meeting, follow up by email after a few days. If you promised to deliver or pass on any information like a contractor or mortgage broker referral, make good on your promise by offering the details in a timely manner. You could also follow up with links to new listings that have appeared since your first meeting. Set a reminder in your calendar so that you don’t forget to follow up.