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2008-12-15 21:47:25

Developing a Consultative Mindset PT.2

Author's Note: Continuing the series detailing our transition from traditional to a new model that includes consultative options, we will now take a look at how we develop our initial offering.

The Core Principles of my services:
I am in business to serve the needs of my clients – whatever those needs may be – as long as my core competencies fit what the client needs and the activities I am called on to perform meet legal and ethical bounds. I will provide these services to the very best of my abilities and I will receive a fair price for them from the client.
Inherent to this principle, I will always strive to maintain my knowledge at the leading edge. I will recognize my client as my employer and as my principal to whom I owe a complete fiduciary duty. In this, I will always operate with an agency relationship. My needs and interests, then, will always come after the needs and interests of my client. In this, I will strive to help my clients become well informed about their needs and interests, allowing them to make informed decisions all along the way. 
These business principles must govern everything that I do.
Having stated this core principle, my business can now be structured to offer complete transparency and service to my clients. In doing this, I need to be secure in knowing that I have the skills and experience necessary to perform in the capacity of an expert in any task I undertake for my clients. This means that I will not allow my desire to earn a fee cause me to take on a task for which I have no expertise. My value to clients lies in my knowledge, skills and access to information.
Identifying my Offering and the Test of Value
Separate from the stated needs of the clients, I will list and qualify each of my skills, experience, education and competencies that may be of value. Then I will overlay those onto the client needs to test if there are matches and what they are. Regardless of what my clients need, I can only offer to them those items that I have expertise in. So, we have an outline. I will take the two lists; client needs and my competencies, and we will overlay one to the other and see where there are opportunities to do business.
 In the event we do not have a needed competency, we have to acquire it elsewhere and resell it, or we cannot attempt to adequately fill the need. Trying to fill a need with a less-than-required competency will be harmful to our clients and to our business. We will not do this.
So it is imperative that I approach this process with an open mind and I not try to embellish any of my abilities. For the sake of discussion, I will list the process, identifying some of my competencies and their supporting evidence. I will not go into the full blown process that I went through, but there will be enough to demonstrate the process itself.
List the competencies
The first step for me is to list out each of the skills and experiences that I have that I might be willing to offer as a competency. Here is a small sample of our list:
1.    Property Valuation
o Determine property values based on comparables, adding or subtracting from value based on property differences and gathering and presenting all supportive documentation to clients.
2.    Property Marketing
o Advertising – on and offline
o Direct promotion
o Unique promotion
3.    Negotiation
o More than 25 years negotiating on behalf of my clients
4.    Transaction Management
o Using latest technologies and best partners
As you can see, this is a relatively simple process: just list what I do. In my case, I will take another step. I will go back through the list to identify the actual experiences and evidence that allowed me to feel that I have expertise in these areas. In some cases, I will list actual numbers of transactions. In others, I will list education and direct experiences.  For our discussion, the supportive additions would look like the following:
Add the Supportive Evidence
1.    Property Valuation
o Many hundreds of successful listings and sales. Ratio of Sales Price to List Price very near 100%
2.    Property Marketing
o Nearly 25 years direct experience with print marketing
o Pioneer and well versed at online Marketing
o Many years direct marketing (mail, email, door)
o Negotiation
o More than 25 years negotiating on behalf of my clients
3.    Transaction Management
o Hundreds of closes
o Skilled at newer technologies
o Long-established relationships at Title and Escrow companies
 This is not a difficult process. It can take a little time, but this is a critical step, so every minute spent here will help you to go forward with confidence and will help your clients see the actual value you provide.
Speaking of value . . . how do we know if what we offer has any value to the clients we are marketing to? We know only when they start to buy it, and only after we have invested in a very solid marketing campaign to get the work out. If they buy, it has value. If they don’t, we either need to do a better job of marketing, or we need to look for other needs to fill.
Jack Harper is a longtime REALTOR® and author who is an avid proponent of the consulting model in today's real estate market. He believes in providing fair and professional service and being paid a fair and reasonable fee for those services every time he is engaged by a client, whether there is a sale involved or not. He advocates allowing the consumer to have full choice in terms of the services and is an evangelist for the consulting model.
Check out the RealTown Consulting Group for more information and to ask questions. Copyright, 2008, Jack Harper, All Rights Reserved

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