Offering a high level of service is the key to dealing with affluent clients. If your niche is the luxury home market, you likely already understand the importance of going the extra mile.
But, if you’re trying to break into the upper tier in real estate, you may be wondering just what the “Top 1%” of high-end clients expect. Sometimes they won’t express in words what they need, but they’ll assume you know what they want.
That can lead to awkward situations, unmet expectations, a severed relationship, or even a lost sale.
Working with any buyer or seller requires that the real estate professional anticipate possible problem areas, but working with high-end clients can place an extra burden on an inexperienced real estate professional. Fortunately, there are effective strategies that can be implemented to help ensure not only a happy client, but also a successful transaction.
Here are some ideas gleaned from real estate professionals who have experience with upper-echelon buyers and sellers. They tend to agree, so we pass along their thoughts and their recommendations.
The Double Platinum Rule: What Constitutes Exceptional Performance?
As we said, service is key. That’s true, of course, throughout all levels of real estate. Success has always been grounded in exceptional service and extreme attention to detail. Results depend upon the commitment and experience the real estate professional brings to the table, and individual effort can be the determinant. Newly-licensed real estate professionals should look to more experienced peers for both guidance and support. Also of note, it’s important to remember that affiliation with a broker who offers such support is a wise move, no matter how experienced you are.
Affluent clients trust their real estate advisors to handle all the details of a real estate transaction, to be fully knowledgeable and informed every step of the way, and to find answers and solutions to issues as they arise. According to those who have reached the top tier of real estate, the ability to follow through and provide the service that is expected is the prime measure of success.
One successful luxury real estate professional simply puts it this way: “My clients want to be assured that they have nothing to worry about.”
But what exactly does that mean?
The Double Platinum Rule: Understanding the “Rules”
From childhood, most of us have been admonished to follow the Golden Rule in our dealings with others. “Treat other people, under all circumstances, the way you would like to be treated.” It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it can be difficult to put into practice, both on a personal level and in business.
A similar rule, sometimes described as the Platinum Rule, states that it’s important to perform “Above and Beyond” expectations. That is true in the classroom, where doing extra work often results in extra points or added recognition. It’s also true in relationships, and it’s true in the workplace as well. The employee who comes in early, stays late, or volunteers for extra duty and added responsibility is usually the first to win a promotion or get a raise.
But does that work in the world of buying and selling homes? Not always, because there are so many contingencies involved. Putting in the hours is a given, but taking a buyer from first viewing to closing isn’t always possible, no matter what you do. Similarly, some unique homes will not sell quickly, no matter what the price or the incentives you offer. Dealing with the sellers of expensive properties often requires patience and fortitude.
The Double Platinum Rule, then, may be unique to real estate professionals. It is simply this:
Working with clients who are at the top of the scale, those unique clients who are not primarily motivated by appearance, place, or price, requires a distinctive approach. Those who, as a matter of course, expect service above and beyond the norm and who invariably respond to demonstrated expertise, don’t want to be asked about their needs, according to one successful luxury real estate professional.
Affluent clients might not even know what they want, but they will respond favorably if you take the reins, both when you show them potential properties and as you handle selling details. Do for them what is needed in the way you think is best. Arrange for needed services and inspections without being asked to do so.
Send a thoughtful, personal message of support if that’s appropriate — a dinner out, or a spa reservation, for instance. The goal is to get to know your clients’ tastes and preferences, anticipate their needs, and do your best to stay one step ahead of them in your pursuit of implementing the Double Platinum Rule!
If you’re interested in learning how to provide the upper tier with exceptional, first-class service, there is no better way than to become a Member of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. Enroll in our training, become a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist™, take advantage of the tools and reference materials we provide, and build local, regional, and nationwide networks of fellow luxury real estate professionals.
Contact us now to take advantage of this career-changing opportunity.