ROI: Return on Interaction for Real Estate Agents

How to get the Most out of Your Time with Clients

  • | 5 December 2016

Measuring your Return on Investment is a business essential as it dictates future endeavors and further investments. There’s an extensive amount of research done that advises professionals on how to anticipate great returns on investments irrespective of the industry. What is not frequently discussed is the other ROI, the return on interaction, especially in the Hong Kong property industry where time is a precious commodity for both you and your clients.

How do we anticipate great returns on our daily interactions with clients? Helping someone buy a property in Hong Kong requires a people-centric approach. Building positive, meaningful interactions will yield tremendous success for any agent.


Cut the Chat

The “Two Ears, One Mouth” quote is a powerful reminder that we should listen twice as much as we speak. As easy as this sounds, it can be quite difficult considering it’s twice as hard to listen as it is to talk. Practicing your listening skills is both a valuable and powerful skill and for many it’s an area of opportunity.

Research shows that the average person listens with only 25 percent efficiency. This is an indication that a lot of information is going in one ear and out the other without any processing. Habits such as staying present and being empathetic are a few tips that can help improve your listening skills.

What is your current ear to mouth ratio? You need to determine whether you are making a conscious effort to process what the other person is saying.

As a first introduction with a client you should ideally be speaking for 30 seconds to one minute. Think about it, you know everything there is to know about yourself and the property you are selling, so why not let the client do the talking?

Keeping an introduction brief is key when trying to understand your customer. Take time to perfect your elevator pitch, as it should quickly explain who you are and what your skills are so you can quickly get to focusing on the client.

Ask Open Ended Questions

Asking your client open ended questions creates a valuable conversation for both parties. It allows you to get a better understanding of their character and what they value most in their lives.

Finding the perfect property becomes easiest when you understand what is most important to your client and how they make decisions. Next time you are with a client, ask them questions that go beyond the standard requirements. Try asking questions that highlight their principles. Here are some open-ended questions to get you started:

  • What is something in a home you cannot live without?
  • Would you consider other districts beyond your current selection?
    • Why/why not?
  • Where do your friends and family live? Is it important to remain close?
  • How long have you lived in Hong Kong? Where have you lived in the past and what did you love/hate the most?
    • This will lead to more discussion around where they lived before, what they liked/disliked – was it the building? The district?
  • What brought you to Hong Kong?
    • Knowing someone’s profession may lead to other questions that help with a property search – do they work long hours? Where is their office? How do they commute to work? Do they travel frequently for work?
  • What do you like to do for fun? Are you an entertainer who frequently hosts parties? How do you enjoy spending your weekends?
  • How important is the kitchen - do you often eat out, or do you enjoy cooking?

These questions help you quickly understand your client as a person, which ultimately helps you suggest better options for them.

Listen to What They Are NOT Saying

People don’t always say what they mean, and often the top requirements on a client’s list will immediately move down in priority when you show them a wild-card listing not on their radar. Naturally, you should always aim to view properties that fit the client’s requirements, but it’s important to assess which requirement falls lower on their given list. The job of an agent is to be completely transparent and realistic.

For example, if a client’s goal is to furnish their Soho apartment with a King-sized bed, a large dining room set PLUS patio furniture (grills included), then you need to have that realistic chat with them about considering another district. It’s your job to assess these requirements and determine which one they can live without. For example, if family and friends are very important, then they may be more focused on the bigger dining room for entertaining rather than the included balcony. Listening to those subtle mentions allows you to steer your clients in the right direction.

Ultimately, you’re trying to maximize the effectiveness of your time with every client. Getting to know them is just as important as introducing great properties. The better you know them, and the more they trust you, the faster you’ll be able to find that perfect property for them!

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