Post Traumatic Disappointment Disorder: a made up term that describes a very real situation for a lot of us.
Some clients come into the interview with baggage from a previous experience.
That baggage will set the tone for your current relationship unless you re-set the stage.
Most bad experiences are a result of someone or everyone in the partnership not ever fully understanding each other.
When you know where you and your client stand on main issues, it serves as the foundation of the partnership.
Disappointment is a high risk without this beginning clarity.
Trust and disclosure work by one building up the other.
Demystifying how you do business will eliminate future conflicts.
Promote yourself to every client as if they were a bank buying into your business plan.
Make them want to give you a loan for your plan.
They are investing in you.
And so, giving them projected results is not enough.
Tell them how you get those results.
What is the process?
And why is it the process?
Do not expect them to take your word as the expert.
Give them information about why you operate your way.
Impact their thought process.
Be a myth buster.
Tell them a story they can see them selves fitting in.
People hire service people to help them for a reason.
There is no law that says they must have you (in most cases).
So, when entering a service contract to help a client you must clarify as much as possible why you are a necessity.
That need you describe and promote will become a requirement in the eyes of the client when given enough valid reasons.
Sometimes service providers think that promising to deliver is sufficient proof of their being indispensable to the client…
You are just a “good theory” for how to achieve a desired result until the client can visualize why what you do works for themselves.
Tell them a logical story.
Clients are on the look out for empty promises.
Acknowledge that you are aware of how much client dissatisfaction exists in your field.
Tell them that a poor standard of performance bothers you too.
It is better to tell them upfront that you are aware broken promises exist rather than pretend they don’t.
Better because if you tell the client you are aware, it conveys to them you will be less likely to have poor service aptitude because of that awareness.
Showing you are aware of your industries flaws is a big time brand builder.
Specifically tell them how you operate your business to make sure you deliver expected results.
Tell them what you require from them too!
Myth bust common stereotypes.
Make them feel like an insider.
There is no better way to get that trust and disclosure cycle going than to give them information they may not be able to get from other people.
People are more likely to trust you if you bring them on board as team member rather than your “boss”.
The reason- your service directly impacts their financial future and emotional happiness.
That is a big job and a big responsibility, let it be known.
Both you and your client have to be in agreement that you will not be the only one making sacrifices for the clients best interest.
Clients come with baggage.
From previous experiences.
They are sometimes quick to point the finger at their last agent.
Tell them how your strategy of keeping them involved is a part of how you avoid disappointments like the ones they have had in the past.
Here is some verbiage about setting expectations, moving clients on from past disappointments, and telling the story of why you are indispensable. For this example the service provider is a Realtor:
Verbiage for “Re-setting the stage”
Client/Prospect states during an interview:
“The last agent we worked with was terrible. They did not do what they said they would do. We would call and they would never pick up the phone. Sometimes it would take a full day to call us back! We HATED that. They also said they would sell our home in under two months and 6 months later…we only had two offers and they were $100,000 under what we were asking for. We were so frustrated with the way the process went you will never understand. We want to be sure we do not have the same experience again. Honestly, that is the reason we haven’t wanted to sell for the past two years. We just do not want to go through the disappointment all over again. So this time we are making SURE that we get the RIGHT agent…someone who does what they promise. We want to know why you will be able to get our home sold faster than the other agent and for the price we want. “
Side bar-(Here is the deal guys…you have no way of knowing for sure if the clients side of the story is the whole truth. The good news: There is no need to speculate, or to worry about anything yet. Sometimes we are at fault ourselves for stereotyping an entire dynamic based on the story a prospect is telling us. You do not have to let anything they say take the control out of your hands or feel you have to prove yourself as different from an agent from the past by stating how different you are. Read the response below and then we will talk about it : )
Agent response to Mr. and Mrs. Client X: “Mr. and Mrs. X, it sounds like your last experience was terribly disappointing. I wish that you had not had that experience but I also know that you are not alone. I have had many clients that have unfortunately been through similarly frustrating situations. And you are right, I do not know how you felt having to endure such a bad experience. My goal through my treatment of my clients is to deliver reassurance that they are in good hands and I would be happy to do more than promise you that the last situation will not happen with me. What good is a promise when so many promises are made and broken these days? You are very wise to want to make sure that THIS time you have the right agent on board to help you. I am so glad you made that statement. I believe that for you to have true reassurance that the past will not repeat itself – the agents you interview, including myself need to be very clear about how they run their business. If we start out that way, then there will not be any confusion about what I consider my priority and responsibility to you. Again, that goes for me and another person you consider hiring. If you do not chose me I can not guarantee the quality of work for anyone else, BUT, by asking HOW agents run their business you will get a good idea of how you will be treated. Pending of course they have honesty as a top priority and that is the scary part I know. I can only speak for myself and how I run my business because the only person I know that holds themselves accountable to their best ability is myself.
“I run my business as follows because you deserve to know what you can expect”: (NOTE: here is where you tell the client about how YOU do business. I can not answer that for you. You know based on what they said that not returning phone calls bothered them. So speak to that! What is your policy? And do not say you will return their call day or night. Be more specific! It shows you are a professional. If you are on call 24/7 you sound like a late night drive thru window taking orders. If you do not answer when you are with a client and they do not understand…then they may not be the client for you. Most clients will be okay with your time frames if the times frame is reasonable and they are aware going in to the partnership.
“I state what you should expect from me at the very beginning so there is no opportunity for misunderstandings. To clarify, you should expect the following from anyone, though I can only guarantee the following from me”
FILL IN THE BLANKS…and fill them with what you ACTUALLY can follow through on. Also, speak to the clients original concerns from the past in your response. Be detailed.)
“If you have other expectations other than the ones I have stated we can certainly discuss them and I will tell you honestly if I feel I can both deliver on them and feel I am doing what is in your best interest. I would rather walk away now knowing what you expect, than to disappoint you/ waste your personal time or your valuable “on the market time clock” by not following through on something outside of what I know to be in your best interest based on my experience.”
Side bar-(Allow the client to ask anything they want, LISTEN fully, decide if you can deliver and honestly respond. -Remember…if they ask you to do something you know does not work, you are the expert. You can tell them why you do not yield to that request based on your experience with what DOES work. If they agree, now you set expectations for them…)
“Mr. and Mrs Client X, It sounds like we both have very similar ideas for how this partnership should go. I am so glad that we are on the same page. Before we move forward and I put my whole energy into delivering you what you both want, I need to advise you what I ask of my clients in return. Pending you are in agreement I will get right to work.
“I ask that my clients always tell me if something has changed about what they want or how they are feeling at anytime. If I do not know where you both stand it makes it very difficult to take my best care of you. I am going to make you my #1 priority, so I need you to also make what you want a priority. Things change with how you may feel through out this process, I want you both to keep me included so I can be there. We are not in this separately. Your concerns are my concerns. Also, Buyers are strangers. I also ask you to not be insulted by the opinions of strangers should one make a lower than acceptable offer, or suggest some unreasonable concession from you. I will always convey your opinion, all I ask is that you let me be the one to convey it rather than you because I do not want you in any situation where you feel under personal attack. I will handle the negotiation process, and ultimately we will not do anything that you do not agree to. I mention this because as I said, buyers are strangers. Until we get into offer situations we won’t know if we have a reasonable buyer or not so please remember their personal opinions are just that…THEIR opinion. So long as you are both willing to let me do my job and handle any potential conflicts (if any), along with assuring me you will not take stranger’s opinions personally before you and I have a chance to talk it out…I am going to do everything to make sure we get you the absolute best possible outcome for the sale of this home. ”
Set the stage. It is your stage. You are the one who has to determine if the things the client wants are reasonable and within your comfort zone. Your character will out shine anyone who comes before or after you in the interview process with this approach. You are so confident you even told the prospect what to ask other agents to make sure they are protecting themselves from repeating the past. In the scenario, the verbiage was never about YOU. Did you notice? Everything you said was a reflection of the clients best interest and NOT what YOU do because you do things that way for YOU. We structured the entire conversation around that client deserving only the best. When you word it this way you become the only option. Their best interest has become dependent on you. Now all you have to do is follow through we the expectations that have been clearly set out. This makes it easy to counter if an expectation comes out of the blue.
Make the last bad experience they had stand out as the exception.
You are the act that will be forever hard to follow.
That makes you irreplaceable.