Trust, as you know, is a core ingredient to building a strong working relationship.
However, if you want to earn someone’s business and keep it, you must establish authority as well.
The first time you call a prospect for the first time, you likely haven’t given them a good reason to care about you and what you’re saying. They’re likely asking themselves:
“Who is this person?”
“Why should I believe anything they say?”
Do they even know anything about me?”
Authority and trust are just different. Establishing authority only comes as a result of you demonstrating your expertise in something. It requires that you show people you’re a specialist in a particular field or process and that you possess a particular set of skills that can solve your prospect’s problems better than anyone else in your marketplace.
Authority is also a key element of maintaining control over the entire sales process.
Coming across in an unprofessional, disorganized manner can keep you from leading your prospects to the conclusion that you know what their needs, wants and desires are and that you can meet them at the highest level.
Real estate agents who display confidence, show up to appointments with confidence and who understand the ripple effect of every decision that is made are the kind of salespeople sellers and buyers want to work with.
Authority, in this sense, doesn’t mean being forceful, full of confidence and direct. Rather, it’s more about demonstrating extreme confidence in what you do and being the go-to expert that your prospects seek out to help them solve their biggest real estate problem.
Here are five ways real estate agents can build authority with their database:
1. Demonstrate your expertise
Notice I said “Demonstrate” and not “Tell” here. If you have to tell someone you’re an expert, then you’re already starting way behind the eight ball. And, for what it’s worth, you’ll likely never succeed at having someone see you as the expert if you have to convince them of it.
Demonstrating your expertise comes in the form of you doing the following:
- Provide testimonials from other clients
- Send a book, an excerpt from a book, a white paper, a magazine tear sheet or any other written piece that you’ve authored
- Share a video where you discuss how you help sellers and buyers achieve their goals and the unique systems you use to do so
- Send out a pre-listing or pre-buying package with a capabilities brochure as well as other collateral that informs your prospect about your expertise in real estate sales
- Conduct buyer and seller seminars where prospects can see you, in person, talk about the solutions you provide to help them meet their real estate needs
- Provide regular updates via email or social media about what’s happening in the national and local mortgage and real estate markets
- Write a blog and educate people on what you know about your industry.
Again, it’s not about you telling someone how great you are and how much of an authority you are on your craft.
It’s about you showing them how you do what you do better than anyone else and then providing proof in a variety of content and media types.
2. Be professional and authentic
People need to be able to feel comfortable and relaxed around you when you do business with them.
Having authority with someone doesn’t mean you need to be aloof or have a holier-than-thou attitude to the point where you’re out of touch with what makes your clients tick, making it hard for them to relate to you.
Good sales people use their natural skill sets - humor, empathy, kindness, intelligence, being genuinely interested in others - to connect with their prospects. When you have a connection with people, they are more apt to be open and honest, something you need from your prospects to help them achieve their goals in working with you.
Like trust, authority is easier to gain if your prospect believes you’re the “real deal”. Being likeable, alone, won’t get it done. Being yourself...will.
Be who you are and the fact that you’re being genuine will make it more likely that your prospects will be forthcoming with what they need from you. Once you understand their needs, you tailor your sales process and solutions to their specific situation.
3. Offer incredible value
Jay Abraham coined the term Strategy of Preeminence during his rise as the foremost business strategist and optimization specialist in the world.
Though it seems counterintuitive, the strategy of preeminence is all about what you do, that others don’t do, to help clients achieve their goals. It has nothing to do with how great you are as a business person or simply a person period.
Rather, it’s all about how great you are at delivering incredible value in getting your clients the absolute best results based upon their needs and specific situation.
The goal of the strategy of preeminence is to be 100% customer focused with the aim of not only improving your customers quality of life, but also of having them be wowed at how amazingly well you took care of them.
When someone is head over heels about you and what you do and wants to tell the world about how great you are at what you do...you have authority.
Plain and simple.
Focus on providing massive value and creating happy customers. Authority will come naturally when you do this.
4. Create raving fans
I’ve mentioned this a couple of times prior, but creating raving fans really deserves some specific attention here.
In his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini talks about the importance of social proof in being able to influence people.
Cialdini defines social proof as people doing what they observe other people doing. It’s a principle predicated on the idea of safety in numbers.
For instance, if our coworkers are putting in extra hours, then we’re more likely to follow suit. Also, if a parking lot of a specific restaurant is filled with cars, we’re more inclined to go to that restaurant than to one with a less-full parking lot.
What’s even more interesting is that we are influenced at an even higher level when we’re uncertain of ourselves or if the people we are observing are similar to us.
Knowing this, it’s easy to understand how social proof can help you with your conversion rates with people with whom you’re trying to build authority. When these folks see testimonials, references, reviews and ratings about you from people that they like or think are like them, they are more likely to see you as more authoritative and are more open to doing business with you.
5. Optimize your web presence
If people can’t find you, it’s hard to build authority with, and subsequently influence, them. Having a strong web presence that’s fully optimized will go a long way in helping you build authority with your prospects.
- Website: Needless to say, you website should be fully optimized in terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and User Experience (UX). Your site should be easy on the eye, simple, uber fast, and feature extremely valuable content.
- Social: Establish and optimize your profiles on all the major social networking platforms: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest etc.
Don’t forget to Include a picture, an easy-to-read description, your contact info etc. Shae content here and engage with the community. Also, even if you are not a regular user of other networks like Snapchat, Periscope, Tumblr etc., it makes sense have a profile on these sites and their associated apps for future use.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn, while a social platform, is its own animal. Take the time to make your LinkedIn page look strong and make sure it reflects your education, training, certifications, accomplishments, and interests.
You never know when a message from one of the alumni from your alma mater will create a connection with an influencer. Network, engage, and contribute and you will see your authority expand.
Authority is not easily gained, but it can be earned in a lot shorter time frame than you might think.
Once you determine what you’re best in the world at doing, consistently deliver value as you demonstrate how you’re the go-to expert in your market, industry or niche.
Consistency is the name of the game in authority.