YPN Breakfast: May 2019 Buyers Panel

On May 29, 2019, we hosted our monthly YPN Breakfast. Here, we soaked up expertise from three top-tier buyer representatives. Watch, listen and read below to learn about preparing yourself and your buyer rep business. You can check out photos from the event on the YPN Facebook page!

This month’s speakers were:

Listen to what we learned:

Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts or Google Podcasts!

Watch quick tips from our speakers:


Read key takeaways:

Even the pros see managing client databases as a challenge.

Of the plethora of CRM-management systems listed from the panelists, one thing is immediately clear: there is no one solution. “I will come clean and say this is my biggest challenge,” Sam said. “It can be intimidating to manage your current client database while dealing with everything you have in front of you.” He uses a CRM called Follow Up Boss as well as drip campaigns to keep in touch with his network. Melanie, after agreeing that managing her database is also not her strength, uses Copper CRM. Her arsenal of tools includes her memory, Google Drive and MailChimp drip campaigns. Jason added another CRM called MoxiWorks to the mix. He leans heavily on Microsoft Outlook to remind himself on when he was last in touch with people. He kicks off each morning by going through his database, even leaning on records in the MLS, and writing letters to his contacts. He moves alphabetically through last names to keep himself on track. “When I put stuff in my Outlook, I always put the place they bought or sold in place of their occupationand that’s what I do. I’m constantly doing this from like 5:30 AM to about 8 in the morning,” Jason said.

Relationships built on trust do more than any contract can.

When prompted with how often they use buyer-exclusive contracts with their clients, all three panelists admitted they rarely, if ever, require their clients to sign one. They simply present the contract up front to disclose the terms of buyer representation, according to Illinois law. Why take the risk? The answer is simple: trust. Melanie, Sam and Jason work on building trust and rapport with their clients first. This establishes a loyal relationship no exclusive contract can beat. “My approach is, if I haven’t earned their trust and loyalty, then it’s just not going to be a great relationship,” Sam said. Remember, your ability to present yourself as a reliable steward of the transaction process is essential for success. If you’re doing a good job, your client will stay with you, regardless of the passage of time or hiccups.

Welcome your newest “team member”— your client.

The days of clients receiving properties exclusively from REALTORS® via the MLS are long gone. Rick set the scene: “Now, they’re doing searches completely on their own, and they don’t even want you to send them properties. How are you managing those expectations?” Sam’s solution is constant communication. He reinforces how everything should be funneled through him, so he can make their lives easier and informed. Many times, what’s on Facebook or Zillow is outdated or inaccurate, which empowers Sam’s position. Melanie sets up expectations for the search process immediately. From the first meeting to a “tour day,” to one-off showings, her buyers know what will happen, what role they play, and what they can expect from Melanie and her team. She encourages clients to send her their findings via text or email for her to take the next steps. “It’s a team effort to find their place.” Jason concentrates on what makes him irreplaceable. His strengths are math and construction, and he hammers that value-add in. When his clients send him preferred properties, he applies his intuition regarding the home’s quality and potential problems.

We all hate break-ups – so put in the work early to see if you’re a good fit.

All three panelists have processes to evaluate buyers’ needs and what they need from them. Sam gives them homework assignments. “What I mean by that is, figure out if they’re qualified and serious. They have to put in the work, put in the effort, because I’ll work as hard as my clients are willing to work. I don’t think after seeing 30 properties they’re going to want to continue to waste their time.” He gives them the benefit of the doubt. Melanie’s team uses a WeWork office space for first meetings, and there, they figure out what the buyer wants. Sticking to that system has helped her weed out clients who aren’t great matches without having to fire them. Even then, she admitted not satisfying clients is a significant source of stress, often hindering her ability to break the relationship. “If you have a great reputation and one person fires something bad at you, what are you going to do? If you’re good, people are going to know,” Jason said. “I say, listen, our styles don’t mesh. If you don’t enjoy being around someone, that negativity is going to drain your production. Let them go, and get on with your life.” Even so, he always finds learning value from what he’s doing. “If they’re lookie-loos, they’re always negative, but I use that negativity for myself on the selling side.”

Authenticity wins the day.

Melanie’s goal is to find a commonality between her and her buyer, which humanizes her and gives her something to identify or connect with during the transaction process. Her clients know who she is, and they trust that. Sam has a promise for his buyers. He promises to keep them safe and protected throughout every phase of the transaction, and he ensures he exudes that all the time. “Whenever you’re anywhere, you’re ‘on interview.’ Always be your best,” Jason said. He also believes in authenticity and educating himself on non-verbal communication. Not only can people sense when their REALTOR® isn’t being real, but they’re also not going to refer business they don’t see as honest. “You’re always going to get a question every day you’re out in the field. The question is: how’s the market? And 50% of the time it’s a test, to see if they trust you and think your answer is credible,” Rick said. “Part of your daily homework is to leave your house and have a very compelling answer.”