5 Ways Estate Agents Can Build Trust with Clients

By: Matt Giggs | March 11, 2024

Today is all about one of the common feelings and complaints I come across with estate agents and their clients, especially in a market where buyers seem to have the upper hand and the vendors don't listen. Why is that?

Anyway, we're not going to spend too much time now talking about it, because you need to hear about how to use TRUST to build trust – these are five steps to building trust with your clients:

- Take the time to listen

- Really remind them of their goal

- Understand their feedback and thoughts

- Share the plan or solution

- Take action

Take these steps with you when you’re dealing with a vendor who won’t listen. Then, instead of getting your back up, you're going to get back down and go through these five simple ways of building that trust back up.

Before I get going, who the hell am I and why should you listen? Well I'm Matt Giggs and I have been an estate agent for 28 years. I've gone from trainee tea-boy to trainer to entrepreneur to a business owner selling over a billion pounds worth of property. I've got the Giggs Group of estate agents. I'm part of the By Design network. Put it this way, I am in this industry, and I've trained and taught people how to scale their careers and their businesses without the sleaze.

You don't have to be a typical estate agent to be successful in our industry. Actually, exactly the opposite will get you there faster.

How estate agents lose trust

So look, let's be honest. We all know, don't we? We all know as an estate agent what the vendor should do. And you've told them, and they still don't do it. They still don't listen.

Let's just take an offer one of my clients had as an example. I had a client that I've mentored for many, many years and he sent me a voice note on WhatsApp not long ago, and he was like “Matt I really need your help with this client. They're absolutely nuts not to take this offer. Can you give me a call?”

Sure, so we had a catch up. We had a conversation, and I said, “Come on then, tell me all about it.” And he goes, “Oh Matt we've had this house on the market for ages. We've got this perfect buyer. They want to buy the property, but they're not going to go any higher than this figure.” Forgive me, I can't tell you the figure because I can't remember that far back. But guess what? The vendor was saying “No. I'm not going to accept it. I want more.”

Now they've been on for months at this point. They'd had lots of noes. Lots of people viewed it and lots of noes. But the agent was saying you should take this offer. You've had loads of viewings. No one else wants to buy it. You should snap their hand off. What the hell? This is how you lose trust.

Step 1: Take time to listen

As an estate agent, you work for the seller. So the first thing you've got to say is “You shouldn't accept an offer that doesn't meet your needs.” That shows you’ve listened to what the seller wants.

Shift your thinking to put your clients first. I shifted this agent because what he was focused on was getting a sale. He admitted that and went on to say, “It's a great deal. It should be a sale”, blah, blah, blah. He was getting so worked up, and the more worked up he got when he was talking to the client, the further away they were moving. His focus on the sale opened a gap between them, and trust disappeared into that gap.

The trust had gone because he was putting his needs first. It's a simple mistake because the data, feelings, and logic all added up, so my client wanted to go after the sale instead of going after the client's needs. That's an easy mistake to make because estate agents don't get paid unless they complete on sales. You're naturally going to think about what you can get out of this, as opposed to what the seller’s actually getting out of it. That's where the shift in mindset needs to go.

As an estate agent, don’t focus on your needs. You need to focus on your client’s needs. When I was talking to my client, I said to him, “Don't listen to reply. Take time to listen, just to listen.”

You know for me negotiation isn't about you doing all the talking. It's about you doing all of the listening. As estate agents, you have to remember that you need your clients to tell you what they really want and what they really need. You can't just go in there and bulldoze people. Have a conversation and make sure that you're listening, but not to reply.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. The old adage is true – you’ve got two ears and one mouth. Listen more than you speak.

Step 2: Really remind them of their goal

The second thing is to really remind them of their goal. Say something like this:

"Let's go back to the beginning when we started working together. What is it you actually wanted to achieve from this sale? What was it you were looking to do once you've sold this property? Tell me about your overall goal and outcome. Let's just remind ourselves of this because I don't want you to accept any offer. I don't need you to take an offer from someone that you're not keen to take an offer from, or it's not enough or whatever. Let's just go back to the start."

The point of having these conversations is to remind them of what their goals and outcomes are. In this step, you go back into listening mode because they're now doing all of the talking. They're sharing with you their motivation. They're sharing with you their needs to make a sale happen in the present moment.

Step 3: Understand their feedback and thoughts

As you listen, remember you’re not listening to respond. No. You’re listening to really understand their feedback, their thoughts.

And I think this is where a lot of us can get unlost because what you're trying to do instead of pushing them towards a place they don't want to go and they're backing off, you're actually going away and bringing them with you.

You're stepping away from the pressure, stepping away from you focusing on your needs to you being immersed in theirs. Now that's a real skill. I'm going to tell you now, you've got to do this first before you even get to the next step.

Step 4: Share the plan or solutions

This step is to actually share the plan, or you can call this, and I love this, solutions. It’s your solutions that will get them to the outcome.

What I’ve found when we've done this, and this is what happened to the client who reached out to me for help, is that the buyer’s motivation was so strong – they wanted the house. So I told my client to go back to the buyer and talk about why they want to buy that house. Find out if they’ve got any other houses in mind or if this is their first choice.

If this is their first choice, find out how long they’re looking to live there for. In this case, the buyers were looking to live there for about 15 to 20 years. Then look at what the average house prices have done in the area over the last 15 to 20 years. For this house, they’d gone up significantly, almost a 100% increase in price.

You know the amount that was holding up this sale? We were only talking about the difference of about £10,000, guys. So if this person bought this property, in 15 to 20 years they were going to make £400,000 or £500,000 on top, just from an increase over that period of time. Yet they're trying to negotiate £10,000.

It met their needs. It gave them what they wanted. They really could afford to pay more, so what we focused on was the emotion. Guess what happened? My client achieved the figure. He achieved the right figure for the seller.

So that was the plan that he shared with the seller: “I'm going to go and focus on why they want to buy the house and what are the advantages of them buying this property which meets their needs.” And guess what? The seller said, “Thank you. That's brilliant.”

Step 5: Take action

What did my client do next? He took action, and he said to the seller, “If I can get you that extra £10,000 will you accept the offer?” The client said yes, deal done. Happy client, happy buyer, happy agent. And that is the order – your client is first.

So when you get a client that comes to you and they say they don't agree, or they don't do what you want them to do, don't say that they're high maintenance. Don't say that they're difficult clients. No. They just don't know what you know. Your job as a great estate agent is to communicate the information and the emotion that helps them to make the right decision. Does that make sense?

Focus on building trust with clients

So there you have it, my 5-step TRUST method: take time to listen, remind them of their goal, understand their feedback, share solutions, and take action.

That's exactly what you’ve got to do. Remember trust can be lost and won. It can be found again when you've lost it. But you’ve got to go through this process, guys. When you do, you're going to really and truly enjoy the rewards.

That’s all I have for you today. If you like the post and you're going to really go out there and build more trust with your clients by not challenging them at the front end, click the like button. Make sure you’ve subscribed to the blog because you want access to the next post which is going to help you to become a great estate agent.

Finally, leave me some feedback in the comments and let me know what would help you continue to be a real great estate agent. We're going to continue to build this community together.