What's the problem?

In our interactions with potential clients, first item on the agenda is identifying what their problem is.

Because every client has a problem – and identifying that problem helps us to avoid taking a wrong path, and take the appropriate path.

The client may not see it as a problem, but there is always a motivation that leads a them to call or email, or even take your phone call.

The challenge could be needing more space  (for an owner-occupier), or needing a better return than the bank gives (for an investor), or even FOMO ( Fear Of Missing Out for would-be investors).

By identifying that trigger or motivational point, we are able to isolate the path we should take in attempting to solve their pain point.

At the same time, we are able to separate out those whose motivation is simply learning about the market, or “starting a search”. We can help them, but not in the same way that we would assist those with a more immediate problem.

It used to be that there was some cachet to be gained by a salesperson having the skills to “sell ice to Eskimos”.  That of course is outlawed in this woke world, as “Eskimo” is as inappropriate as the “N”word. But also because time is at a premium, and is too valuable to be spent trying to fill a need that doesn’t exist. Far better to take the path of identifying needs that do exist, and fulfilling them.

That’s not to say that very client knows exactly what their need is. But they do know what is causing them pain. Once we have identified the pain point, the next step is not to jump right in to suggesting the solution. That’s not just because the solution most obvious is the property right in front of us – because often it is not. More important is clearly articulating and exploring more elements of the problem.

If the client is an investor, finding out what matters to them is a next step. Where does risk rate? How important is yield and cashflow? How much work are they up for? Does capital gain rate? These and more are the questions that we need to know detail around, but also often clients might have asked themselves, but not resolved. Finding out the parameters of their problem will then lead to possible solutions.

At the same time we have to focus on what our offer may bring to the client. What result will it bring to them? How will it make their life easier or  better  and solve their pain point?

As we do all of this (identify the problem, flesh out elements of the problem that the client may not have identified or confronted, and then set about highlighting potential solutions ) we keep in mind that our solution may not be the best or appropriate solution. A vacant building may not be the answer to a first time investor’s desire to be a landlord. A 10 year lease may not be the answer for a tenant in an aggressive growth phase. Multiple tenants with short term tenancies may not suit a retired investor.

Just because we have an answer, does not mean that it is the appropriate answer for the client. And rather than our focus being on using our selling skills to make the sale, very often the better long term solution is to either find an alternative answer that better suits the problem, or even preserving the relationship by recognising that our solution is not their solution at this point in time.

Because even with major transactions, such as industrial real estate sales and leases, long term repeat relationships and business must count for more than a singular transaction.