While customer service and project management matter in real estate, the agents at the top of the market in 2020 and beyond will need to develop and demonstrate strategic thinking skills.

Charging a full-service fee for trading in real estate puts a significant responsibility on you to get outstanding results. This doesn’t happen by chance. A great real estate transaction, whether from the buyer side or the seller side, is about getting your clients’ needs met. Yes, it is about money but it’s also about timing, process, risk and meeting their psychological needs.

What is Strategic Thinking? It’s generating and applying unique business insights and opportunities to create a competitive advantage for your client. Real estate is highly competitive and fast paced. What worked best today may not be what will work best tomorrow.

You need to do more than follow the status quo when serving your clients.

Here’s an example: Let’s say it’s a seller’s market and your buyers are in a multiple offer situation. In your market area, it is typical for offers to be unconditional and to have large deposits delivered with the offer in the form of a bank draft. So – there is no strategic advantage to doing that. Your buyers will need to do those two things, but that doesn’t give any advantage. It just gets them in the game. So, what do you need to do to help them win? Think strategically; this means being creative, thinking outside the box and figuring out what will give your clients a competitive advantage in this unique situation. There is no stock answer.

Strategic thinking cannot be scripted, templated or copied. To think strategically you need to train your thought process to be open, creative and unbiased, while remaining rational. It means seeing new perspective on critical and complex issues. Strategic thinkers challenge conventional ways of doing things and can analyse and synthesize both material and psychological data.

Going back to the offer example above, to win for your client you will likely need to understand the market data and the details about the property but equally as important, is the psychology of the seller, the seller’s agent, the competing buyers and their respective agents. By synthesizing all of that data you may be able to come up with something that will win the property for your client.

Perhaps the sellers have a fear of the transaction not closing. They’ve heard nightmare stories from friends, and you decide to eliminate that fear to put your client’s offer to competitive advantage. You may choose to show the seller a copy of your client’s bank statement showing a down payment in excess of that required to close on the property in the event that the appraisal is lower than the sale price. (Get written permission from your client). This may satisfy a psychological need of the seller and tip the competition in your client’s favour.

Thinking strategically will help you get better results for your clients. Mastering this is critical to sustained success and demonstrating strategic thinking will help you attract new clients. Next week we look at how to be sure your clients know how your strategic thinking is getting them better results.