I have the privilege of working with high-profile clients on a regular basis. Their expectations tend to be very different from other groups and understanding their needs will help you succeed.
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Preparation is the key to success when working with high-profile clients. I found the following strategies to be quite useful when selling to a customer who is considered a VIP in the community.
Discretion is of the utmost importance.
High-profile clients appreciate discretion and confidentiality. Any client would not want his or her personal information given to perfect strangers. High-profile clients are no different except every move they make is under a magnifying glass. There is nothing worse than telling the press your client’s next step. Not only is it an invasion of his or her privacy but it also a security issue. Never speak to the press about your high-profile clients.
Use your discretion as a selling point. By understating the importance of your client’s privacy, you will build a reputation for being dependable and trustworthy.
Client privacy in the real estate industry is so important that The Luxury Portfolio International’s 2017 Global Luxury Real Estate Report identified private listings as the No. 2 top trend emerging in luxury real estate. This trend is directly attributed to the increased number of high-profile people that demand the highest levels of confidentiality when listing their homes. In fact, my business partners, David Parnes, Mauricio Umansky, Chris Dyson and I, developed the pocket listing service, thepls.com, to service this growing demand for client privacy. Inventory on thepls.com has surpassed $3 billion and is growing by the day, proving that high-profile clients value their privacy more than anything else.
Time is money.
High-profile clients are busy and don’t like to waste their time. Keep your communications succinct and only reach out when necessary. Try to schedule calls and meetings with high-profile clients in the morning as early as possible. As the day progresses, it only gets harder for them to remove themselves from their business to speak with you or take a meeting.
Also, connect with your high-profile clients in advance to check their availability so you are aware of their schedule and can plan accordingly. Managing their expectations is essential to your overall relationship. Focus on their needs and everything else will fall into place.
High-profile clients do not have a traditional schedule
They expect you to be available 24/7 as they travel and may be in another time zone when they call you. As mentioned before, your high-profile clients are busy. They will respond to you, but it might not be on your schedule. When they are free from their day-to-day business, they will reach out, whether that’s 3 in the morning or 7 at night.
Your high-profile clients don’t stop working, and they expect you to be available when they have a minute to spare.
They want top-tier service.
High-profile clients rely on you to ensure that all of their needs are met. They are typically involved in large transactions, and expect your service to be in line with what they are spending. You have to take yourself out of the equation. When dealing with high-profile clients, it is all about their needs. Put your ego aside and put them first.
Your clients may not necessarily need the things they are asking you for, however, you need to listen to what they want, and deliver, or they will think you are wasting their time.
You must anticipate their needs.
Be an active listener. Pay attention to what they are requesting. Also, keep note of little nuances like their daughter’s recital or corporate functions. For example, there’s a possibility you might catch that she mentioned she had two children with one on the way when your client initially said she had only two kids. By taking note of relevant information and applying it to the clients’ needs, they will appreciate that you were listening, and you will service their needs accordingly.
Also, make a note of any allergies, dislikes and uncomfortable moments. Also make note of any comments about things they like or dislike. If your client mentions that he is allergic to shellfish, you don’t want to make the mistake of making lunch reservations at a seafood restaurant. You can also reference your journal or notepad to find appropriate gifts when you meet certain milestones for your client, such as closing a sale.
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High-profile clients want value.
Just because high-profile clients are successful doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate the value of a dollar. Your high-profile clients do have business savvy, so they are looking for the best investment possible. This means they don’t like to waste money. High-profile clients are looking for service that fits their needs and their bottom line.
Contrary to popular belief, high-profile clients are not difficult. They are extremely busy people and need a partner who understands how they do business. Working with VIP clients is exciting and a hugely profitable niche market as long as you maintain your reputation.
Don’t forget to manage your own expectations when working with a new high-profile client by making a plan on how you will handle the opportunity. When you are prepared, the partnership between you and your high-profile client will be mutually beneficial.