To delight clients and keep them for life, it’s vital to understand what they really need and want. Trainer and author Bernice Ross offers strategies to keep the clients you have and generate their referrals.
Having a successful real estate practice requires more than just lead generation. You still must be able to convert that lead into an appointment, the appointment into a signed listing or offer, and then close the transaction. If you are ready to close more deals while also creating customers for life, these seven real estate basics are a must.
1. Referrals: Still the number one source of business
According to the 2021 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers:
Sixty-eight percent of recent sellers used an agent who was referred to them or used an agent they had worked with in the past to buy or sell a home.
To make sure you receive referrals, you must always be top of mind with those you have done business with in the past. Do this by communicating with them regularly, providing information about homeownership issues (not just purchase and listing information), as well as keeping them posted on legal or other changes.
The “keep-in-touch” strategy has always worked in the past and works equally well today.
To keep your connections strong, contact them in person at least three to four times per year, and at least monthly using social media or other types of digital communication.
2. Inventory knowledge never goes out of style
No matter what your experience level is, maintaining a strong knowledge of inventory is critical for real estate success. Top agents can rattle off comparable sales and correctly price properties without ever having to look at the comparable sales.
Your clients want to know they’re hiring an expert in their area. Having a strong knowledge of local inventory is one of the best ways to demonstrate this expertise.
3. ‘Enough about you. Let’s talk about me!’
How many questions did you ask the sellers on your last listing appointment? How much time did you spend interviewing your last set of buyers before you took them out to look at properties? Instead of focusing on you or your company’s achievements, focus on them.
To do this, always interview prospective buyers and sellers to learn what is important to them about their lifestyle, not just about the property they will be buying or selling. In addition, be sure to take notes on what they say. Taking notes shows your client you care enough about them to write down what they say. It’s one of the most powerful ways to build a connection that leads to trust and closed transactions.
Always remember the old acronym WIIFM — your clients aren’t interested in your achievements. Instead, they want to know, “What’s in it for me?”
4. Use a Seller Guarantee of Services
“The Seller’s Guarantee of Services” dates all the way back to the 1980s. This proven strategy is still one of the most powerful ways to make sellers feel secure about signing a listing with you.
Here’s how it works. The agent commits in writing to provide a specific set of services to their buyer or seller. If the agent does not deliver on that commitment, the client can contact the agent’s manager and have the agent replaced with someone else from the same company. (Please note that this does not cancel the seller’s listing or buyer’s exclusive agreement with the brokerage.)
When there is a serious problem between you and your clients, it’s better for your manager or broker-owner to assign the listing to another agent. This way, you can still collect a referral fee that typically can range from 25-50 percent as opposed to having an angry client who cancels the listing and takes their business elsewhere.
5. Conduct a post-close survey after every transaction
This approach works together with the Seller Guarantee of Services. It is also an excellent way to increase customer satisfaction. Companies using post-closing surveys often have approval ratings that hover in the 95 percent range.
The surveys also help both agents and companies discover how to provide better service in the future as well as reducing litigation. When a client is unhappy with the company’s or the agent’s service, a post-closing survey allows the issue to be addressed before it escalates into a lawsuit.
6. Be the go-to resource for the best service people in the business
Back in 1997, the company I worked for launched a “concierge” program that allowed our clients to find the best-qualified contractors, mortgage brokers, title officers, and other service providers in our area.
If you (or your company) have not already done so, create a list of qualified contractors and other transaction support people who provide quality work at a competitive price, especially if they have done work for you personally.
If you need help with resources, refer your clients to Angi.com or HomeAdvisor.com for pre-screened vendors as well as customer reviews. I have personally used HomeAdvisor on two major remodeling projects and was very pleased with the results.
7. Top priorities for sellers
According to the 2021 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers, Sellers place the highest priorities on the following five tasks:
- Price the home competitively (21 percent)
- Help market the home to potential buyers (20 percent)
- Sell the home within a specific timeframe (16 percent)
- Help fix the home to sell for more (16 percent)
- Find a buyer for the home (12 percent)
In recent years, helping a seller understand how to fix up the home for sale has become more important to sellers.
Make sure that you become an expert at providing help in these five areas that matter most to today’s clients.
The bottom line is that real estate is still a face-to-face business where good old-fashioned personal connection, trust, market expertise and top-notch service never go out of style.