One of the most fascinating shifts to come out of the past year has been the way conversations have changed for the better between agents and clients even though we’re spending less time together in person. While the real estate industry is built on relationships, it’s been a longstanding belief that we have to meet face-to-face in order to make those relationships meaningful. But when the pandemic hit and this was no longer an option, it opened up opportunities that we didn’t even realize existed.
One such opportunity is the ability to talk to clients at specific moments in their day when they’re able to fully process more information. When an agent discusses important details during a listing presentation or while at a showing, it’s all too easy for bits and pieces of the conversation to be glossed over or forgotten completely. But when talking with clients by phone or video, it’s much easier for the client to focus on what’s being said instead of being distracted by thoughts of where they’re headed next.
I’ve also noticed that when communicating via phone, clients feel more comfortable asking the questions they’re often hesitant to ask when talking face-to-face. There’s something about extra physical distance that makes it easier for clients to ask questions that make them feel vulnerable, which often pertains to anything related to their finances.
This level of ease shows up again when it comes to the many documents that make up a real estate transaction. Since co-founding DocuWalk, a document management company, I frequently hear about this during conversations. One common thread among all the agents I speak with is the fact that their lives became much easier when the expectations around the paper trail shifted to one where every single thing can be sent and signed electronically.
Though we’ve been sending files electronically for years, going over the most important or overwhelming documents in person is still a lingering habit for many. Yet, when it became necessary to do everything digitally due to COVID, agents found that clients had decreased levels of anxiety around this approach because they were able to read through files at a less pressured pace. Not only does it eliminate the stress of arriving late to an actual meeting because of traffic or trying to fit it in between work and family obligations, but clients also have more of a choice about when they open the documents and read through them.
This subtle change has led to improved conversations with our clients because we don’t have to spend time reassuring them about something they misunderstood because they were so overwhelmed when they first heard it. Instead, we can focus on building stronger rapport so that they come back to us for repeat business.
Allen Alishahi is president of ShelterZoom, the technology company behind DocuWalk. For more information, please visit www.docuwalk.com.