How long have you had the same physician, dentist, hair stylist, mechanic, or anyone else who provides a valuable and satisfying service on a regular or semi-regular basis? Probably some for years and years, right? When you find a professional who meets and exceeds whatever it is you happen to need, you stay loyal to them. Not because you like them personally, although that’s often the case as well, but because you value their knowledge, expertise and abilities.
It’s no different with REALTORS®. While homebuyers you work with for the first time likely won’t be professionally engaging with you again for quite awhile, the fact is that when they do decide to make a move, literally and figuratively, they will want you back if they remember that you provided exemplary service. And unlike the professions mentioned above, you will earn thousands of dollars for it, not hundreds.
This is something you should always keep in mind when working with a new client. Repeat business is a crucial component for your long-term success. Not to mention making it easier when it comes to the key, time-intensive task of finding and signing new clients and listings. And if you’re fortunate, you not only will rep a previous client who is in the market for a new home, but get to be the listing agent for their current one.
“We have an opportunity in our industry, because consumers as a whole right now are very frustrated with the concept of service and attention,” says Candace Adams, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England, New York and Hudson Valley Properties. “We can develop the relationship and put service and consideration first.
“It’s very important to build the expertise, professionalism and education around the transaction. But when we survey our clients, what they remember most about the process is how they felt. Not how much money they spent, or how much money they saved, it was how they felt at the end. What was the experience like? It’s our opportunity as an industry to create an experience for our buyers and sellers that is something they won’t normally get in the consumer world today.
“So we educate our agents to create the experience first. Secondly, we provide a platform of tools and support to make sure each one of our clients is served in the way they want to be served, and communicated with the way they want to be communicated with. If it’s digital, if it’s through telephone, if it’s through letter, whatever they want to do, that’s what we’ll do for them.”
While the process of buying or selling a house is what brings an agent together with a new client, residential real estate should not be the exclusive topic discussed, especially early on. Of course, people will want all the information, listings available, etc., but as the expression goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression.
“First you talk about their family, you talk about their occupation, their recreation, and their desires and dreams,” recommends Mike Pappas, president and CEO of The Keyes Company/Illustrated Properties, in Miami, Florida. “And if you start having those conversations, you’re going to find out where you can help them best. It’s not about selling, it’s about listening.”
Once those topics have been discussed it will be time to move to the business at hand. Then the agents who make the process as seamless as possible, who have answers to questions and can guide clients in every way, will be the ones seeing the same faces down the road, and collecting commissions from them again as well.
“One of the things first-timers talk about as being the most difficult when buying a home is the process they have to go through,” concludes Adams. “So providing that one-stop shop for them, that they have the lender lined up, the insurance and the entire aspect of the transaction, will be very important. Get them out in front of it and make sure they go through the entire experience with ease.”