A study done on agent responsiveness by WAV Group and Weichert Lead Network in 2014 revealed 48% of buyer inquiries were NEVER responded to and the average response time in general was 917 minutes (or 15.29 hours). That is staggering! And yet the top complaint I hear in the field from agents is that they struggle to get business. Whether it’s an email, text, Facebook message or a phone call, when a potential Seller or Buyer contacts you, you have to respond quickly. And by quickly, I mean QUICKLY. In today’s world, we are lucky to capture a prospect’s attention so when we have it, you must act on it QUICKLY.
If someone texts or send a Facebook message, always respond within one to five minutes, even if it’s to say you are in a meeting and will get back to them. If possible, let them know exactly when you will get back to them. And then of course, be sure to follow through. If someone emails you, try to respond within one hour but do not wait longer than two hours. I would not reply to an email to say you can’t respond now because the general impression will be that if you have time to type that, you could have just replied and fully addressed the questions or comments. You have a little more leeway with a phone call. Since very few people even call anymore and even less people leave a voicemail, these folks generally are okay if you call back within 24 hours. Do not wait longer than 48 hours because that will convey you are too busy for them.
Know Your Stuff
There is good news and bad news: The good news is there’s a LOT of information available. The bad news is there’s a LOT of information available. You cannot be everything to everybody. So pick something to be an expert in and master it. Really master it. If you want to target first time homebuyers in Loudoun County, pretend like you are a first time homebuyer in Loudoun County and think hard about what you would expect from your Real Estate Agent. It is not enough anymore to know the contract and have four designations and be top producer in your office. No one cares about that stuff. They want to know as much as possible about the area(s) they are considering buying in, what it is going to cost them, and how it will benefit them in the future. So do your homework!
Your website must be good (I prefer great, but if it’s good, you are doing better than 85% of your counterparts). It should be easily navigable, visually appealing, connected to IDX and updated regularly. Additionally, you must have a social media presence. People expect brands to be on social media. Statistics show 85% of people of all ages expect you to have a Facebook presence, 80% expect you to have a Twitter presence and 55% expect you to have an Instagram presence. Why? Because consumers equate that to you being current on modern technology which translates to their needs being better served.
Ask Questions At The Beginning
Get to know your clients. Ask them how many kids they have, how many animals, what their favorite things to do are, what activities are their kids in, what do they like best about the various areas (if they’re buying), do they go out to eat regularly, what their favorite kinds of restaurants are, how they met (or who they are hoping to meet if they are single), where do they see themselves in five years, ten years, personally and professionally, what is their favorite place they’ve lived . . . the point is, the more you know your clients on a personal level, the better you will be able to fit them into a home. Perhaps you do this in an email at the beginning or you may have a questionnaire that you show them when first meeting them. I guarantee it will impress them and may be the deciding factor that wins you their business.
There is a real chance to capitalize on how many people stink at follow up. Poor follow up seems to be more acceptable than ever, which is just sad. But you can be the difference and truly shine here by following up regularly with your clients. Each of your clients should get a weekly update, even if you think there’s nothing to update. Remember, you are in the real estate world all the time so what may seem like a small detail or not something your clients care about may be exactly what they want to know. I would suggest one day a week, you email them (a video email update would be even better) with a few details of what has happened this week with regard to their home search, property that is listed or the status of their contract. They will appreciate the “extra” info and attention to detail.
Give A Memorable Closing Gift
This is it! The last chance you have to wow them, make them remember you and most of all, REFER YOU! Spare no expense here. A good number to shoot for is $100.00. You can get fantastic, personalized gifts for that price (or less). I have agents spend go $250.00 on a gift from Tiffany’s. Yes it has a wow factor but it will fade. With a personalized gift, you are showing your clients that thought ahead and planned. That will go a long way! Yes it takes a little planning but that also raises the emotional value of the gift. The look on their faces when you present them with their gift after they’ve signed will be remembered for a lifetime. And since it will be something they will probably display, the chances of future referrals is also high.
About the author
Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC. She has over nineteen years of experience in processing, closing and marketing. Pruitt Title is a woman owned, independent title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, with offices in Rockville and Tyson’s Corner.