There is no industry in this world where customer service isn’t essential. A bet can, in fact, be made that if you can't convince that customer of being on their side of things, the only sales that you will ever see is one that you're on the buying end of.
Real estate is probably an example where this simple fact finds most validation. Buying and selling properties can be a very perplexing and exhausting process. Comprehending the minute details of the process while keeping perspective in the stressful situation is not everybody’s cup of tea. This is why they need a realtor.
So, if you are in real estate, empathetic, patient customer service from a diligent agent, supported by a skilled in finesse and motivated office staff, is a must for success.
How to get there?
It is simple. Here are a couple of things that your clients need you to know.
- To start off, your clients want you to be available 24/7. While this isn’t a real possibility, it’s still a good practice to treat each client like a top priority. To them, this transaction represents what is likely the biggest investment of their lives, and that deserves respect. As a rule of thumb, you might want to let clients know when they can reach you.
For instance, tell them you will always return their call within two or three hours if received before 8pm. Or, request that they contact your office if you’re going to be out of town or unreachable on a certain day. When necessary, it’s better for them to anticipate a delay in response rather than become impatient and feel neglected.
- Every realtor should realize that formal qualification to practice does not entitle them to the customer’s trust. That means keeping your word, saying what you mean and meaning what you say, showing up on time (or calling when you know you will be late). Clients might not like what you have to say but there are a lot of people out there who have been harmed by the bad apples in the business.
To top it all, prioritizing the sale over honesty isn’t worth losing your reputation.So, share all possible information with the clients including the errors that you may or may not have made. It makes them feel empowered, makes you more approachable and establishes your credibility in a very personal and effective manner. Give them enough too credit as they understand that you’re human too.
What they do not get is sneakiness and unnecessary omissions. They also need to feel very comfortable in order to inform of your their current situation and needs. No need to be too high strung or austentatious. It embarresses them and prevents the truth from surfacing.
- That being said, your clients also want you to keep it simple. The buying and selling process is complex. While you certainly need to make yourself available for questions, there’s little need to explain all the courses of action for every development possible.
For example, you don’t need to explain negotiating a counteroffer before you even receive the response to your client’s initial offer.
- Also, self-interest has a very ugly way of exposing itself. It can be smelt from miles away. You need to keep it in check. While it is understandable and fair that even you have bills to pay but putting the needs of the customer is what will speak volumes of your character.
For example, do not set the closing date according to when your payments are due. Set according to the customer's convenience.
- Please lay out expectations clearly in the beginning regarding when and how you are accessible to the customers and what to do when you are away or unavailable. They want to know how you intend to handle complicated situations. For example, what will happen if they put an offer on one of your own listings?; What should they expect in multiple offers?; or How will you guard their privacy?
- However obvious it may seem to you, your clients may have no idea how much completing their transaction will cost. Buyers in particular need to know how much cash they need to have on hand to cover closing costs and other costs associated with buying their new home. For example, finding out a few days before closing they will need thousands of dollars they don’t have access to in order to pay their supplemental tax bill is a potential deal killer.
- They need you but you also need them. They are the best and most reliable source of referrals for your future business. They want to show off our new home, but they also want to praise the professional who helped make it happen. They understand you’re busy but staying in touch with them occasionally helps them know they were more than just a pay cheque to you. Make sure they remember your name if you want them to call you in a few years when they are ready to upgrade.
- Last but not the least, they want their families involved in the process, especially when they are first-time home buyers. Their families might seem a little overprotective but who isn’t for their loved ones?
Remember all the bad stories about unethical Realtors? This is a great opportunity for you to show them real estate is full of ethical and hardworking Realtors who take their responsibility seriously and care about their clients. Welcome the parents to join in and invite their opinions good and bad. It is certain to earn some cool points for you. You may even earn their business too.
These few tips and tricks will help you have a better relationship with your clients and become profitable in the long-term.
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