It’s 2020, and the real estate market is changing. The influx of low-cost brokerages, iBuyers and other app-based platforms requires independent agents and teams to decide who they want to be in order to stay relevant.
There will always be buyers and sellers who want to penny pinch, but there will also always be buyers and sellers who will gladly pay for an excellent, stress-free experience. Think of it like economy cars and luxury cars. There’s plenty of room for both. You just need to create a relationship that represents the luxury brand your clients can count on regardless of price point.
One way to generate ideas about differentiating yourself in a crowded market is to think about the last time you had an amazing customer service experience. What happened to make you feel special? Would you mention your exceptional experience to others? How can you replicate that in your business?
In real estate, there are some specific times at which we can exceed the expectations of customers and create strong relationships that will beat out discounters and apps. Be deliberate about how you interact with people when they’re prospects, current clients and members of your “clientele club.”
Before the transaction:
- Become curious about others and show a genuine interest by asking open-ended questions. Actively listen to their responses and make a mental note of anything that stands out. Everybody loves it when someone remembers something we said.
- Share something genuine about yourself. Concentrate on connection rather than selling yourself.
During the transaction:
- Once you are working together, take good care of your clients. Put systems in place to anticipate needs and follow up. If a mistake happens, own it immediately and resolve the issue.
- I often hear agents engaged in drama with other agents, lenders or lawyers, and this is something we all need to stop immediately. Shield your clients from unnecessary back and forth. Be efficient with your client’s time; they expect you to streamline the process.
- Use technology collaboratively with your clients. Most of your clients will have at least one app sending them properties. Encourage them to send you things they see and are excited about. Trust is strengthened by transparency.
After the transaction:
- After closing, it remains important to stay in the relationship, but every past client relationship is different. Not every client is going to be your best friend; however these are the people you are counting on for future business and referrals, so it’s important to maintain a connection.
- Because of the intensity of the transaction, people sometimes want to take a break, and that’s OK. Still, be sure to check in to see how the move went.
- Set up automatic connection reminders such as birthdays and anniversaries.
- Invite everyone to a gathering twice a year. Make them feel special to be part of your “club” of clientele.
Christine Carr is a residential consultant and agent development coach with Dream Town, Chicago.