The good news is that, like a smile, communication has the potential to make all the difference. As a real estate agent, you simply cannot overdo it. Plus, with today’s technological advantages (of course, there’s a phone in everybody’s pocket) communication is essentially free.
So why be stingy about communicating? Your clients’ and potential clients’ expectations are high. Before, during and after a transaction, there’s no one thing more critical than communication. Frankly, it’s impossible to overdo it.
Communication Is Critical
Want to know how to increase customer satisfaction? Want to know how to get more referrals? Want to know how to get more five-star reviews? The answer is to communicate.
Before, during and after a transaction, critical to your success as an agent is communication with your client. Your client is involved in one of the most significant financial commitments of a lifetime. You’re in the ideal position, of course, having been through the home buying or selling process previously. Share what you know. The moment your client is left wondering about any detail, you open the door to a change of heart that can materially impact your business.
Be proactive. Reach out. Provide updates. Don’t wait to be asked — because that will mean you have waited too long.
Communication Must Be Proactive
As the founder of a real estate brokerage, I’m always seeking out the best residential real estate agents and spotting potential among rising stars; I talk to successful agents all day, every day. Everywhere across the country, attending industry seminars, training and networking events, it’s no surprise that I hear this one word more than any other: communication. Learning about ways we can all improve on communication is part of every agenda and a component of key takeaways from every industry event out there.
As the real estate agent, it’s important that you reach out first. Every tiny step in the buying/selling process is an opportunity for a touch point, and every time you do that, your customer satisfaction rating goes up a notch. A thought: Remember, like a kids’ game of tag in the schoolyard, it actually does matter who touches first — you’re safe or you’re out.
It makes such a difference when the agent is the one who reaches out first because otherwise the client may be left thinking, “What are they doing to earn that commission?” Isn’t it much safer and far wiser to avoid that negativity before it sets in?
Who’s The Boss?
Let’s reduce the relationship right down to brass tacks. To be a real estate agent is to provide a service — a service for which there’s abundant competition. You are the service provider, and the buyer or seller is the client. That is nothing to be ashamed of, and if you find that position awkward, you’re in the wrong job.
This essential truism of the relationship remains unchanged throughout every step of the process. Things move fast and change even faster. To be clear, I mean that you should provide communication at every significant step, even for things you believe have been previously discussed:
• Before, during and after you have the listing: Express your appreciation for the business. Provide all your contact details. Discuss staging.
• Whenever you have some new information: Discuss open house details. Share information about a potential buyer.
• Before you close the escrow: How is the escrow amount determined? Where does escrow sit? What is a typical percentage?
• After you close the escrow: Answer FAQs such as whether this amount goes toward the down payment.
• Before the transaction closes: When is the final walk-through? Explain closing costs and what to expect on closing day.
• After the sale closes: When should they contact utilities? When can cleaners and movers arrive? Is a locksmith required?
Timing Is Everything
Could all this mean communicating every day? Yes. Could this be several times on the same day? Of course. Can this be a text, a phone call, an email? Sure.
A helpful tip: There is no single best method for communicating with a client. What’s essential is that you establish the client’s preferred communication method, time of day, frequency and any other details from day one. A client may indicate that their partner also wants to be kept informed, or that timing must change during a vacation or a business trip, or that they’d appreciate fewer updates. Everyone is different. Keep on checking about those preferences as the transaction progresses because it could easily require adjustments going forward. The client will appreciate being asked.
Client communication comes down to a simple directive and attitude: To borrow a phrase from one of the world’s most successful brands, “Just do it.”