Some real estate agents believe to maintain a great relationship with their clients, and to drive referrals, they must devote a lot of management-time to their database. But in this day in age you must provide an excellent client experience.
There are two things to consider here:
First, you need to make "working with you" a great experience. At the same time, you also need to figure out how to smooth out the complicated, anxiety-ridden home buying or selling process...which can be difficult to do, because you have less control over that.
But there are some things you can do, and I’ve shared them in this post. You’ll notice that I’ve split this post into two parts—first, I’ll point out the three most important things you can do to improve the client experience. If you read nothing else, read this first part. In the second part of the post, you’ll find 8 more best practices for improving your clients’ experience.
3 Most Important Steps To Improving Your Clients’ Experience
1 - Develop a great process
To be a successful real estate agent, you’ve got to have a process in place. But be careful...not all processes will lead to a good client experience.
Consider the humble burger.
Depending on the process, this hunk of meat can produce the most delicious, mouth-watering sandwich...or a desecrated brown patty tucked into a bland bun.
McDonald’s is a prime example of a poor process: sub-par, over-engineered meat injected with preservatives, with a focus on quantity (serving cheap burgers to the masses) over quality. Shake Shack, on the other hand, is a fast-food burger joint that manages to put out quality meat at a reasonable price—all because they have a better process.
The lesson here?
Your process should focus on quality, not quantity. And don’t forget that these are individual people you are dealing with, not an anonymous sea of faces, so don’t over-process their experience. Keep it real. Don’t be McDonald’s.
2 - Use software to automate your workflow
Thanks to technology and the Internet, nurturing client relationships today requires much less heavy lifting than it did 15 years ago. Once you’ve defined your process, turn it into a workflow and find software that will help you automate it.
Our CRM, Realvolve, allows you to automate customized workflows while still maintaining that personal touch that is so important in this industry. Our platform allows you to map out every step of your process and improve communication with your contacts.
3 - Listen
For your client, purchasing or selling a home is so much more than a transaction—it’s a major life milestone. They’re going to be making a lot of emotion-fueled decisions during their time working with you.
That’s why, in addition to providing expert advice, you’ll also be playing the role of caring counselor. Instead of just telling them what to do, gain a deep understanding of their needs/wants/goals by asking the right questions and then LISTENING.
And while you’re at it, make sure they can see that you are really listening.
Use body language like leaning in, nodding, and looking them in the eyes. Tell them out loud that you are taking notes. Don’t leave them guessing about whether or not you are listening—make it clear. (Check out our great blog post: The Value of Listening: Advice From One Real Estate Agent to Another).
I consider these three components—developing an authentic process, automating your workflows, and listening—to be the most important for providing an exceptional home buying/selling experience.
Of course, there are many other things you can do to improve your clients’ experience. I’ve listed several more tips below:
4 - Show up on time. Don’t make them wait on you.
5 - Know some personal details about them. Be able to ask about their daughter’s soccer game, address their significant other by name, or wish them a happy vacation.
6 - Be able to refer a trusted mortgage lender, electrician, law firm, etc. However, understand that it takes time to build up vendors that you can confidently refer your clients to, so don’t rush it (that will only backfire).
7 - Provide expert advice through your blog. (Check out our classic and popular post: 7 Blog Topic Ideas for Real Estate Agents for some great inspiration).
8 - When a client reaches out, reply as quickly as possible, even if it’s just to let them know that you’ll need to take some extra time to get an answer.
9 - Give a closing gift. Just because the transaction is over doesn’t mean you can’t show some love.
10 - Follow up one month later. Send a quick email asking them how the move went, whether they’ve experienced any issues, and if there’s anything you can do to help.
11 - Be considerate. Respect their busy schedule, and make arrangements for any special needs they have. For example, let them know if a house is particularly hard to navigate to, so they won’t get lost and waste time. Or if a client is on crutches, do the obvious courtesy of holding doors and offering to carry things.
Creating an exceptional client experience boils down to two main ideas: you must make the home buying/selling process as easy as possible for them, and you must provide them with such excellent service that they actually look forward to the time they get to spend with you. Provide a great experience, and more business will be headed your way.
It’s a tough challenge, but I know you’re up for it.
What advice do you have for creating an excellent client experience?