The Ideal Customer Relationship
The success story of real estate agents today can’t solely depend on days when closing transactions have been finalized. True digital, modern agents know that success comes in many forms, and a lot of it has to do with not only the functionality and ease of their business process, but actual relationships that are being nurtured indefinitely. That means that top-performing agents know that the degree of success they achieve is intangibly connected to the level of partnership and trust they build with prospective, new and existing clients.
But why is trust the secret ingredient? Studies have given several reasons why.
- Because 74% of clients said they would give referrals to an agent who stays in touch.
- Because 42% of all new buyers come from referrals.
- Because 60% of buyers Googled their future agent.
- Because 100% of buyers said their agent’s response time was important.
And many more.
While it’s difficult to draw out a precise blueprint of what the ideal customer relationship should look like, statistics like the ones above can give an incredibly detailed idea of the approach and tactics that all top agents share, particularly in a new digital age where a lukewarm ‘business-as-usual’ mindset just doesn’t cut it anymore.
- Customers appreciate agent honesty - Clients recognize disingenuity quickly, and would rather deal with an agent who is transparent, (even if they’ve made an error somewhere), than someone who is trying to cover up their tracks with white lies and misinformation.
- They also appreciate integry - An agent must be familiar with the rules and regulation in each region that they’re operating in, making sure to guide each client through all the necessary paperwork and legalities. This is new territory to them (literally), and people will remember if their agent helped them feel at ease through this otherwise tumultuous and stressful process.
- The Agent as a trusted advisor and source of information - Existing clients or brand new visitors to an official website will be looking closely at what kind of content the agent is putting out there. Is the agent putting out content that’s packed with valuable information? Are they offering guidance and advice for newbies? Are they discussing hot topics in the industry and sharing their take on market information? All of these avenues allow agents to add value to the lives of their audience, who in turn will feel comfortable enough to not only become loyal clients, but clients who refer them to their friends and family later on.
- Knowledge of the real estate market - Again, similar to the above, clients appreciate agents who share their expertise with them, even beyond the point of sale. For example, agents who do this really well continue to keep past clients well-informed and add them to specialized drip campaigns to periodically share with them certain neighborhood market data or unique industry perspectives.
- Responsiveness -Although agents have, like other professions, handled many business processes manually for decades, the digital agent today is blessed with a plethora of online and digital tools and softwares that help them become what so many clients desire their agents to be: responsive. No matter how busy or caught up they may be in their professional life, they know how to adopt CRM technology and digital apps to help keep track of appointments, important emails and unmissable phone calls, that otherwise can easily slip through the cracks and cost hard-earned loyalty of clients. This is one of the most important aspects to an agent’s mode of operations, (if not the most important), because being responsive in real-time to the vaguest of queries a prospect may have, can spell the difference between missed opportunity and lifelong relationship.
- Attention to detail - Similarly, successful agents also utilize CRMs and other technologies to record and keep track of the various and unique needs of individual clients.
- The human touch - The best agents understand that the homebuying process is a unique human experience in the life of their clients, and can connect to that sentiment in small ways. From offering thoughtful welcome gifts to make a great first impression, to rewarding loyal clients with exclusive discounts or reward programs, or even dropping off a ‘congratulations’ bouquet for Moving In days, every gesture counts.
- The Long-Term - It’s important for agents to not become lost in the chase for new clients alone, but maintain communication with past clients every now and then. Many best-performing agents even go beyond the written word via email and SMS and make an effort to pick up the phone and call. Not only is it a great way to check in with past clients in a personal way, but it opens up an important channel for feedback, advice, concerns, etc that otherwise might not necessarily be brought to the surface.
It’s evident that the ideal customer relationship can be ‘built’ via different approaches and agent traits, but the focal point remains the same: the customer. Establishing a relationship and maintaining that relationship takes patience and effort and genuine care on the agent’s part, but the best agents have also made use of tech as a way to help amplify their business whilst also enabling them to solidify and enhance a rich, ongoing communication with valued clients.