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The System for Real Estate Buyer Service and Referral Success
Last month, you learned an end-to-end system for real estate listing success. Now it's time to do the same for real estate buyers and referrals. What is your current plan for real estate buyer services success? As with the listings system, we're going to set up a system for buyers that is modeled after worldwide sales training. Here is the 7-Step Real Estate Buyer Services Success System.
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Finding Rental Furniture for Staging
When selling a home, you want to catch people's attention. You want to stand out so every potential buyer remembers your listing. You want them to envision themselves living in your home for years to come. Creating these experiences for potential buyers makes a home sell faster and many times for a higher price. The most effective way to create these experiences is to use furniture rentals for staging your listing. If the sellers have moved out of the home before it has sold and taken all of their furniture with them, it is highly recommended to invest in furniture rentals.
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5 Tips for Building Trust with Clients
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How Personal Is Your Brand?
What was the name of your last Uber driver? What kind of car were they driving? What rating did you give them? After jogging your memory a bit, your answers are probably some version of: "No idea.""Ummm…probably a Prius?""Five stars." In 2019 and in the world of perpetual rating scales for nearly everything we consume, it's critical to take a step back and understand the meaning (or lack thereof) of such an arbitrary system.
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Managing the Meltdown: Successfully Navigating Your Clients through a Stress-Free Home Buying Process
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5 Types of Real Estate Clients You Need to Understand
In the "Age of the Customer," any business looking to survive puts their client at the center of their operation. Today, it's the consumer, not businesses, who are driving business decisions, which means that it's vital for real estate agents to understand their clients on a deeper level in order to make the sale. Don't assume you know what your real estate clients want
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Helping Consumers Make Better Real Estate Decisions, Confidently
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How MoveEasy Saves You Money When You Move
No one moves more than Americans. Across 16 major European countries, Gallup says the average European moves about four times in their lives. The average American? We move nearly four times as frequently — almost 12 times in our lifetimes. Moving is as American as hot dogs, baseball and apple pie. But unlike baseball, hot dogs and apple pie, for nearly everyone, moving isn't something we enjoy. For many people, moving causes stress — a lot of stress. One study in the UK, where people move just five times in their lifetimes, surveyed 2,000 adults who moved in the past three years. They found almost two in three people (61 percent) placed moving as No. 1 on their stress list! That's not surprising when you consider how much money and time moving costs. Think about this: if you move 10, 11 or 12 times in your lifetime, how much total time have you invested in moving? How much did all those moves, if you totaled them up, cost you? Making the right move As a real estate agent, if you could hook your clients up with a free, tech-powered concierge moving service that could save every client both money and a lot of time, would you be interested? That is the essence of MoveEasy: moving made simple by combining people plus tech. We provide a "white label" service that real estate brokerages can offer clients for free. It's both a moving and post-move concierge platform that combines a human concierge service with technology to make it easier to move and saves clients money. Because it's fully integrated with the brokerage's technology, MoveEasy streamlines the last mile of the transaction — the move. Agents can rest easier knowing their hard work to deliver exceptional customer service to their clients will continue until their clients are all moved in. Our human concierge not only provides excellent hands-on customer service but also helps clients select the right services at the right price. A new way to save Saving money when moving makes a big difference to the people making a move, and it's what MoveEasy offers every real estate client. When a home buyer or seller moves, there are a lot of changes, some beyond the client's control. The mover is often switching utility companies, phone and or cell providers, television and internet service providers, insurance companies and more. For example, digital services — internet as well as cable or satellite — are one of the most "switched" services when someone moves. And it makes sense. The average annual bill for television services jumped from $700 in 2000 to a whopping $1,200 in 2017, according to a study by Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence. Exploring all the digital service choices today can mean big savings over time. Because MoveEasy works with all providers, we can leverage our technology to compare the best local deals available instantly. Then our human concierge guides the mover personally through all of the details — covering what's in that fine print, so people are not caught by surprise. We use the same tactics with moving companies, as well as other local home services. Using MoveEasy provides not only a review of the competitive offerings by movers but also guides the person moving to ask the right questions. Because MoveEasy uniquely includes a human concierge to assist each real estate client personally, we can help match the services and special discounts that are available in the location where the client is moving. And because we manage a large volume of transactions, we can offer exceptional deals. In real dollars, the total savings across all services that MoveEasy offers quickly adds up to more than $500 for each agent's client. Saving more than money MoveEasy saves real estate clients a lot more than money. The amount of time someone saves using MoveEasy is stunning. Think for a minute how much time it takes your clients to complete all of their address-change notifications, reach out to their current utility companies to turn off the power and gas, cancel trash pickup, turn off the water, and stop their internet and cable or satellite services. Then they have to spend time researching which companies to contact for their new utilities, trash, water, followed by making calls to schedule appointments to set them all up for their new place. Your clients also have to spend a tremendous amount of time researching the best new packages for their internet and TV in their new home. All of this makes moving one colossal time suck. But with MoveEasy, a client can make just one call or click to begin a process that allows a human concierge to take over. MoveEasy handles many of the most time-consuming and mundane tasks to save an agent's client an enormous amount of time in the moving process. The best part for real estate agents is the fact that our human concierge service is designed to make the moving process go as smoothly as possible saving every buyer and seller time and money — so that an agent comes out looking like a hero for recommending MoveEasy to their clients. Venkatesh "Ven" Ganapathy is Founder & CEO of MoveEasy, moving made simple by people+tech at moveeasy.com. Also read Ven's column "Fixing the Last Mile in the Real Estate Transaction."    
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Anatomy of a Successful Real Estate Agent
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[Best of 2018] Fire Your Client: The 4 Types of Real Estate Clients You Should Cut Ties With
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published in June and is #9 in our countdown. See #10 here. One of the most-discussed concerns of agents across the industry is finding and converting leads. This makes the idea of actually firing a client once you have one seem completely inconsistent. But sometimes firing a client is not only the best option, it is absolutely necessary. The following are four types of clients you need to cut ties with, and tips on how to break the partnership off in the most professional and graceful manner.
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Why Creating Value for Clients Is Important and How to Effectively Do It
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5 Tips for Smooth Client Management and Communication
As a real estate agent, you know that clients want your help buying or selling a home. But just as important, they want to know you're invested in them, too. When your clients like talking with you and trust your work, they're much more likely to refer you to their friends or call you the next time they're buying or selling. That's why smooth communication is key. Make sure you're doing these five things to maintain that consistent, positive communication with clients throughout the process:
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Helping Your Clients Cope with Rising Interest Rates
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Buyers vs. Sellers: What They Need and How to Adjust
In case you aren't already aware, agents are the real deal superheroes of the real estate market. Not only do your clients look to you for advice, guidance, and as someone to save the day when they get lost in the process, but they also expect you to seamlessly guide them into the next phase in their life (no pressure). In return, you look to your clients for clarity when it comes to what they are looking to gain from your relationship and what they are expecting from you specifically as their chosen agent. Clearly, real estate is one giant tango.
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Artificial What? 4 Tips for Appealing to the Traditional Consumer
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What First-Time Home Buyers Want to Know
As a first-time home buyer, where do you even begin? Saving enough cash to cover a down payment is a big enough hurdle to get over, but that's just the beginning. The entire process can be intimidating and overwhelming. Mortgages, offers and negotiations, inspections, homeowners insurance, property taxes, the list goes on. That's where you, the agent, come in.
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Realtors Make Moving More Affordable
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Want to Sell More Homes? Walk a Mile in Your Seller's Shoes
Time and time again, we see agents frustrated with the results they are getting from their marketing efforts. They studied the turnover, looked at the average sale price of homes, and found an area where there isn't a dominant real estate agent doing all the sales. Yet, they still aren't getting listings. Did they pick a bad area to focus their marketing efforts? No. Of course they didn't. They are just not touching homeowners with information that is relevant to them, and consistent with their current life circumstances.
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Fire Your Client: The 4 Types of Real Estate Clients You Should Cut Ties With
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What's Your Client Management IQ? 3 Questions to Ask
Realtors Who Get the "M" in CRM Get More Closings There's no "secret sauce" to customer relationship management (CRM), but there is a process that isn't followed by many real estate professionals, and it's costing them money. Often it's the simple things, those "I should have thought of that" moments, that take a Realtor from mediocre to top producer status. Ask yourself the three questions below to uncover where hidden weaknesses in your CRM process may lie.
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4 Tech Features Consumers Expect from Their Next Real Estate Agent
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Using Cloud Storage Apps for Real Estate Client Service
No matter how much you learn about "selling," we know that real estate is a client service business. If you want to succeed with solid referrals, exceptional real estate client service is how to do it. So how do you provide better real estate client service? While you help sellers to get their homes ready to sell and value them, and you help buyers find and purchase a home, your greatest involvement with clients is during the transaction process. It is also an excellent opportunity to build goodwill with your clients and create a referral resource in the future.
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4 Creative Ways to Stand Out in Real Estate
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5 Resources to Reconnect with Your Clients in 2018
The value of a gift isn't measured in how much it costs. It's measured in how much it gives to the recipient. Take some time this holiday season to reconnect with your old clients and leads by sending them something they can use! To help you do that, we've gone ahead and created some free eBooks, checklists, and other downloadable content for you to print, post, or send to your contacts! Just download your favorite resources, add your contact information, then save.
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Holiday 2017: Giving Gifts While Giving Back
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The Roadmap to Unparalleled Customer Service
When it comes to customer service, companies have an entire department dedicated to ensuring the success of their clients' experience. The wise ones understand that it should never be limited to a single department, but it should permeate throughout your entire company with every single interaction you have with your clients, prospects and anything on the digital sphere. As a real estate agent, positive client interactions are the backbone to longevity in an industry that gives little elbow space. People remember great customer service – but they're more prone to sharing negative ones. Don't be a cautionary tale.
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3 Ways to Help Your Client Meet Their New Neighbors
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Positioning Your Value Proposition Against Zillow Instant Offers
We've been talking a lot about Zillow Instant Offers. At some point, there will be buzz in your office about them and agents need to know how to clearly articulate their value. In our last post on this topic, we talked about what they potentially mean for agents and how important it is to continue to provide comfort and trust to their clients. But what does that mean in tangible terms? How does one properly position themselves then? Providing value, client satisfaction, and being the trusted advisor to all clients is easier said than done. To review, Instant Offers works like this: It connects homeowners with investors, helping them receive multiple offers based on their "home details and comparative sales." All the homeowner has to do is answer some questions, submit some photos, and pick an offer from a verified investor. They then schedule a free home inspection and close on the date they choose. Simple, painless, virtually no work done by the homeowner. There is an option to use a Realtor, but the fact that homeowners don't have to is the key. Here's how you can combat this and position your value proposition against it:
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4 Ways to Prioritize Follow-up Over Following Shiny Objects
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How to Start Marketing With Clients – Not At Them
Real estate marketing is not a one-sided conversation anymore. In fact, the consumer holds so much power nowadays that in this competitive business environment, they are a lot more educated than ever before. With so much information digitally accessible, they come equipped with an onslaught of data, resources and peer-to-peer knowledge that they bring to the table to support their buying decision. This provides a wealth of benefits for real estate agents looking to be better positioned in the market and differentiate themselves—because the client comes forward with real-time and actionable marketing insight and feedback that many agents and brands let slip by them.
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4 Ways to Build More 'Client for Life' Relationships
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Don't Be 'That' Agent! Remember Your Sphere
When it comes to being a Realtor, I am totally understanding of the fact that there are always many balls in the air, many hats you have to wear, all competing with the fact that there are only so many hours in the day. Based on this understanding, I understand why sometimes agents will drop certain things in favor of dealing with a more pressing, immediate issue. What I cannot forgive, though, and completely cannot comprehend letting slip is keeping up with your sphere of influence. Your sphere of influence is the lifeblood of your real estate practice. They not only are a support unit for you, giving you encouragement as you close listings, keeping you positive and moving forward, they are also an invaluable source of new business via referrals. For those of you that are behind in following up regularly with your sphere of influence, today I'll share four quick, easy tips to get you on the right track and growing your real estate practice.
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Why Your Neighbors Aren't Calling You to List Their Homes
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How to Balance CRM Data with Your Natural Gut Instincts
Humans have followed our gut instincts for as long as we have existed. Intuition is a key survival mechanism. According to Melody Wilding, a professor of human behavior, what we call our "gut" is really the collection of all our subconscious experiences. We may not be aware of all the insights that our gut holds, but that doesn't mean it is not a powerful ally that deserves to be listened to. One byproduct of the digital age is that our gut instincts seem to waste away from disuse. We rely on Google Maps to get us where we need to go, Tinder to tell us who to date, and Yelp to decide where to eat. Following our intuition has been replaced by data-driven suggestions. While data can help us make better decisions and be more efficient, it can be a mistake to rely on data alone. Whether you are considering what movie to watch or how to best approach a potential customer in business, balancing data with natural gut instincts will yield the best results.
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5 Steps to a Healthy Repeat and Referral Business
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How Healthy Is Your Sphere? 10 Tough Questions to Ask Yourself
In real estate, we talk a lot about the potential of your sphere. But we almost never talk about the individual contacts that comprise your sphere. Within the typical agent's sphere is a broad spectrum of close friends, random acquaintances and even online leads that perhaps only have the name and email address populated within a CRM. As automated "touch points" prevail over the more personal methods of truly keeping in touch, many agents are finding that their sphere isn't generating them much business any more. Could it be because we're treating all our contacts the same, when, in fact, they have very different potential to bring us business?
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5 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience
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What Do Real Estate Clients Actually Want?
Buying or selling a home is a major emotional event. Clients put their faith on the line with a real estate agent to deliver and exceed their expectations – while remaining a rock throughout this roller coaster ride. While every client and situation is different, there are many similarities that stand out to help you navigate for a positive end-to-end experience. Here are five things that real estate clients want from you.
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How to Generate Repeat Business in Real Estate
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Leads Are People, Too: 4 Ways to Persist without Turning People Off
Industry visionary Brian Boero of 1000 Watt Consulting recently wrote about how many top real estate companies are working their leads in highly aggressive ways — in short, he says, real estate agents are starting to “digitally waterboard” their leads with between 21 and 43 touches designed to convert at any cost. What agents aren’t considering, Boero says, is how these potential clients want to be treated after they come in as a lead. And while you can certainly work to repair a relationship that commenced with light stalking, wouldn’t it be better to start off on the right foot? Below are four tips for keeping it real and finding the human connection when you are working to engage and convert new leads. 1. Do some research before you reach out Yes, the five-minute response is important. You may consider automating an initial response to a lead saying that you’re busy at the moment but will be in touch soon. But in the time between that automated text (or email) and your initial call, be sure to spend a few minutes thinking about how to engage the lead on a personal level. If they’re a clear buyer lead, Google their name or look them up on Facebook. If they seem to be recently married or have an expanding family, work that into the call by asking if they had any major life changes recently or if they’re just looking for a new home. By giving them an opportunity to talk about their personal circumstances — and not just the deal you’re after — you’re stoking a real human connection that sets the right tone for them to work with you. If they’ve requested a CMA or price analysis on their current home, do some digging on the home’s exact location. In your call, discuss its proximity to a local park, pool, restaurant or emerging commercial district. Show them that you know about more than just their home’s value and local housing trends; you also know about all their community and what makes it special.
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How to Deal with Difficult Clients
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The Art of Planning Client Appreciation Events
One of the best ways to nurture your relationship with your database is to hold periodic customer appreciation events. It's a great way to have everyone come together and, at the same time, offer something different. There are two advantages to this approach for customer appreciation events: It gives you a chance to provide added value to your customers and mingle with them socially. You can suggest that they "bring a friend," which will then allow you to add them to your database and expand your numbers for future follow-up. Beyond just putting an event date in your calendar, your CRM makes it easy for you to plan and manage all the tasks that need to be done in order to pull off a successful customer appreciation event. Starting with creating and sending all event-related correspondence including invitation emails, direct mail, event reminders, and follow-up communications to your event – similar to how you would manage all of your listing and closing activity plans. Here are some ideas that have been successful for many of my coaching clients. Sleigh ride or hay-wagon ride Farm visit at Thanksgiving – pumpkin carving Movie showing Saturday morning for children at a theater Evening boat cruise Christmas festival in the local park Skating party Family picnic Potluck supper event
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The 5 Types of Real Estate Clients You Need to Understand
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Six Do's and Don'ts of Navigating the Busy Season
Spring is here, which means the busy season is upon us! So far, inventory is falling short of buyer demand and the median home price is on the rise—up $10,000 to $260,000 for the first time since May 2016. How do you prepare for this seasonal shift? In order make this season a successful one, you must dedicate time to effectively managing your relationships with current clients and nurturing leads to build new relationships. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to succeeding in maintaining and growing your pipeline, we've put together six do's and don'ts to guide you. Do respond to leads quickly Don't reach out to leads with nothing to offer Do block out time for lead generation and client nurturing Don't forget to keep track of your efforts Do ask about communication preferences Don't be too pushy with your communication Check out the infographic below for an overview of how these six tips can help you grow your business:
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How Tapping Into Your Community Builds Your Business
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3 Tips to Understand Your Clients Better
The biggest difference between a good agent and a truly great one is their ability to understand their clients' needs and fulfill them. Coach Tom Ferry reveals three keys to identifying your clients' values and building a plan to see that you meet those values. The second tip is a no-brainer!
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How to Deal with Buyers Who Love Property Portals
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The Power of Word of Mouth Marketing for Realtors
Word of mouth marketing is a powerful phenomenon in marketing. Since real estate agents are representing themselves and their firm, no matter where they are, and usually don't have the luxury of a high-powered marketing team behind them – it's important that they pay a lot of attention to detail and a provide a commitment to great customer service. Each happy customer can steer dozens of new ones your way and opens up a wider network for you to operate. What is Word-of-Mouth Marketing? Word-of-mouth is triggered when a customer experiences something far beyond what was expected. It's what consumers trust above all others and what will drive sales for your company. According to Nielsen, 92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. Word of mouth marketing is a powerhouse movement that promotes your brand growth – it is essentially happy customers promoting your business. Develop phenomenal customer service "Slightly exceeding their expectations just won't do it. You've got to go above and beyond the call of duty if you want your customers to talk about you." People remember outstanding customer service. A good word of mouth marketing strategy, much like a great customer service experience, is credible, repeatable, measurable, and respectful. Remembering tidbits of information from the last conversation you had with a client, or something personal that they shared, goes a long way in strengthening a relationship.
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5 Ways You Can Use Video Chat to Boost the Services You Provide Your Clients
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The Keys to a Long-Term Real Estate Relationship
Regardless of the nature of the business, every type of client wants to be made a top priority. Especially in respect to real estate, they are well aware that you are likely juggling multiple clients, numerous showings, and prospects building on the horizon – but they want to feel like you're actively motivated to help them succeed and that you share in their vision. It's not uncommon for people to genuinely want to have a trusted, long-term partnership with a REALTOR® – as someone that is always looking out for their best interest. And considering that a referral is one of the best compliments that someone can give you, there are a few building blocks to grow positive long-term engagements with your clientele. Here are four essential ingredients into nurturing these relationships for the long haul. Be a useful resource A common misconception for many real estate agents is that once the transaction is done, the engagement is done. However, that's never the case for top performers who have built their reputation on trust and accountability – because they know how to become a valuable resource for their thriving clientele. Being a reliable source means to return calls and emails at lightning speed. Especially when relating to the digital sphere, setting up a baseline of responsiveness is important if you want to keep in contact in the future. They will be more receptive to engaging with your monthly newsletters, holiday cards, and interesting trends in the local neighborhoods that come in the way of blog news.
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When Your Real Estate Leads Become a Network of People
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The Real Estate Agent's Guide to 'Dating' Your Clients
Hey girl. That's a niiiiiiice house. Who's your Realtor? Hang on. No, this isn't a how-to on dating your client crush, so real estate courtiers: beware! Take your romantic interests elsewhere. But wait! Although you are not romantically dating your clients, the same investment of effort should be put into this professional, fiduciary relationship. Home buying and selling tends to be a personal transaction – someone is choosing where they want to return to at the end of a long day, pour themselves a glass of whiskey (or wine!), relax, and unwind. Agents should constantly remind themselves of this as they engage in this business partnership. How to treat your real estate client like the special someone they are: Dates While meeting with your client may just seem like another task on your schedule, on their side, it could be a potentially daunting activity. Having scheduled conferences exclusively in the office or over the phone may make your meetings as looked forward to as trips to the dentist (eeek!). Instead, every once in awhile take your client out for coffee or to a casual dinner and discuss business there. Offer to bring your office to them, and schedule around them, wherever they are, and they'll appreciate the effort. Not only will this lift any possible anxiety they might be feeling around your meetings, but it will also demonstrate to your client the length to which you are willing to actively invest in them and their needs.
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Three Essential Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Clients
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3 Ways to Go Over and Above When Working with Referrals
Change is everywhere. Families grow, downsize, divorce, and make career moves, among other impactful circumstances. One thing is constant though—everyone needs a place to live, and oftentimes, their destination is far from home. Last year, approximately 1.5 million employer-assisted relocations took place, according to the Employee Relocation Council. In the same period, vacation home sales rose 57 percent, to 1.3 million properties, well above their most recent peak level in 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All contribute to a country on the move. We set out to learn a little more about how keen real estate agents are capitalizing on the surge in relocations or vacation properties by building a robust referral market. Kyle Else, a Realtor® with Keller Williams, Palo Alto, California, immediately came to mind. Kyle has spent the past decade building a solid referral practice in one of the country's hottest relocation markets: the Silicon Valley. "Directing the attention of a client's trust in my brand to another agent is a high-risk task," said Kyle. "I take it very seriously, and expect the referring agent to do so as well. We each represent the other and want the relationship to grow. That means we both need to service a referral to the best of our abilities by closing the deal to their advantage." Kyle begins by making sure everyone is comfortable working together, followed by a formal referral agreement. Then he turns to Realtors Property Resource® (RPR). "Whether I'm providing information to a new client or to a referring agent, I always rely on RPR's tools and data to set the foundation for the transaction," he said. Here, in Kyle's own words, we learn just a few of the ways he uses RPR to make inroads with his referral clients. 1. Understanding Where They're Coming From "If I have a client who is looking to relocate to a Palo Alto neighborhood similar to his current homebase, I immediately go to RPR and pull the data on his existing area, like demographics, points of interest, traffic, and market activity. I learn everything there is to know to get a sense of what his/her lifestyle preferences are. "Then, by the time we have our first conversation, I already understand his/her neighborhood, local economy, and home buying wishes. It makes it easier to match him/her to a distinct location that suit his/her wants."
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Essential Strategies for Winning Over Millennial Clients
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Best of 2016: 184 Things You Do for Real Estate Clients (and they don't even know it)
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published back in April and is #6 in our countdown. See #7 here. "Why do I need you?" This is a question many real estate agents dread. But with the rise of real estate technology that puts more market data into the hands of buyers and sellers, more agents have to come up with an answer. In fact, Adwerx CEO Jed Carlson gave a speech about it. Pat Vredevoogd-Combs, past president of the National Association of REALTORS® in 2007, testified before the House Financial Services Committee on Housing to blunt government complaints about industry pricing. As part of her testimony, she submitted a list of 184 things that listing agents do in every real estate transaction. "By all accounts," she said, "the general public is not aware of all the services that agents provide to sellers and buyers during the course of the transaction, probably because most of the important services are performed behind the scenes." This list has appeared in several places across the web, but it's such a powerful and comprehensive collection of little-known services, we wanted to capture it and create a version you could use with your own client conversations — helping your sellers understand the critical role you play in their real estate transaction. Pre-listing activities 1. Make appointment with seller for listing presentation. 2. Send a written or e-mail confirmation of appointment and call to confirm. 3. Review appointment questions. 4. Research all comparable currently listed properties. 5. Research sales activity for past 18 months from MLS and public databases. 6. Research "average days on market" for properties similar in type, price and location. 7. Download and review property tax roll information. 8. Prepare "comparable market analysis" (CMA) to establish market value. 9. Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex layout. 10. Research property's ownership and deed type. 11. Research property's public record information for lot size and dimensions. 12. Verify legal description. 13. Research property's land use coding and deed restrictions. 14. Research property's current use and zoning. 15. Verify legal names of owner(s) in county's public property records. 16. Prepare listing presentation package with above materials. 17. Perform exterior "curb appeal assessment" of subject property. 18. Compile and assemble formal file on property. 19. Confirm current public schools and explain their impact on market value. 20. Review listing appointment checklist to ensure completion of all tasks.
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3 Tips to Build Better Relationships with Your Clients
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How to Become the 'Go To' REALTOR in Your Town
Do you have a favorite pizza parlor? One that you naturally call on pizza night without even considering another place? Or maybe for you, it's a favorite bakery that you visit for every special occasion, or a preferred salon where your hair stylist knows you by name. How would you like to be THE "go to" real estate agent in your neighborhood? The agent who is the first one that comes to mind when your contacts are in need of a Realtor? Better yet, just like you likely sing the praises of your favorite pizzeria to your friends and neighbors, how would you like your happy clients to be actively recommending you to their network as the best Realtor in the area? When you earn the loyalty of your past clients, you'll secure more referral and repeat business and establish yourself as the "go to" Realtor in your town. Here's how to stand out as the best real estate agent in your area: 1. Offer a Homeowner's Check-Up A homeowner's check-up involves meeting with a client to provide information about their home. It's often a service that Realtors will extend for the top 20% of your real estate clients who generate consistent referral and repeat business. The checkup could include a local housing market update, simple inspection of the house, review of the current mortgage, discussion of the client's home goals, and more. It's a strong way to keep in touch and offer ongoing value to your client.
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What Does it Mean to Execute a Real Estate Transaction with Excellence?
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Four ways to NOT think about your sphere of influence
"My list is a mess." This is the most common response we hear when we introduce our new Sphere ads. As soon as we start to explain the part about uploading a list to target the digital ad, many agents slump in their seats and sigh heavily. Whether you call it a list, a database, a network or your sphere, this is a vitally important group of people. Because over 66% of your business comes from repeats and referrals. However, an informal survey shows that each of us knows around three different real estate agents. So it's not just that I know you, or that you keep me in a database. You need to remind me that I know you — and why. You need to demonstrate to me that you're active in business. And you need to stay top of mind for that moment when I meet someone who might need an agent. That's when nurturing our relationship pays off. There are plenty of suggestions for what to do when it comes to nurturing your sphere. But when you're thinking about your list, we suggest you don't do any of the following: 1. Don't panic. You are not alone, noted Chad Hyams, successful agent, real estate thought leader and the Voice of Reason for Ember Seminars. Not many agents have a perfectly groomed list ready to go at all times. And there's a reason for that. "Most people in real estate have a sales drive, but not an administrative drive to keep a well functioning database that is organized, accessible, and up to date." But most agents do know they need a list and have various lists they can access. It's just a matter of getting started.
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Understanding Your Sellers Will Make You a Better Agent
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9 Do's and Don'ts of Excellent Customer Service for Real Estate
On any given day, a real estate agent has a thousand tasks on the go. Between your listing presentations, open houses, contract drafts and phone calls, it can be easy to lose focus on the kind of service you're offering your clients. Are you providing the best possible service to your real estate clients? Follow these nine customer service do's and don'ts for real estate agents and you'll be swimming in client referrals in no time! DO's Be Prompt and Punctual According to the National Association of Realtors, over 88% of buyers expect a response from their Realtor within an hour. This statistic alone shows how critical a speedy response is and can differentiate you from your competitors. Are you meeting your clients' expectations by responding as soon as possible? Being punctual also goes a long way for clients, and we know how tough it can be with your crazy busy career. Your clients will remember you for being on time for meetings, calling when you say you will, and responding to emails and texts ASAP. Your incredible service will be a great selling point and a huge factor for past clients wishing to refer you to their friends or use your services again.
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The NAR Code of Ethics: How They Apply to Everyday Business
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184 Things You Do for Real Estate Clients (and they don't even know it)
"Why do I need you?" This is a question many real estate agents dread. But with the rise of real estate technology that puts more market data into the hands of buyers and sellers, more agents have to come up with an answer. In fact, Adwerx CEO Jed Carlson gave a speech about it. Pat Vredevoogd-Combs, past president of the National Association of REALTORS® in 2007, testified before the House Financial Services Committee on Housing to blunt government complaints about industry pricing. As part of her testimony, she submitted a list of 184 things that listing agents do in every real estate transaction. "By all accounts," she said, "the general public is not aware of all the services that agents provide to sellers and buyers during the course of the transaction, probably because most of the important services are performed behind the scenes." This list has appeared in several places across the web, but it's such a powerful and comprehensive collection of little-known services, we wanted to capture it and create a version you could use with your own client conversations — helping your sellers understand the critical role you play in their real estate transaction. Pre-listing activities 1. Make appointment with seller for listing presentation. 2. Send a written or e-mail confirmation of appointment and call to confirm. 3. Review appointment questions. 4. Research all comparable currently listed properties. 5. Research sales activity for past 18 months from MLS and public databases. 6. Research "average days on market" for properties similar in type, price and location. 7. Download and review property tax roll information. 8. Prepare "comparable market analysis" (CMA) to establish market value. 9. Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex layout. 10. Research property's ownership and deed type. 11. Research property's public record information for lot size and dimensions. 12. Verify legal description. 13. Research property's land use coding and deed restrictions. 14. Research property's current use and zoning. 15. Verify legal names of owner(s) in county's public property records. 16. Prepare listing presentation package with above materials. 17. Perform exterior "curb appeal assessment" of subject property. 18. Compile and assemble formal file on property. 19. Confirm current public schools and explain their impact on market value. 20. Review listing appointment checklist to ensure completion of all tasks.
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How to Make Your Real Estate Clients Feel Valued
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What Do Past Real Estate Clients Want?
It's pretty easy to figure out what clients want from you during a transaction. They want you to help them buy or sell a home quickly, get the best possible deal, and make the entire process go smoothly. But what do past clients want from you in the months and years after a transaction? That's an important question to answer because if you can give past clients what they want, then you have a much greater chance of getting their repeat business and referrals. What do past clients want? 1. They want to know you're still available, should they need help. You don't want to give the impression that you have disappeared after the transaction has been completed. Staying in touch regularly — with calls, emails, and visits — for the first 90 days is crucial. Then, regular contact through your direct mail newsletters and personal calls and visits is a must. 2. They want to feel comfortable contacting you with questions or for recommendations. Even when you stay in touch, some past clients will not feel comfortable calling you when they have a question or need help. That is why it is important to constantly remind them that you are available should they have a question about the local real estate market or need a contractor recommendation. When a past client contacts you, that is a strong indication of loyalty.
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9 Customer Service Mistakes Real Estate Agents Make
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How to Select a Client Retention Tool
Client Retention Tools allow you to stay in contact with current and past clients, keeping them engaged throughout the transaction and beyond. When evaluating these solutions, ask if they allow you to offer information that's truly useful to your customers. You may even want to ask the vendor if you can take a sample of their content and ask select customers if they find it valuable. Above all, you want to stay in touch with your clients without annoying or spamming them. Remember, 80-90 percent of agents get the bulk of their business from repeat and referral customers. That's the goal of client retention software--to keep the flow of communication between you and your clients going in a way that's valuable to them. Questions to Ask If you're in the market for a client retention tool, there are questions you can ask to evaluate which option is right for you, like: Is there content already installed in the system that agents and brokers can leverage rather than having to build all the content from scratch? Can you add new content? If so, can that content contain rich media files like attachments or YouTube videos? Is the solution connected to the MLS? Does it need to be? Are you able to send clients timely information about what's happening in the real estate market that may impact their current transaction?
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Boost Customer Service by Being an Expert on the Mortgage Process
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This Overlooked eSignature Feature Can Enhance Your Customer Service
You know that email you receive from your eSignature solution when a client has viewed or opened the document you sent them? That seemingly innocuous message actually represents an opportunity to provide superior customer service to your client. Here's how. One of the concerns that people have about electronic signatures is that the agent doesn't really have opportunity to review a document with a client. Since most eSignatures are completed remotely, the agent isn't there to guide the client through the mountain of often confusing documents and disclosures. That's where the aforementioned email comes in. DocuSign will immediately send you an email once your recipient opens a document (if you don't use DocuSign, check with your eSignature solution to see if they offer this feature). This is an opportunity to call or text your client to say, "Hey, I'm in the office. If you need help or have any questions about the document I sent over, let me know." You can let your client think your call was well-timed serendipity, or you can mention that DocuSign notified you. That's your choice. If your client is a little tech shy or concerned about privacy, the former may be the better option.
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Why Listing Portal Dominance is the Best Thing to Happen to Real Estate
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4 Ways to Fail Miserably in Real Estate (and how to avoid them!)
There are plenty of ways to succeed as a real estate agent, but there are four distinct ways to assure resounding failure! Here are the top four ways to flush your real estate business: 1. Refuse to prospect. If you prospect, a good number of those contacts will become qualified leads, and then, before you know it, active clients. That means work. Pesky things like listing presentations, showing houses...closings and commissions. Ugh. Nip it all in the bud by refusing to look for business. 2. Ignore your leads. Despite your lack of effort, you might end up with some leads from your website, or from well-meaning friends or family members. Don't respond, don't acknowledge them. It'll only get their hopes up. If you hide, they'll go away – sooner than you might have thought! 3. Do not organize your contact information. After all, you've no intention of dealing with these people. If you organize your contact lists into one efficient database, you might be tempted to use it.
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Repeat Business: Why Your Clients Really Stick By You
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4 Reasons Former Clients Forget You Exist
You work hard to win, educate, and close clients. And, the investment you make doesn't always add up if you break down a sale's commission by the hour. The real hope is that every client becomes a repeat client and sends others your way. Unfortunately, too often, this fairytale flow of deals isn't an agent's reality and there are a few pretty good reasons that all carry the same theme: Your clients don't remember you. Here are four reasons you've slipped from the top spot in your clients' minds and a few suggestions for climbing back just in time for their next referral or transaction. 1. You Were No Better Than Google The best way to keep you from being remembered is to give forgettable service. If you're sending forms with no context or getting hit with a barrage of questions after each meeting, you should believe that you'll be replaced when it's time for that client to close their next deal (if you make it to the end of this one). The fix: This sounds like common sense, but I think we've all heard enough horror stories to know it needs to be said. If you're clients are constantly asking you about what they learned on a search engine, you should take a little more time with them and position yourself as the source of information. If you don't, they'll be Google-ing to find their next agent. Discover how to guide clients to their dream home.
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Dealing With Disloyal Clients
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To Serve and Be Served: A Once in a Lifetime Transaction
I almost didn't answer my phone. I was in San Francisco for our national REALTOR® convention and rushing to get out of my room to an engagement (running 5 minutes late, of course). The strange number called twice in a row so I figured it must be urgent. When I answered, I could hardly make out the gurgled voice on the other end. I understood that the caller was inquiring about my new listing. I later learned the caller, Richard, had suffered a stroke a few years ago that affected his speech, among other things. I made out most of what he told me: He and his wife were interested in seeing the home I had listed as well as a few others in the area. They had called four other agents and all of them either wouldn't return his calls or refused to show them any homes since they didn't have a pre-approval letter. He was positive he could get a loan and was approved for a VA loan, but just waiting on his eligibility paperwork. I told him I was out of town until Monday but would be happy to set up a time Tuesday to show them homes. Over the course of the weekend they called a handful of times to make sure I was still willing to meet them...you could hear the strained optimism in their voices. Each time they called, they had eliminated another home (they drove by all of them daily). We were down to only seeing one: my listing. Tuesday rolled around and having just arrived back in town, you can imagine how insane my calendar looked that day. Driving the 45 minutes each way to show them one house wasn't ideal, but I made it work. The first time I met Richard and Connie in person I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew there something absolutely special about them. At 70 years young, they still had the twinkle of first time buyers. I spent about an hour with them (much longer than I had planned given the home was a small three bed/two bath ranch). They wanted to check out every nook and cranny. I learned they had owned a home about 10 years ago but the neighborhood had become overrun with a gang. After pouring everything they had into that home to fix it up, they were forced, by gun point out of their home in the middle of the night and told to never return unless they wanted to be shot.
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Buyer Feedback is Essential: 6 Questions to Ask
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Helping Senior Sellers
Seniors have the highest home ownership rate in the nation, with a full 81.2% of 65-year olds reporting that they own the home they live in. After this age, ownership rates start to decline as seniors sell and relocate to be nearer to family members or join a retirement community. There are multiple benefits for a real estate agent who chooses to work with or even focus on senior clients. Seniors are more likely to have previous experience in the real estate market, meaning many will have realistic expectations and respect your knowledge and role as a professional. Additionally, senior sellers can be very fun to talk to about the properties they are listing. Often they may be selling a home they have been in for years to relocate or downsize. You can bet those sellers will have great stories about their history in the house and the neighborhood as a whole that will help you develop a listing description that sells. One of the best ways to help senior sellers is to start out by getting your Senior Real Estate Specialist® (SRES) designation. This designation is earned by agents who demonstrate the knowledge and expertise to counsel clients age 50+ through major financial and lifestyle transitions in relocating, refinancing or selling the family home. Is a 50-year old really considered a senior citizen? Not technically, but around this age is when many people begin making considerations for retirement and beyond. These individuals will have questions that an SRES®-designated agent is better prepared to address.
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9 Ways to Work Better With Negative Customers
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Top Five Client Relations Resolutions for Real Estate Agents in 2014
This post comes to us from the HomeFinder.com blog: As you brush up on the latest tech trends, efficiency apps and digital marketing techniques, what are you doing to get back to basics and engage with customers? Brush up on your client relations tactics by keeping the five tips below in mind. 1.) Be easy to access: Even if your website is mobile-optimized, is it still easy to navigate? Potential clients should be able to easily find your contact information, search bar and social media links at the top of your site. When a client contacts you on social media do you respond as quickly as you do to a phone call or email? Clients expect you to communicate on all the channels they use regularly. Download chat apps like Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts to guarantee you stay connected. Maintain professionalism no matter the platform using correct grammar and punctuation. (U wnt b taken srsly if u txt like this.) 2.) Communicate proactively: Frequent communication is the key to keeping your clients happy and engaged. Send your sellers a weekly report on how you are marketing their listing. During their open house, use an app like Open Home Pro so you can note visitors' feedback on the property. After the open house, share the notes with your sellers so they can make updates while you make the sale. Send buyers an itinerary of the listings you will be visiting that includes neighborhood information, local school data and public transit options. They will appreciate that you're keeping their needs and time in mind.
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Agents as Liaison between Client and Contract
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5 Tips for Managing Client Expectations
As a real estate professional, you're selling your services to clients. Within any service industry, clients are going to expect the world from you. It's your responsibility to make sure that you and your client are consistently on the same page. It's not simply a matter of telling them what they can expect, but also what they can't. Managing client expectations is a unique skill set, and one that takes practice to master. But with time, patience, and consistent effort, you'll be an expert in no time! Here are five tips for managing your real estate client's expectations that you can start implementing into your real estate business today. 1. Be honest and genuine - While this sounds like such a basic principle of client service, it's often easy to forget! In any service industry, you want to be able to say "yes" and please a client's every want and need - but that's just unrealistic. Before taking on a new client, take a moment to reflect upon and commit to what kind of real estate professional you are (and/or want to be). Your ultimate goal is to maintain lifelong relationships with clients and get referrals and repeat business, right? So, don't sacrifice what you want most in the long run for the commission (or whatever it may be) you could get in the short run. It's better to say "No" to a client than work with someone who you cannot be honest with or genuinely care about. 2. Set boundaries - In any relationship, boundaries are crucial. The better you get at setting them, the better your relationships will be across the board. What do boundaries mean in the sense of your client relations? What things are off limits? Calling you at midnight? Probably. Asking to only be shown homes that allow children to be enrolled in a particular district? Depending on your area, requests like this may be off limits, too. Explain that while you can assist them with x, y, and z, certain requests may require further investigation on their end.
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4 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service Skills
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Checklist: Are You Using These Tools for Customer Service?
Our business is all about referrals, and gaining referrals is all about providing optimal customer service. Now, I know your time is limited so I'm going to make this really easy for you. I've talked to David Lester of Sequent Systems, an efficiency expert of sorts to get his top tools for customer service – and I've compiled them into a checklist so you can see how well your practice measures up. 1) Digital signatures. This tool offers obvious benefits for you and the environment; however, it also offers significant benefits for your customers, as well. According to David, the foremost of these is timeliness. A real estate transaction involves quite a bit of "hurry up and wait," so anything you can do to speed up the process will result in a very grateful client. "Digital signatures reduce time during closings by allowing immediate signatures, no matter where the parties to the transaction may be located," says David. "In fact, digital signatures have become a truly integral component of the real estate process. That's why we decided to integrate DocuSign (a leading digital signature solution) into our real estate transaction management solution, EZ Coordinator." You can learn more about digital signatures and DocuSign in our product directory.
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Pump Up Your Sales with New Twists
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Who is Representing Your Buyers?
When I started selling real estate many years ago, I would often write offers and then have my buyers wait in the car while I went inside the home and met with the sellers and their agent. If there was a counteroffer, I would go out to the car, talk it over with my buyers, agree or counter, and then go back in the house and get the deal done. My how things have changed! Today, we write offers, send them to the seller's agent via email or fax, and then hope they do a good of job representing our buyers. The harsh reality is that the seller's agent is—as they should be—looking out for their client, not ours. They don't even know our buyers. So, my question is simply this: Who should be representing your buyers and how? Being a huge advocate of technology, I appreciate its benefits greatly. However, in the process of utilizing technology, I sometimes think we allow the convenience of technology tools (like email and fax) to replace good old-fashioned sales. In my humble opinion, it is impossible for us to fax offers to listing agents and hope they do a good job representing our buyers, especially in a competitive multi-offer environment. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, a recent Gallup poll on perceptions of professional integrity shows that only 20 percent of consumers have a high or very high view of the honesty and integrity of real estate brokers and sales associates, suggesting that our profession continues to have its work cut out for it in changing public perceptions. I believe this perception is at least partially due to a lack of professionalism, and sometimes just laziness, on the part of many agents. This perception should serve as an eye-opener to us all, but also as an opportunity for elite agents to truly stand out.
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What Do You Want Your Clients to Say About You?
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The Top 3 Customer Service Rules of Real Estate
This post comes to us from BrokerageU: Of course, the job of a real estate professional is essentially a sales role; but have you ever considered how big of a part customer service plays in your business, as well? The most successful agents and brokers will recognize the need for nothing short of amazing customer service. Why? Just like in any other industry, if a client does not feel that they are receiving the level of service that they deserve, they could choose to spend their money with another agent representing them. Let's talk a little bit about some key components that add up to spectacular customer service and a wow factor for everyone involved. Anticipate the needs of your customer You've worked in the field of real estate far longer than your client has been exposed to it. Chances are, you're very unfamiliar with how the buying or selling process should progress; so ease their nerves and spell it out for them. Give them a timeline or checklist of what is to come. You can predict some of the important landmarks and prepare everyone for the most common potential speed bumps. Having a well informed client will make your job much easier as things progress; not to mention the client will also feel much more prepared for any negative news or delays.
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Customer Service and Frank Lloyd Wright
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How to Provide Great Customer Service
Have you ever noticed that most of the people who advise real estate agents to give great customer service fail to explain how to do so? It's easy to understand what constitutes great customer service in a restaurant or a department store. It's easy to get the concept when you're on the receiving end of it. Why all the evasion, then, when it comes to giving solid advice as to how to actually give great customer service to real estate clients? It is, after all, one of the most important aspects of your business – if you hope to remain in business. Agents who provide great customer service build bonds with their clients that lead to long-term relationships. Therefore, the service you provide lies at the heart of your referral pipeline. Learning From the Negative If you ever want to know what people like about a situation, ask them what they don't like about it. By removing the negatives you can get really close to the positives. It didn't take me long to find out what consumers don't consider good service: "This agent won't even call you back!!" "Not once during the three month period of my short sale did he contact me to update me on anything. I had to call him, and when I did, he never had an answer for me." "They shouldn't tell people they're an expert at something if they aren't. Do they really think it won't come out that they don't know what they're doing?" "She doesn't return any of my calls." "I requested a list of properties from a REALTOR® with a few specific needs (i.e., granite countertops and two-car garage). So she sends me a list of properties and tells me, 'Oh, there is no option to search for granite countertops, so just let me know if you want to look at any of these?' "
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Unhappy Customers: An Owner’s Manual
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Case Study: Is Technology a Scapegoat for Poor Customer Service?
I recently wrote an article about technology, electronic signatures in particular, being used as a scapegoat for poor customer service. Just days after publishing the article, I spoke to a consumer who had recently completed a real estate transaction (as a buyer) and was a perfect case study for this very topic! I'm going to share his story here. Here's how it all began. Buyer (indicating a thick stack of papers on his desk): Well, there's the paperwork for buying those properties I mentioned. Me: Wait, what? Buyer: The agent sent me the contract as an email attachment. She told me to print it out, sign it, and drive it over to her office. Now, as you can imagine, I had quite a bit to say at this point.
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We Found the Perfect Agent(s)
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What REALTORS® Can Learn from USAA.com
If you think of the "best" website you visit – what site do you think of? The answer is easy for me. I think of USAA.com. Although the USAA site is focused on financial services (not real estate), I believe there's quite a bit that REALTORS® could learn from USAA – online and offline. Who is USAA? USAA offers insurance, banking, investments, retirement solutions and advice to more than 8 million active duty military members, veterans who have honorably served, and their families. Twenty-five Army officers founded USAA in 1922 to insure each other's automobiles. Approach Your Website as a Consumer It is obvious that the designers of USAA.com approached their task by adopting the perspective of a consumer. You can see this in the details, things like: The exceptionally easy navigation. The text they've used for the different navigation elements make it simple to figure out which option to choose. For instance, from within a summary of accounts, you select the drop-down menu under "I want to" and choose the appropriate action. The clean design. Please don't overwhelm me with too many design elements or navigation options. USAA doesn't do this. They keep the design clean and simple, making it incredibly easy and inviting to use.
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Go for the Gold: How Better Service Can Win You a Spot Atop the Podium
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Prescription for Wireless Congestion
If you have sinus congestion, there's an entire aisle of the drugstore dedicated to bringing you relief. But what if the congestion is in your wireless connection? Given the exponential growth of Smartphones and tablets, wireless carriers are experiencing significant congestion in their cellular networks. The very companies that have been encouraging the use of Smartphones are staggering under the heavy use. Unfortunately for wireless carriers and Smartphone/tablet users, the fix for wireless congestion isn't as easy as treating sinus congestion.
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