- Karen Rogers
Real Estate Tips to Make Every Buyer a Happy Customer
Your customers expect a lot from you.
To them, you’re not just a real estate expert or agent. You’re the trusted matchmaker who will connect them with their dream home. The guide and mentor who will take them by the hand and walk them through the process — and the paperwork.
But today’s buyers have a flood of information at their fingertips, and their expectations are higher than ever. You and your team must prove your skills every day if you’re going to successfully turn your real estate buyers into the kind of loyal fans and brand advocates that bring you repeat business and referrals.
And sure, it all comes down to customer service. But how are you going to compete if everyone is focused on customer service? In today’s competitive environment, great service is just the price of entry.
These seven real estate tips go beyond customer service to help you truly stand out in your customer’s hearts and minds.
Real estate tips for happy customers
Save your buyers from unnecessary headaches. With Preclose GO! communication and collaboration is made so simple and transparent, clients will be referring you to everyone they meet!
Real Estate Tip #1. Forget first impressions
Your first meeting with a buyer is your first — and maybe only — opportunity to establish a relationship. Instead of wasting time telling your potential client how many deals you’ve closed, use the time to learn everything you can about what’s going on behind their decision to purchase a home.
Asking questions that get to the underlying emotions in a buyer’s decision not only helps you anticipate objections, it also helps earn your client’s trust and boosts their confidence in your ability to meet their needs.
So, forget first impressions. Instead, focus on building a relationship.
You’re listening to your real estate buyers, but are you hearing them?
Real estate 101 tells you that listening to your client is essential. But there’s more going into the purchase decision than a home’s features.
Why is the buyer looking for a new home? Is there a new baby? Has a parent come to live with them? Have the kids gone off to college?
Major life changes can be exciting, but they can also be stressful.
Focus on home features that can alleviate any buyer anxiety, like a perfect nursery space or a separate bedroom with an en suite for an elderly parent. This can help your client see beyond the stress so that they can enjoy the homebuying process.
Don’t just be a resource. Be a problem solver.
If you’ve done a good job of actually hearing your client’s wants and needs, you’ll be able to make valuable suggestions to help them solve problems and deal with any issues they might be facing as part of their move.
If your client’s budget is tight and a fixer-upper is their only option, connect them with low-cost renovation services you know and trust.
If the parent that’s come to live with the family needs regular medical care, provide a list of hospitals and their ratings, and work with them on selecting a neighborhood close to the best facilities.
Clients who are relocating might need information on the best schools, after-school programs, and other services that will ease the burden on working parent households. Be the resource they need, and they’ll be sure to trust you with their referrals when the time comes.
With the Ultimate Client Experience inside Preclose GO!, you can present your network of partners or vendors directly to your client with links, videos, and more to help your buyers make informed decisions during closing!
Real Estate Tip #2. Empower your buyers
A home purchase might be just an average Tuesday or Wednesday for you, but your clients don’t see it that way. The process can be downright intimidating for any client, and that’s especially true when your clients are buying their very first home.
In fact, millennials now make up the largest share of home buyers, and more than any that came before, this generation doesn’t want to be led blindly through the homebuying process. These consumers are better informed and less trusting than previous generations, and they demand transparency.
All buyers can benefit from a step-by-step rundown of what to expect, and millennials especially want to understand, and take ownership of, the process.
Create a buyer journey roadmap
A journey map is a visual depiction of the process a person goes through to accomplish a goal — in this case buying a home.
Besides serving as a guide, a journey map helps clients visualize the end result of their hard work and, along with a little helpful guidance and communication, can help keep them going when the process gets tough.
Real Estate Tip #3. Deliver an exceptional experience
You might have heard the famous quote from Chris Zane, founder of Zane’s Cycles, author, and celebrity speaker:
“Customer service is what happens when the customer experience fails.”
Customer service focuses on the steps to buying a home. But customer experience is the virtuous 360 formed by all the interactions your customer has with you, your company and your brand, from the first website visit to the close of escrow and moving day.
Companies that excel at customer experience grow revenues by 4% to 8% above the industry average.
As a real estate broker or agent, you can’t wave a magic wand and make the perfect home appear, or remove the hiccups that come baked into the homebuying process. What you can do is create an experience your customers will feel good about throughout the inevitable ups and downs.
Here are some ideas for creating a great customer experience.
Build neighborhood tours into house-hunting appointments
Set aside time during your next appointment to take your clients on a quick drive-through of the surrounding neighborhoods. Hit the spots that will most appeal to their interests: restaurants, antique shops, shopping malls, parks, gyms — places they’ll want to visit over and over again.
You’ll help your client zero in on the neighborhoods where they’d most want to live, and you’ll offset any disappointments that might arise from an unsuccessful home tour.
Help clients network
Most real estate agents are local experts. Share your expertise with your clients during the home search. Tell them about the events and issues in the community and introduce them to community leaders and advocates in their top areas of interest.
And don’t be afraid to get creative.
If your clients have dogs, you could arrange a meet-up at the local dog park. If you’re working with an antique collector, introduce them to the proprietor of a popular antique store. Bottom line? Think about the things that matter most to them, then make that a part of your process.
Give them visibility into the closing process
For many homebuyers, the contract to closing process is the most critical (and confusing!) part of their journey.
Make sure that you or your TC has given them a full briefing on what to expect, with key dates, documents and timelines to be aware of. If you’re a PrecloseGO! user, you can do this for them by inviting your clients directly into the closing process and setting permissions so that they see just the right amount of information.
When you invite clients into PrecloseGO!, all the necessary information flows seamlessly into your client’s dashboard — all in one spot, right when they need it.
Real Estate Tip #4: Make your team part of the process
Always introduce clients to your admin, junior agents, and transaction coordinators early on.
To really go the extra mile, include a few key personal details in the introduction.
“I’d like you to meet our TC, Mary. She has two dogs/is a runner/has two kids about the age of yours!”
Highlighting common interests and experiences can increase your client’s comfort level and build trust throughout the process.
You also want to make sure you’ve coached your team about the role they play in creating a stellar customer experience. Make them part of the process by encouraging feedback and ideas.
Centralize team and client communication
Last but not least, you want to make sure your tech stack supports a strong bond between your team and your customers. Look for tools like a CRM, email management system, and transaction coordination platform that can integrate seamlessly with the other tools you and your team already know and love.
Whether it’s a quick question about the number of bathrooms or a laundry list of closing requirements, your customer needs to know you’re there for them.
In Preclose GO!, agents, TCs and clients can ask questions and provide answers via a secure private messaging app that unites all your transaction messages within a single dashboard. No more inbox hunting!
Real Estate Tip #5. Don’t sell, educate
Today’s customers want to be educated.
In the past, you might have been able to tell a customer that the price of a home was a great deal, but today, you have to give them the tools to see that it is.
Instead of giving clients your assessment of a listing price, show them recent comps from the area. Explain the inspection process to inform clients about the problems an inspection will uncover, and those it won’t.
Because focusing on educating instead of selling not only nurtures deeper trust between you and your homebuyers, it also helps you manage your client’s expectations.
With you in their corner, they won’t be blindsided by the many details that crop up, and they’ll be better able to deal with the unexpected, like a problem uncovered during an inspection.
Real Estate Tip #6. Be authentic
Today’s buyers know when you’re faking it.
If you’re in a market where inventory is tight and competition for homes is stiff, make sure your clients know the landscape going in. Be realistic about what they can expect and proactively educate your homebuyers about the strategies and mindset they might need when placing an offer.
It’s never a good idea to dodge or gloss over information your clients might view as negative. (Do that with millennial buyers, and they’ll look it up on Google and call you on it.)
Instead, aim to tactfully address your clients’ emotions, whether good or bad. If your buyers tell you they love the house but hate the street noise, don’t explain the benefits of soundproof windows. Instead, you might agree that it could be a problem, and offer to send them quieter options in the area.
Real Estate Tip #7. Leave a lasting impression
The period from contract to close can make or break the customer experience. Even the best closing gift won’t have much of an impact if your customer is left feeling stressed by a closing process that’s chaotic and confusing.
Whether or not your team includes a transaction coordinator, it’s important that you take a proactive role throughout the contract-to-close process.
Agents need to be involved in everything from the appraisal to the home inspection, and even vendor selection.
Have a list of preferred vendors ready, and help your clients understand the role they need to play — setting timelines, reaching a clear understanding on the scope of work to be performed, and what to look for in a service agreement to ensure a successful outcome.
The contract-to-close period is also no time to drop the ball on providing status updates to your clients. A fully centralized system like Preclose can be especially valuable here, because it allows TCs to keep agents on top of important dates and pass milestones along to clients, sometimes before they even ask.
The only real estate tip you’ll ever need? Go the extra mile for clients
With so much of the homebuying process now happening online, agents need to provide added value and deep human-to-human interaction to help clients feel confident they’re making the right decision.
More than anything, today’s buyers are seeking support from their real estate agents. By being prepared with handouts, references and full visibility into the process, you’ll help your buyers feel empowered the whole way through.
So, forget the pitch. Put your expertise on display by being open and candid. Surprises in the real estate homebuying process can and will happen. But if you’ve done a good job educating and preparing your clients, surprises won’t become setbacks.
Ready to elevate the client experience?
Close more deals, faster, with better technology. Preclose GO! lets you take the home buying and selling process into your own hands — literally — resulting in more closed deals, happier clients and increased referrals. Try it free today!