Providing service for clients and customers is more than just a job for most real estate professionals, it is their passion. What happens though when the economy shifts, resources diminish and your ability to measure your return on investment for those services becomes hazy at best? So, how do you effectively meet their needs while maintaining your momentum in the marketplace? Let’s investigate a few!
Service smarter–not more. Put a spin on the old work smarter, not harder philosophy, and begin first by fully understanding where you are – or aren’t in terms of time management, financial resources, business planning and customer database. Separate the wants from the needs and then analyze what is possible so that you can service smarter, not more. For example you don’t need to escort every co-broke showing of your listing, and you don’t need to personally visit each seller each week. What you do need is to find ways to deliver expected communication not just in a timely manner, but at a time that makes sense for you and your business day. Spending three hours in the middle of what should be a productive work day explaining what ads were placed, how many hits you had on a website or what agents have shown each listing would be a bad example of effective time management – right? This is where putting systems and schedules into place makes your life simpler and your results so much more predictable. It is also where under-promising and over-delivering is a make-sense strategy for your busy life.
Information overload. You know sometimes what WE think people need to know and what people ACTUALLY need to know is very often light years apart. Your customers want to be informed to be sure-but do they need to know EVERYTHING you know, EVERY week? Probably not. A good way to be effective, keep clients in the loop and have a system that prompts you to do just that is email! Start with a matrix of baseline communication needs with your clients. In other words, ask, “What do you need to know each week Mr. and Mrs. Seller, to feel comfortable knowing that we are on the job and working towards our mutual goal of getting your house sold?” Now, here is a tip: Listen to their answer! You would be surprised at how many just need reassurance that you are on the job without needed a laundry list of the actual tasks. Now, being the forward thinking agent you are – and because you have already read this article – you are prepared to tell your new listing clients that you have an email system in place that will email them the answers they are looking for each week. You can make a reoccurring reminder alarm in your Outlook that will remind you each Thursday evening for example to send an email to these clients. Better still, choose a 1-2 hour window of time one evening or early morning each week to send email updates to all of your clients. Your clients will see your systems in place approach as professional and organized and you will better stay on task with a set time and date each week and keep your productive hours free.
Open House Blitz. Walter Sanford once shared a great strategy that I have dubbed the Open House Blitz. The premise is that you set up all your listings with a window of 15-20 minutes for an open house in the span of just a few hours. You invite a mortgage professional along to help pre-qualify and you advertise your Blitz with a schedule of home tours, a map in your homes guides or paper and send out flyers the neighborhoods you will be in, and he suggested a yard sign with the schedule/map for each house as well. An excitement grows as you move from house-to-house-to-house. What will start with one or two possible lookers can end up being quite the caravan.
Imagine the FSBO down the street from your listing when you pull up with a line of cars ready to see each property. (The savvy agent will have made contact before hand to let the FSBO know that there is a chance they will have a group of people coming by for a tour of homes and while they fully understand the FSBO’s desire to sell on their own, would they consider setting up a one time agreement for any buyers they might bring by in exchange for making their home a special stop on the tour?) For a FSBO struggling to understand the nuances of market changes and how to encourage traffic, this might be a real eye-opener. It’s different, it can be fun, and you have effectively cut down your need to hold multiple open houses on multiple weekends – clearing your schedule for revenue-producing activities or much needed time with family and friends!
Build a Better Base. What is the biggest dynamic in relationship-building? The care and nurturing of the people in them. How do you build a business that grows year by year, provides you with repeatable, sustainable success in sales, closings and referrals and becomes the book of business so valuable that you can sell it for top dollar when the time comes for you to take a step back and retire? Have you even thought that far in advance? What will your exit strategy be? Will you simply walk away? Each month – every month – you contact the people in your sphere of influence. Create a ‘touch” via direct mail, email, walking the neighborhoods, social media – or all of the above. Be present in your community. Deliver the information people are looking for. And at least every three months, connect face to face or voice to voice with the VIPs that are on your list. Make it habit, a routine and a must do – at a time each day that works for you. As Floyd Wickman once said, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care” – and you don’t get more service oriented than making people feel cared about.
Like every other segment of your business, now is the time to really look at your systems, budget and time management as it pertains to the care and servicing of your clients. Find those things that work for you and lose that which doesn’t. Remember to put people first and add solutions that will streamline and simplify your life, and you will indeed be singing a happier tune!
As always, we wish you happy listing! Bookmark our blog at www.theprofitablesalesagent.com. We’ll always do our best to deliver smart strategies that can help you build a strong business.