How to Upgrade Your Client Experience to Get More Real Estate Referrals and High-Paying Clients
“Customer service shouldn’t just be a department — it should be the entire company.” — Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
What Tony is saying, in other words, is that customer service and client experience are hands down, no contest, without a doubt – the most important parts of any business.
Real estate included.
Without customer service, you don’t have customers. And without customers, you don’t have a business.
If you’re a working REALTOR®, you’re already doing something right in the customer service department.
But what if you took it to the next level? How would it change your business?
Hint: even better results. Going above and beyond for your clients is the key to enhancing your biz.
Let’s dive into how real estate agents can upgrade their client experience to get more referrals and high-paying clients.
1. Respond As Quickly As Possible
Today’s customer expects everything to happen fast.
We hit “Place order” on Amazon and pretty much count on that package showing up on our doorstep the next day.
Returning your client’s call, responding to their texts and answering their emails as promptly as you possibly can is the simplest way to upgrade the real estate client experience. Don’t star an email to reply to at the end of the day — reply now, and make your client feel taken care of.
Don’t want to have to write lightning-fast responses to messages that come in after 6 p.m.? That’s totally fine! Just make sure you set boundaries with real estate clients early on.
Maybe that means telling clients they can expect responses from you within the hour between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and that unless it’s an emergency or during an offer submission, after-hours messages will be replied to the next day.
2. Keep a Client File
Clients inadvertently reveal a lot of personal details to their real estate agents over the course of their relationship. They mention annual trips to their vacation home in Florida, celebrating birthdays in October, their love of California red wine and their family backyard beer pong battles.
You should be listening closely to these seemingly meaningless details, and you should be taking notes for your client file.
A client file is a running list of everything you know about your client, from their age to their coffee preference. This file is your secret weapon for wow-ing your real estate clients.
Got their birthday month jotted down in your file? Drop off a card and present.
Need an awesome real estate closing gift? Consult your file for ideas.
Want to make a check-in call a few months after the deal closed? Check your list and have a few personalized conversation starters ready.
This is the sort of above-and-beyond behaviour that earns real estate agents a reputation for being a cut above the rest. That’s the kind of agent that high-value clients want to work with, and want to recommend.
3. Personalize Your Approach
Maybe you’re a warm, affectionate person who gives hugs to everyone. Or maybe you’re a bit quiet, reserved and thoughtful. Maybe you hate texting, maybe you love building friendships with clients.
Whoever you are and whatever you do, that’s great. You do you. Except when your client’s personality is radically different than yours.
Before we go any further, let us clarify.
We’re not saying that you should pretend to be somebody that you’re not. And most of the time, a client who is dramatically different than you probably won’t choose you to be their agent.
But it happens. And when it does, you have to adjust your approach to the relationship.
For example, if you have a…
• millennial real estate client who doesn’t answer your calls but texts you back right away, then swear off calling and start texting
• client who’s all biz, follow their lead and keep conversations focused on real estate and real estate alone
• mega outgoing client who hugs you every time you meet, return that warmth and treat them like a good friend
The adage says “treat people how you want to be treated.”
In the case of real estate clients, treat people how they want to be treated.
4. Anticipate Client Needs
Let’s say you have a haircut booked for next Tuesday with your usual hairdresser. You walk in, and she’s already got your favourite tea brewed and waiting, along with the latest copy of your favourite trashy magazine.
Be that person for your clients.
It can be as simple as bringing them a coffee when you meet, or packing an extra umbrella for them when it’s raining on a day of viewings.
Here are a few more ideas that will impress:
• Send a lawn-cutting crew to their place before an open house.
• Add your own thoughtful comments to a potential property’s listing sheet before sending it to them for review.
• Give them a list of recommended moving companies after they accept an offer.
• Offer them a temporary storage space that they can use for extra stuff while their house is on the market and being shown.
5. Empower Clients
The real estate industry is competitive. Sometimes, in an effort to protect their position as “experts,” real estate agents keep industry info to themselves, instead of sharing it with their clients.
We get the inclination. But the real estate client experience will be so much better if you’re actually forthcoming and open with your clients.
Take the time to explain complicated rules to them. Dispel real estate myths. Break down real estate jargon. Share your market observations.
Giving your clients all the information that you have won’t make them feel as though they could do your job.
It will make them feel like they’re your partners in the real estate transaction, which is a good thing.
A client that feels empowered is much more likely to be a happy client, and happy clients give great referrals.
6. Be Early
Don’t be late. Be early. Even by a minute or two.
It’s simple, it’s overstated, and it’s true, true, true. Being punctual is a sign of respect. It shows that you’ve got your act together. Being late — especially if you’re a repeat offender — communicates to your client that you’re unorganized and/or don’t really care about their time.
What are some ways that you go above and beyond for your clients?