Have you ever taken a step back and really looked at the life cycle of a client? If you haven’t, it’s worth your time to do so, as each step of the way can be improved with technology tools that are either free or low cost.
Obviously anything that you can do to improve your interaction with clients can lead to more transactions and a better income.
Let me break it down for you step by step with some suggestions on how to improve each step.
Here is how I see the process:
- The beginning of the cycle – Someone has worked with you in the past and remembers you or has been referred to you.
This is great when it happens, but many of us have not been all that good at staying in touch with past clients or our referral sources. A possible FREE solution would be to create a Facebook group consisting of your past clients, family, friends, people that you do business with and so on. Post weekly content to the group that encourages interaction and also has a real estate theme. Some possible topics could be home improvement, gardening, decorating tips and so on. This will be a resource that will keep your name and information readily available.
2. Once they learn your name, they will research you online.
You need to be found online in MANY places. Your website is a logical starting point, but have you completed your profile on realtor.com, zillow and Trulia? Do you have a blog? Have you built a complete LinkedIn profile? Do you have a Facebook business page? Do you have a Pinterest account? All of these places are indexed by Google and will show up when some one Googles you, and you will be Googled. Google yourself now and see what shows up. If any of the above suggestions is missing, this is where you need to start.
3. If they like what they see they will contact you.
Speed of response is critical. After all, they may have been given several referrals to agents and may just settle for the first one to respond. They may contact you through your website, or on Facebook, LinkedIn or Pinterest messages. They may email you, they may text message you. Are you proficient with all of these methods of contact and do you have a way to stay on top of these first contacts? If not, this is another area of immediate concern.
4. Your First Appointment
When I was a child I was often told that I had two ears and one mouth and that if I was wise, I would use them in that proportion. In that first appointment or phone conversation, you REALLY need to be a good listener. Ask questions to establish that you have REALLY heard what they are saying. Too often we are so excited to be working with a new client that we fail to adequately understand their needs and goals.
5. The Actual buying or selling process
Here is another area that you can make effective use of technology. For buyers and sellers both I suggest that you immediately subscribe them to the MLS feature that auto delivers by email new properties that come on to the market. For buyers it reassures them that you will always show them homes that meet their criteria as soon as they come on the market. For sellers, it’s important for them to know the homes that are competing with them for the available pool of buyers, the homes that have gone pending and the ones that have closed. The pending and closed homes help the sellers understand the importance of correct pricing.
6. Managing the escrow
Unless you are only working on one escrow and have oodles of time to watch over the process, you NEED a good Transaction Coordinator or at the very least a good Transaction Management Platform that you can use. In reality, either of those will make the process for your client a lot less stressful for them and can serve to keep them in the loop far more efficiently than if you didn’t have one in place. This will cost you some money, but it is money well spent if it helps you keep your clients happy through the escrow process. As a side benefit to you, most brokerages these days will hold a commission until the file is complete. A good TC is worth their fee if they can help you get paid on time.
7. After the sale follow up.
If you get this part right, you can be assured that the next time your past client thinks about real estate or hears of a friend who needs an agent, that your name will at least come to mind. You NEED a system that will automate the process. Look around…does your broker provide a CRM (Customer/Client/Contact relationship Manager) system? Are you using it? Have you investigated any of the real estate oriented CRM systems available to individual agents? Pick one and learn how to use it. Then apply it.
So there you have the client cycle and some ideas on how you can improve each step. What do you think? Can you do it?