When you began your real estate career, did you envision a world in which your business would exponentially increase just by keeping in touch with your clients throughout the years? In that world, your clients would hire you for their next transaction and so would their kids, family, and friends. All you needed to do was stay in touch, be interested in their lives and provide ongoing value – right? So why is it that the NAR 2018 survey of buyers and sellers says quite the opposite? The survey states that while 89% of homebuyers say they will use their agent again, only 12% do!
Your real estate broker and your CRM provider probably told you that the gold is in the follow-up. “Systematically reach out to your past clients and your leads, and problem solved.” However, what if that’s only partially true?
Today’s consumer wants to be treated as a unique individual.
If you are sending the same messaging in the same manner to each of your clients and sphere of influence, you are missing an opportunity to connect with them on a deeper level or to provide information that might appeal to their specific needs. Are you still sending a market overview with statistics for your entire county? While this is expedient for you, it offers no context to your clients if some of your younger clients live in downtown sky-rises and prefer text messages; and another group of clients live in a 50+ community and prefer direct mail or email. Why not group your database and send information in the clients’ preferred mode of communication about topics that specifically relate to them? I know what you’re thinking – that is much too work! (More on that later.)
An acquaintance, Martin, recently told me about a friend’s wife who is a real estate agent. He’s known this couple for years through their social circles. This Realtor keeps in touch with him regularly asking for referrals and dropping by his house with gifts of tomato plants. Martin had a career in corporate sales, so he understands relationship building and he would surely refer clients to this Realtor because of the relationship she has built with him. But he couldn’t understand why she kept asking. In addition, Martin’s wife is a prolific gardener, and yet the Realtor didn’t know enough about the family to offer the tomatoes to Martin’s wife rather than to Martin.
Consumers have greater access to competing offers.
We are all bombarded with advertising through every conceivable digital media platform. Your clients can more easily get numerous referrals by posting on social media. Also, your clients are being followed around the internet by your competition. The decision-making process of today’s consumer has changed. Rather than choosing among several competitors and selecting the one to whom they will be loyal, client’s choices can get hijacked along the way by a real estate company or agent that didn’t previously cross their radar. Your loyal client might leave you at any time for a more attractive offer or a more engaging experience. Yes, clients still often choose the first agent they meet. The problem today is that because the consumer can so easily access information about other agents, the first agent in the door might not be you, despite your efforts. This requires you and your broker to understand better how to stay top of mind with your clients in this digital world.
Access to market information is readily accessible.
Consumers begin their home shopping experience online and educate themselves about the market as they discover listings, neighborhood facts, and market trends. And they are also discovering digital ads from your competition! Consumers can learn so much online that they can easily begin to mistake the data for actual knowledge. When your client can find information specific to their zip code or neighborhood, your generic email containing county stats is no longer useful to them. Agents must be prepared to know their market intimately and be able to present better quality and more hyper-local insights than what is accessible online. Then, they must help clients make sense of all the data that comes their way. Better yet, do this consistently even after a sale has been completed to keep your clients up-to-date about their investment. I know what you’re thinking – that is too much work!
To keep up with consumer demands, you need leverage.
Thriving in the future of real estate requires agents and brokers to acquire or hire skills that years ago were not needed. We must more effectively cater to the unique interests and communication styles of each client group. We must beat the competition in the ever-changing world of digital marketing, and we must have better data, insights, and wisdom than consumers can obtain online. To accomplish this, we must find ways to better leverage our time, and also the time of our administrative staff, so we can learn new skills and provide more valued client services.
One way of leveraging your time is through automation. When agents or brokers are asked about automation, they usually think about marketing automation – things like automated drip mail campaigns and automated social media posts. The problem is that automated marketing usually means generic or fool’s gold marketing. To be truly effective, we need to take advantage of systems that smartly automate marketing, giving agents the ability to be laser-focused on how they communicate to their sphere of influence and past clients. If we get this right, we can greatly improve our chances of gaining repeat business and referrals and reduce consumer confusion.
Even if we get this right, what we never seem to talk about is how to automate all the other aspects of our real estate business. Whether you’ve written down your systems for each element of your business or kept it in your head, you have a business process. The order in which you carry out your business process is called a workflow. The routine tasks you perform as an agent or broker can be automated to save you or your assistant time. The decision that agents often make is to choose marketing automation over business process automation, which is backwards. Once all the mundane aspects of your job are automated, there is more time to spend with clients, improving the customer experience and homing in on how to reach your ideal client.
At RocketUrBiz, we are developing software to help you leverage your time by effortlessly eliminating routine tasks and by providing A.I. that customizes your client and prospective clients’ experience and messaging.