5 CUSTOMER SERVICE TIPS FOR REAL ESTATE SUCCESS
To stand out in this market as an average Realtor, requires a lot of extra efforts, something above ordinary. A great customer service is key to achieving high level of customer satisfaction which in turn lead to repeated sales as well as referrals, which are considered the most advanced form of selling. I started my journey in real estate about 2 years ago choosing one of the less tapped sector of real estate: Advertising, and a very unique niche of advertising student hostel. Here, I work with two sects of difficult clients; students and hostel managers. If there is anything I know about students, it is that they have great taste and are not easily satisfied. To fulfill the need of these market, a good customer service skill is required. The following tips will help you achieve high level of customer satisfaction
- Build Trust: Trust comes first because it is the most important thing in the real estate business. This requires that you keep your promise whenever you make one. Most Realtors don’t know the value of trust in this business, they tend to go for instant gratification by defrauding or doing other sorts of things that make a client question their integrity. I once have a client who told me the reason he constantly do business with me is because he trust me. This same client has referred his friends to using my service. When people refer you to their friends or families, their integrity is also at stake. This is why to get more sales, you have to build trust. People will not refer you to their friends or families if they don’t trust you
- Be available always even on weekends: Many sales have been lost as a result of negligence on the part of realtors who think weekends are not meant for work. You will be surprise at how many sales you could make on weekends. As Jon Hunt, founder of Foxton home (sold for €390million) said
“40% of our viewings are carried out in the evening and at weekends”
Let’s use an hypothetical example of a banker client who work all week, Monday to Friday, and want to buy a new property from you, he get to contact you for inspection on a weekend and your response was: our company don’t open on weekends please contact us on weekdays. This will imply many things; one is, your client already know you are not business minded, he knows you are lazy and probably not the right person for the job. Note that, for every sales you lose, you are indirectly losing 200 more, as every customer knows at least 200 more customers. Even though he was referred to you by one of your clients, the chance that he is going to refer other people is slim. I have had several experiences, one was on a Sunday when I met a student searching bitterly for off campus hostel under the intense sun, so I gave him the contact of one of my client whom I think has the particular hostel this student has described, but surprisingly the client said his company don’t open on weekends. Of course you know what the result was, the student was disappointed and I was disappointed too and the client also lose the sale that would have cost him less effort.
- Never charge consultancy fee: I believe most people will disagree with me on this. If consulting is not your primary job, don’t charge your clients, who are still going to purchase or rent your property for consulting. When you charge consulting fees outright before the client even see the property, you are sending two signals; one is that you are not convinced that the client is the rightful buyer/renter of the property i.e you don’t think they will buy/rent, and because our thoughts always convert to what we get, you might be losing the sale from the start. Second is, you are putting the client in a state of dilemma as they are not sure if they will like any of your properties. I believe, you can always charge premium fee for a property that your client have already fall in love with, not the one they have not seen.
- Never outsource customer service: It is surprising how many Realtors outsource customer service, which is consider the most important aspect in customer retention, in the name of freeing up time to get more clients. Remember, the aim is never to get more clients, the aim is to make your existing clients happy so that they can refer you to more people. As it is less work to get new clients via referral than to get them without referrals. If at all you are going to outsource your customer service, make sure you set the tone.
- Speak their language: This is psychology 101 in action. As human being, we tend to like people who share the same convictions and believe with us than those who don’t. So, if your customer speak for example his native language in your conversation and you know how to speak the same language, always use this language, as this establish a form of connection between you. This also extend to other human behavior apart from language, but don’t fake things, because you will get caught easily and that is even more dangerous.
I hope these tips will help you get more customer satisfaction, more sales and more referrals. This is to your success in Real Estate. Cheers
ALAO TOPE is the founder of offkrent.com an online hostel booking website in Nigeria. You can reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org