Trick of the Trade: Customer Service Tips for Real Estate Agents
One of the easiest (and most effective) ways for agents to set themselves apart from the competition is through excellent customer service, especially if you are a newly-licensed real estate agent trying to get your foot in the door. Last year in our Trick of the Trade campaign, we asked real estate agents across the country for some tips on how they provide excellent customer service to their clients. Here are just some of the tips that they provided:
#1: Take the time to get to know your clients
Real estate is all about relationship-building. Not only does it help you land clients, but, if done well, it can lead to referrals from former clients thus creating an endless loop of clients for your business.
“My favorite real estate trick is to go into a listing appointment with a ‘get to know you’ attitude. Yes, we go into listing appointments to ‘sell ourselves’ to the seller but I like to use it as a get to know each time. I’ll go over my qualifications as an agent and what I will do to help them sell their home, but at the same time, I ask a lot of questions and let them do a lot of talking. Forming relationships with your clients is such an important part of the process and if I can get to know the sellers and learn about ‘their why’ then it starts off the whole process on the right foot.” – Kimberly T.
“My best trick of the trade is to approach every client with a personalized strategy to reach their goal. Every situation is unique, so it’s important to listen carefully to what the client is saying. Providing options and explaining each choice carefully and thoroughly is important in our work. Our clients must make informed decisions. Know when to advise a client to seek expert advice from contractors, and have a list of local professionals available. Help them schedule needed services. Follow up with clients after closing to see how they’re doing. Learn from every transaction!” – Lisa B.
“The best solution for success is to be sincere in wanting to help a customer achieve their real estate objectives. Be honest and consider the customer’s needs more than your own. Most genuine buyers in today’s society will not respond well to tricks or slanted information.” – Nate Z.
#2: Provide your clients with an experience
Real estate transactions can be complicated and stress-inducing for clients. That’s why it is important to provide them with a positive experience from beginning to end.
“A service mindset is critical. If you create a great experience for your sellers, you can make more money than you can imagine. View the conversation from the clients’ perspective. They want to know you regard their home as a special place, just like they do. Ask questions. This is perhaps the most essential step. Find out what’s important to the sellers and steer the conversation toward those areas. Everything you say should help accomplish one of these three things: demonstrating your skills, displaying your values or providing valuable information to the sellers. Your package should be comprehensive yet easy to digest.” – Mehdi E.
#3: Go above and beyond
When it comes to selling or buying a home, clients want to know that they are in good hands with such a large and life-changing transaction. You can convey this by going above and beyond for your clients. From beginning to end, each contact is an opportunity to “Wow” your clients, increasing the likelihood that they will recommend you to a friend or family member.
“Always, always under-promise and over-deliver. When you meet or exceed promises made to a customer or client, a real estate agent builds lasting rapport and confidence with everyone you work with. Conversely, when an agent over-promises and under-delivers, quite the opposite is true. Every interaction with a customer or client is a self-portrait. Autograph your portrait with EXCELLENCE!” – Terence C.
#4: Be available
In order to provide excellent customer service, you need to be easily reachable to deal with any issues that may arise. If you miss a call, be sure to respond as soon as possible, even if they didn’t leave a voice message.
“The main thing I do that differentiates me, even after 9 years in the business, is that I ANSWER MY PHONE. So often agents won’t just TAKE the call. This is your opportunity for a first impression. You are not too busy to take the call. You can always apologize and ask them if you can call back later. But if you don’t connect, you WON’T get the business!” – Stacy M.
“Being adaptable to every type of communication is crucial to winning over your clients and other agents; whether it’s text messages, emails, phone calls, or even faxes. The list could go on even longer with the advent of social media but getting back to a client or an agent as soon as possible is a top priority. Being available will give you a reputation as someone who is easy to talk to and is willing to do business. So, make sure to build your character, polish your attitude, and stay available, because sooner or later you will be deemed a treasured real estate professional.” – Dixon P.
#5: Leave a lasting impression
While it’s important to provide exceptional customer service from start to finish, the last time you are in contact with your clients can be the difference between having a repeat customer that refers you to friends and family and a one-and-done transaction. As such, it’s a good idea to provide some sort of gift or personalized note for the client as well as anyone who was involved.
“When I go to a closing, no matter how large or small the deal, providing the buyer and seller are present, I bring them each a gift bag with goodies, gift cards, and a small gift that is specific to each party’s taste. In other words, a personalized gift that shows that through the process I have paid attention to the small details rather than rushing through without listening to what is the ‘important stuff.’ I also like to bring a gift bag to the attorney and/or paralegal. They love it that I think of them and it’s not just business as usual. The attorneys look forward to me coming because they know they are getting a gift, and they also seem to go above and beyond to make sure that my closings run smoothly and most times are expedited. All of this personal service ultimately gives the client and/or customer a great feeling of confidence about using me again or referring me to a friend or acquaintance. I will also call my buyers a couple of months after they have made a purchase to ask how they are ‘settling in’. Once the rush and confusion of closing on a home and moving in have passed, buyers can finally breathe and take in what they have purchased!” – Shawn R.
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