When you list a seller’s home, there are many activities that must be successfully undertaken – completing the listing paperwork, getting the marketing campaign in place, staging, arranging for photographs to be taken, ordering flyers, installing key boxes, setting up open houses for agents and the public, and entering the data into your local MLS system.
As agents, we all know it’s a lot of work.
However, most sellers don’t understand these details. They think that you strike a few keys on your computer keyboard and—voila!—their home is listed. They also believe that once their home appears on the MLS, everybody in the world automatically lines up to see it.
One of the best ways to avoid problems with your sellers—while at the same time boosting your reputation as an expert—is to communicate with them every step of the way. Take them along. Show them the process. Let them know how it all works. When you educate sellers as the listing progresses, they see clearly that you’re delivering on your promises. And you prove to them that you really are the expert you claim to be.
Smart agents send out communication reports, marketing updates, copies of ads, and feedback from open houses on a regular basis.
Super-smart agents take it one step further. They send out communication reports… and then they pick up the telephone and communicate voice-to-voice. They project, via a warm and caring tone of voice, that the client is very important. Nothing compares to good old-fashioned human connection, whether that’s in person or on the telephone.
With all the technology available to agents, too many are relying strictly on auto-feedback, auto-updates, auto-reports, and auto-information. While there’s a place for these kinds of tools, it’s important that the seller actually hears the tone in your voice.
Let’s say you have some bad news to deliver – “There haven’t been any showings this weekend.” Delivered via email, this sentence is cold and clinical. But when you say it in a reassuring tone, the blow is softened and your client retains faith in you.
Then, you can go on with your warm and comforting voice tone: “But I’m not concerned about it. I’ve spoken with many of my colleagues, and this appears to have been a quiet weekend with very little activity at other open houses in the area.”
This is so much better than a dry e-mail that your client may stare at and seethe over. It’s better to be reassuring with a human connection rather than just baldly stating the facts.
When you get on the phone with a client, your urgent tone lets them know that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Your enthusiasm for solving the problem comes across in the way you say it—not by the actual words.
When you have good news, there is nothing like a cheery and positive voice saying, “Guess what? They’ve agreed to your price”! It is important to communicate such an important piece of news with an energetic and happy voice, rather than merely typing a message to be read on a computer screen.
While we’re on the topic, there’s something else most agents don’t do when they communicate with sellers. They don’t use the new information from the MLS to keep their clients informed on a weekly basis.
If seven new listings come on the market during any given week—thereby increasing the competition—your seller needs to hear about it. Or if six listings pended and their home wasn’t one of them, it begs the question as to why their home didn’t sell? This opens the door to a critical conversation that leads to you doing a better job for your sellers—because you’re helping your clients to acknowledge challenges and identify solutions that will help them meet their goals.
If you want to have listings that sell, then you need to have listings that are priced at market. If you want listings that are priced at market, then you need to communicate at least weekly with your sellers. They need to know that you’re out there working for them. A weekly report is a very reassuring indicator that you’re doing your best for them.
But if you think that a simple e-mail replaces the power of you, you’re absolutely wrong. Even if you send out a weekly Marketing Activity Report—which is essential on its own—it’s even more important to call and discuss that report.
You can say to your client on the phone, “Did you receive the Marketing Activity Report I sent out to you this week? I think you’ll find some important trends occurring in your area that we need to be aware of.”
If they haven’t read it yet, emphasize one or two key points that you want them to know. If they need to act on a problem, then put urgency in your voice. If you have some good news, then put a happy lilt in your voice.
Don’t allow technology to take away the most essential tool you have in your business. That essential tone is your expertise and personality, delivered in your own voice.
Because your clients do not sell homes every day, they need information from you. Be that guiding voice that educates them—in a fun and interesting way—about the inner workings of selling real estate.
Keep them informed with weekly updates. Provide information in writing – then call to discuss it.
There is nothing equal to the power of human connection. Whether you’re communicating with your eyes across a table or through the telephone voice-to-voice, your presence speaks volumes about your expertise and dedication to your clients.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI