You’ve been told your entire life “It’s the little things that count.” Well, I’m here to tell you it’s true! How does this apply to your real estate business? Read on.
When people come to us to buy or sell a home, it’s our job to help them navigate the rough waters of the process. We create the CMA, write market activity reports, and keep our clients updated on current market conditions.
It can be overwhelming, especially for our client. They don’t experience all the daily complications we’re used to dealing with. Every little thing we do to make the process flow smoothly adds to our value as a trusted advisor.
It’s those little things—the “value-added” finishing touches that you do for your clients that are sometimes the most memorable. Some of my favorite things people should do to leave a lasting mark on their client’s experience are:
1. Say “Thank you.”
It’s almost silly that I’m telling you this one, right? Well, you’d be amazed at how many homeowners I’ve talked to who told me that once the real estate transaction was completed, the agent disappeared without a word. Now, I’m sure this isn’t you, but it’s worth mentioning because I’ve heard it so many times.
2. Follow up.
Let’s assume you always say “thank you.” Do you call 30 days after the transaction and say it again? I bet you’re afraid of hearing a litany of complaints, aren’t you? I have news for you. This rarely happens.
And even when it does, what an opportunity for you! You can be a part of solving the problem for them. If they don’t tell you in words now, they’ll show you later by telling people not to do business with you.
For example, if your client discovers that flying ants have nested in the eaves, they may get aggravated. Maybe you have a connection with a local exterminator who will take care of the problem quickly. Trust me, if it’s 30 days after closing and you do this for someone, you will be talked about! Most agents shriek and run from such situations, but by facing it head-on you will come to be known as a rare bird indeed—a professional who truly cares about people.
3. Stay in touch.
Now, I’m not talking about calling them up, going to their kids’ soccer games, or having them over for dinner. I’m also not talking about hounding them for referrals. If you’re good at what you do, referrals will come to you all by themselves.
Just keep them on your list of people to whom you send important real estate information. That’s all you need to do. Perhaps mortgage refinance rates have just dropped and you want to let your past clients know so they can call their broker. They’ll appreciate the gesture and say to themselves, “Wow, Judy Smith is a fantastic agent.” The next time a friend says she’s moving, the homeowner will say, “You’ve got to call Judy Smith. She is unbelievable. She helped Tom and me save a bundle by refinancing.”
I once did a study of homeowners who used a different agent than the last time they bought a property. Eighty percent of the responses were something like “Cliff was great, but we lost touch. We haven’t seen him since the transaction, and totally forgot about him.” Don’t be Cliff!
4. Be Your Client’s “Closing Day” coach.
Now, I know you’ve been told that for legal reasons, it’s best for you to stay away and let the lawyers handle closing. I say just the opposite.
On Closing Day, drop by. Or even be there with them. (Heresy! How dare I suggest this!) If you can’t be there, show up an hour later and congratulate them. Or, at the very least be available by telephone and tell them, “Call me and I’ll look anything up for you that you need…or if the process gets to you and you just need a friend to talk to, I’ll be here.”
As for not being at the closing table due to legal reasons, this is ridiculous. If there’s a legal issue, do you think hiding from the closing table is going to help? It needs to be addressed. Who better to help your client address the issue than you?
5. Send a “thank you” gift.
Yes, send a gift. Nothing expensive—just a thoughtful housewarming item. A great gift is a Homeowner’s Record Book. This keeps all their important documents in one volume. You could even emboss it with their name and new address…even put a picture of their new home on the cover! What a great way to say “I appreciate your business AND I’m on top of all the details for you.” This is a prime example of a little thing that goes a long way.
6. Get feedback.
Business owners of all kinds need to get better at this one. Feedback is the only way you can find out what you may be doing wrong. People are afraid of hearing anything bad, but isn’t it better to find out now so you can stop doing it?
Make it an “imperative” that in addition to a “thank you” call 30 days after the transaction, you also send a letter (with a stamped return envelope) that says, “If I could have done anything different during your transaction, what could it have been?”
Give several examples to stimulate their thinking. Ask, “Would you have looked at more homes? Would you have waited for more offers? This will help me better understand the buying and selling experience through your eyes to better help my future clients.”
People love it when you do this. It says all the right things. Instead of badgering them for a referral, you’re demonstrating that your job is very important to you and you are a true professional.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old phrase “It’s the little things that count”. Well, it’s true. Find areas you can add nice touches to your business and you will be rewarded with more success.