Today, home buyers and sellers have plenty of options at their fingertips when it comes to buying or selling a property. The digital age has made it considerably easy to research properties, learn about the market and even buy property privately – which makes it more important than ever that real estate agents are able to compete effectively by offering real value. So, what do clients really want from their real estate agent?
Are Real Estate Agents Still Relevant?
While the Internet is a fantastic resource for researching a home and neighbourhood, the reality is that real estate agents are still the preferred choice for the actual buying and selling process. Technology is just one part of the process. In fact, most potential buyers spend more time researching properties than real estate agents, so this role hasn’t been replaced by the Internet – in many ways, it helps agents improve the process as these buyers often have a clearer idea of what is available in their budget and what they want.
When looking for a real estate agent then, people don’t just want someone who can show them houses – they can do much of that themselves. Instead, they want:
- Trustworthiness – Buyers and sellers want to be able to trust you at every stage of the real estate process, and that means full disclosure. No one wants to feel blindsided by relevant changes to housing regulations, mortgage or financing expectations, be unaware that a neighbour has been granted the right to extend their home to block a view, encumbrances on the land or even bushfire information. Instead of selling every property as their dream home, it’s important to empower buyers to have informed, realistic expectations. This earns long-term trust, word of mouth referrals and rewards further down the line.
- Rapid, clear communication – We’re living in an age of rapid communication, where the expected turnaround time for an email or call can be as short as an hour or two. The faster you respond, the more aware your clients will be that you’re invested in their success, that you are professional, and that you’re on top of your game. Waiting a day or more sends the signal that you just aren’t interested.
It’s also important to respond clearly and accurately – make sure directions to properties are clear and correct, remember specific features of homes that they are asking for and direct them to appropriate properties, don’t confuse listings or send confusing email conversations. It’s easy to get mixed up when work gets busy and you’re juggling multiple queries, listings and responsibilities – but your clients shouldn’t know that.
- Stick to your schedule – While there are always acceptable extenuating circumstances for being late or cancelling an appointment, it is important to stick to your appointments as often as possible. Missed appointments and last-minute rescheduling makes your client think twice about working with you.
In addition, many clients have to reschedule their day, take time off or even travel long distances to view properties and attend meetings, so sticking to your schedule (and communicating well in advance if you cannot make it) shows respect for your client’s time and responsibilities.
- Strong negotiation skills – Making the decision to buy a property is a big leap for most clients, and they rely on you to make this dream come true. That takes exceptional negotiation skills – and they’re one of the main reasons your clients are coming to you rather than trying to manage this process themselves. Their hopes are on the line and they need to feel that you fought as hard as you could for their interests, whether you were successful or not.
- A personal touch – One of the things clients complain about most frequently when working with real estate agents is a lack of personal interest and investment. After all, they are putting one of their biggest and most personal investments in your hands – the last thing they want to feel is that they’re just another appointment or line on your commission records. If you want to earn referrals and repeat work, then small personal touches can go a long way – send a handwritten note to say thank you, deliver flowers and a bottle of wine on their moving day, make an effort to remember their personal circumstances, call them and see how they’ve settled in.
Take Your Sales Skills to the Next Level and Become the Real Estate Agent Everyone Wants!
Whether you’re a new estate agent who wants to hit the ground running from day one or an established real estate agent looking to enhance your competitive edge, Global Real Estate Training will help you get there. Our online training programs focus not only on technical skills and knowledge, but the soft skills you need to build rewarding, long-term relationships, a strong client base and a successful career. Reach out to us today to learn more about our online real estate training programs.