The U.S. real estate industry generates over $1 trillion in revenue annually, according to IBISWorld Industry Reports. It’s a massive and competitive sector made all the more so by ever-shifting technology that can allow sales agents to be either more competitive … or irrelevant.
How do you grow your client base and retain those you already have in a heavily saturated market?
The critical aspects of strong salesmanship haven’t changed, so make sure you’re practicing them. If not, here’s a refresher on the top three ways to acquire and retain customers.
1) Know Your Client Intimately
A little research goes a long way when courting a new client. If that seems like a foregone conclusion, then why do so many businesses fail at this critical first step in the sales process?
Before that first home showing or home review, make sure you do your homework to understand both your current and prospective clients’ needs better than the competition does.
- Know your client’s expectations for a home sale or purchase. Aside from the basics of money, what does he really want? What are his values? What are his motivations in buying? Is this a long-term home, or is he looking at it as an investment? Taking time to really listen puts you miles ahead of the typical agent.
- Ask what your client values in a relationship with an agent. Ask her what she expects from you, so you can deliver an experience tailored to her desires.
- Understand your client’s timeframe. Is he in a hurry to buy, or is he willing to wait for the right price? Remember this is about his timeframe, not yours.
These insights will provide you a better sense of how likely your prospect or client is to move on a sale while also allowing you to form a better sales approach for future target marketing.
2) Hone Your Marketing Approach
How can you gain the trust of someone who doesn’t know you? Think like a public relations expert: Make sure current and prospective clients are familiar with your brand name and values. Keeping your brand in the public eye helps you establish trust within the marketplace—maintaining trust from current clients and establishing credibility with prospects.
- Know your brand. Keep your voice and tone consistent throughout all aspects of your business, from your website to direct mailings. For example, if you work with high-end homeowners and buyers, then maintain a formal tone of voice across all your marketing communications.
- Never stop networking. Attend trade shows and local business events. Take part in your community. Join professional organizations.
- Create news. What’s something your brokerage has done that’s newsworthy? Did you donate a portion of company proceeds to a non-profit? Are you speaking at a local event? Contact your local business journal, newspaper, magazines, and bloggers to help disperse information.
- Be the expert in your field. Know your local real estate market inside and out. And if you can’t answer a client question, do your homework quickly and become her resource for information on home sales.
- Use social media. Connect with potential customers through one or two key social media channels where your target market spends most of its time, whether that’s Facebook or Instagram. And then regularly interact with those customers. Offer services or specials via social media to keep prospects interested.
3) Take Care of the Clients You Already Have
Don’t forget the clients you already have. Not only are they a natural pipeline for future transactions, but they’re your first line of likely referrers. Put in the time to continue convincing them you are offering them the best services in your market.
- Offer attentive and adaptable customer service. Regular interaction with your client ensures you stay apprised of her mindset, morale, and changing motivations or plans. Does your client prefer texts to phone calls? Then send her texts, even if it’s not how you normally communicate. Adjust to meet her needs, and be aware when those needs or expectations change.
- Provide current customer incentives. Reward a longtime client with a restaurant gift certificate if he refers a friend or colleague to you, or provide a discount on commission if he uses your services to sell his next home.
- Create an environment for positive reviews. Customers are routinely vocal when something is wrong. Provide the kind of service that encourages positive word-of-mouth reviews and referrals.
These simple, low- to no-cost sales techniques may seem like no-brainers, but many sales agents in the real estate industry forget them. By implementing these strategies, you can take your real estate brand to the next level, cultivating real and lasting relationships with your client base. That alone will put you miles ahead of the competition!