We’ve asked Alex and Sam from Claes&Willems Real Estate a couple of questions, here are their answers.
Q: Alex, why is customer facing time still one of the biggest business drivers and what kind of tools do you use in order to make those leads “hot” and create actual trust with your clients and prospects?
Alex: The lives of people are lived on Facebook-like platforms, real estate leads live online. Therefore it’s important to be reachable through Facebook messenger, but also on our SweepBright website. Our website enables us to easily add a chat box to it. We use “Intercom”. And Intercom is a messenger system. Every member of our agency receives “messages” when our leads start chatting via the chat-box on our website or via Facebook messenger. We always respond instantly.
Q: Sam, you’ve told me earlier that you’re selling 50% of your properties via Facebook. That starts by chatting via Facebook messenger. Can you build a relationship via chat just like you would do face to face?
Sam: Chatting actually builds trust. When prospects see me for the first time, they have the impression that they already know me. This is also a major reason why we’ve added a chat box on our agency website.
The real estate transaction space is a challenging industry, with its fair share of modern obstacles. Millennials are completely reshaping the way agents communicate with potential buyers.
It can seem difficult to stand out when every agency is using the same tools. But there are two key business drivers that still matter—customer experience and client facing time .
Client facing time is extremely important for several reasons.
Your website, social media profiles, and chat services are all about acquisition and discovery, and are mandatory to run a successful business. They make it easier to generate leads, but you need to meet in person to push the transaction further. Client facing time enables you to do the following:
- Build trust: an in-person meeting gives you a chance to shake a client’s hand, look them in the eyes, and have a conversation with them. 55% of our communication is nonverbal. When interactions are limited to texts, chats, and emails, you’re missing out on the chance to truly connect.
- Demonstrate expertise: a potential homebuyer or vendor wants an agent who knows the market and understands housing (materials, locations, geographical concerns, etc.). A meeting gives you the opportunity to listen to the person’s concerns and share your expertise. It’s your chance to impress.
- Be a part of the decision making: 88% of homebuyers use an agent for their first purchase. Client facing time can influence the decision-making process. You can steer your client in the right direction based on a slew of factors (pricing, location, quality, etc.).
If you’re relying solely on virtual tours, texting, and chatbots to sell your properties, you’re missing out on an opportunity to build rapport. But those tools truly help you do just that – keep your leads “hot” and free up time in order to meet them in person.
Once you’ve made that in-person connection, use what you’ve learned to inform your level of service. The customer experience could be the difference between retaining a client and losing them to a rival agency.
In today’s market, there are literally dozens of alternatives for property buying or selling. If a lead feels you aren’t meeting their expectations, they can find someone else in a matter of minutes.
Moreover, the service and customer experience you provide aren’t just about the lead in front of you—it’s about everyone who comes after. Your clients might leave reviews or testimonials online, which future leads can easily access. A great experience can lead to repeat business referrals but a bad one can have dramatic repercussions.
Providing a great customer experience is easier than you think:
Many agencies rely on technological advancements to wow their leads. While these can most certainly help the process, the success of a real estate transaction really depends on much simpler techniques:
- Always answer: respond to every inquiry in a timely fashion; create the infrastructure to respond to chats, texts, and calls as fast as possible.
- Exhibit patience: buying or selling a property is a big decision, and people will mull over details; take your time with them. It will pay off in the long run.
- Listen: people will tell you exactly what they want; take the time to listen and build your search criteria around their wishes.
- Be thorough: your job starts with the first inquiry and continues even after the transaction is finalized; be an advocate for your vendors or leads and ensure their property is marketed and presented in the best possible way.