By Amy Chorew
What matters most to clients is constantly evolving and has changed exponentially over the last several years. In order to keep up, meet clients’ needs with intention and build customer loyalty, real estate professionals must create differentiation.
Rising above the competition requires a deep understanding of today’s consumer and an ability to satisfy their wants and needs.
In a recent study done by Smart Advantage, a marketing and consultation firm, it was found that the majority of consumers are looking for a responsive individual to work with as opposed to the safety and security they were seeking only one year ago. This means that customer service is once again at the forefront of the consumers’ minds.
To successfully build customer loyalty, it is imperative that real estate professionals work to determine the needs of each client and meet them in a strategic, efficient and satisfying manner.
Understand Your Clients
Create a detailed list of discovery questions that are asked of each client at the beginning of the relationship. This will not only create consistency, but also lay the foundation for expectations throughout the transaction.
The type of questions that help real estate professionals get to know their prospective clients tend to be “what” questions, rather than “why” questions. They are also open-ended, short and direct. For example:
• What is most important to you about this purchase/sale?
• What is your timeline?
• What is your biggest fear?
• What is your motivating factor for this move?
Open-ended questions are enormously valuable since the answers provided will typically reveal the motivating factors behind a decision. Open-ended questions ask for more then just a yes or no answer. As you can see from the examples above, the “what” or “open-ended” nature of each question begs your prospect to give details vital to a smooth transaction.
Be an Empathetic Listener
It’s not enough to simply ask the questions. It is crucial that you empathize with your client and provide answers, solutions and resources.
The “what” questions should provide opportunity for an agent to get to know the true needs of the client. Armed with the knowledge of what matters most, a real estate professional can quickly assess the situation and offer comfort and peace of mind as the client wades through what is typically a stressful and overwhelming period in their life.
Communicate Your Value
Understanding your clients’ needs alone will not solidify the relationship. Be prepared to describe your value proposition and why the prospect would be best served to work with you. Explain:
• What makes you unique
• What they can expect from beginning to end
• What systems you have in place to ensure a smooth transaction
• How you will communicate with them
• When they can expect to hear from you
• Why an open and honest communication line is important
• How you will meet their needs and overcome any obstacles
Prospects are eager to know who you are just as much as you look forward to getting to know them. No matter what it is that makes you special, do not keep it a secret. Those distinctive qualities define not only who you are, but encompass all that your business represents.
Prospects want to know that you are reliable and enthusiastic about looking after their best interests. Prove to them that you are dependable, trustworthy and willing to go the extra mile when it comes to the largest financial decision they will ever make.
Amy Chorew is the Vice President of Platform Development at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate.
To read this article on Better Homes and Gardens’ blog, “Clean Slate,” visit: http://bhgrealestateblog.com/2013/02/22/building-customer-loyalty/.
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