Consumers want to be part of shaping the products and services they use. That's why real estate professionals need to have a 2-way communication with consumers. Thanks to the many powerful technology tools available, agents can now carry personalized conversations with consumers at specific times through specific channels.
Most successful real estate firms have noticed this shift and begun using customer relationship management tools and other technologies to communicate with their customers. They’ll inform consumers on market trends to empower them, and even go as far as asking for feedback from consumers. This allows the consumer to feel engaged with the brokerage in a meaningful manner.
But, as you may know, no technology can replace the actual relationship between the agent and consumer. Agents know that although technological advances help to bring in more leads, the actual development of a relationship starts and ends with them.
To develop a genuine relationship with consumers in today’s aggressive real estate market, brokerage firms need to shift their focus from driving transactions to maximizing customer lifetime value. As you begin to make this shift, remember the following points:
It Starts & Ends with Cultivating Customers.
Until recently, real estate agents were wanting to put their names everywhere, all year-round. The problem with that is that communication remains one-way. It is no different than you talking to the consumer, saying a lot without saying much of value to them. Worse of all, without the opportunity to hear back their thoughts on what you’re saying.
Savvy agents are now realizing that they need to carry out this 2-way communication with their prospective clients if they want to provide an excellent level of service. Though it sounds more time-consuming, expensive and overall more challenging to do so, it will yield higher results. That is because you’d provide the consumer the information and service they need to feel confident about their decisions.
Some advanced brokerages view their customer relationships as continuously evolving. They have started to adapt by getting on social media where they are able to bring awareness to their brokerage as well as provide excellent customer service for the public to see. They understand that not changing to the consumers’ demands will result in consumers leaving their brokerage for another.
Elaborate on Your Marketing Strategies.
In our advanced times, clients are conducting their own real estate search before needing to consult with agents. This means that agents now need to provide information to consumers so that they become the primary source of information. Agents can accomplish this by using the power of social media marketing. Create content that educates consumers, share market trends, answer consumer questions, and announce open houses - all online. That way consumers learn about your brand, services, and real estate through you.
Take it a step further now. Agents & brokers need to change the direction of their marketing efforts from transaction-focused to relationship-focused strategies. One example of real estate professionals focusing on relationships means that they need to supply the educational resources for their clients. When the agent does so, they are helping the consumer become educated on the market so that they can feel confident in the decisions they are making. This is exceptional client service.
In a brokerage firm that focuses on cultivating clients and meeting their needs, the firm might enjoy some repeat referral business and some powerful word-of-mouth. But remember, this means that agents need to stop focusing on selling, selling, selling and instead focus on long-term customer-centric goals.
A New Focus on Customer Metrics
Once firms make the move from marketing their services to cultivating relationships with clients, they will need new metrics to gauge the strategy’s effectiveness. It’s key that agents focus on customer profitability in order to rapidly grow client advocacy. Are clients happy? Are they expressing their newfound love for their home online? Are they recommending you to their network? If they are not, this might be an indicator that you are not focused on developing relationships.
Agents need to stop focusing on sales and instead increase the longevity of their clients with the agent themself. This means focusing on the lifetime that a client stays with the agent or brokerage. Are they coming back to you as they consider selling or purchasing a new home?
Keep in mind that although short-term metrics are often rewarded (think prospecting via calls, the cost to acquire a new lead, the time it takes to close a deal, and your closing rate), it’s also important that your clients remain with you through the years. Thinking long-term will help you make decisions that will expedite your revenue generation.
You might also want to consider disregarding market share ownership as an indicator of success. Instead, try focusing on your customer share. Those are your strongest assets and where you will see the most profit come in from. Ask yourself, how many clients do you have and how many are repeat referrals? Do you fare well in terms of client ownership when compared to your competitors?
Perhaps there are a few changes you need to make to your marketing mix, and that’s alright. Whatever you do, make sure that your clients know that they can have personalized communication with them. That will be your strongest asset.