Real estate customer service. It seems like an easy thing to lose track of in the rollercoaster that is real estate.
If you take a minute and think back to real estate school. Did you ever get the feeling that the lecturer was speaking a foreign language? Littoral vs. riparian rights, avulsion vs. erosion, all those ways of holding title?
Through it all, we came away remembering there are 43,560 square feet in an acre. Oh, and some random facts about estates and interests in real property.
What we weren’t taught is how to prospect, what to do on a listing presentation or anything about the mortgage process.
Of course your clients know none of this – they don’t know what you know, but they also don’t know what you don’t know. They assume because you’re in the real estate business, that you know everything. About property, transactions, lending, and houses.
This is where good real estate customer service comes in. You don’t have to be a seasoned agent with a thousand deals under your belt to be ready to support your clients through a transaction.
Sometimes, you just have to avoid jargon.
Consider this: most of your clients think that you’re speaking another language
Remember – these things are confusing to you. And you’ve been to school. As a result, lots of clients find the process stressful.
Your client know nothing about the process, the terminology, the technical aspects of transactions, and still we breeze in and rattle off information about loan pre-approvals, down payments and closing costs.
Also remember that none of this is taught in school – just like you learned a lot of import aspects of the real estate business on the street, your clients are having to learn part of the purchase process, well, from you. Maybe you should add ‘Educator’ to your titles.
Providing good real estate customer service means un-complicating and demystifying the words AND the processes. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to educate your clients, in ways they understand, to reduce their stress. In other words, add value.
They deserve more
Have you noticed how handily real estate coaches, trainers and other advice-bearers toss around the word “value?”
You’re advised to figure out your “value proposition,” offered steps to “bring more value” to your clients and warned that you need to “add enough value” to justify your commission.
Ok, cool. But, just what is this “value” of which they speak?
Only your clients can determine what’s valuable to them in the real estate process. Most want to be able to trust their agent. They want their phone calls and emails responded to quickly.
Most of all, they want to understand the process they’re about to enter into – explanations in plain English.
Since one of the first steps for a buyer is to see a lender – and we haven’t found an agent yet who doesn’t share this information – wouldn’t a bit more information be of value to your buyers?
“See a lender” is skimpy advice. So is “Go see Jack. He’s my lender and he’ll get you pre-approved.”
A walk-through of the lending process, however, is valuable.
Real Estate Customer Service For The Win!!
By the way, how much do you know about it?
If you work closely with a mortgage professional, and most experienced buyers’ agents do, you can’t be blamed for assuming that it’s his or her job to educate your clients. This seems reasonable – except, it often doesn’t work that way.
Guess what? It’s not going to happen
Now, don’t worry – chronically missing pieces of a process represent opportunity – here’s a place for you to shine!
But, there’s a catch. You have to do your homework and be ready to step in to this important educational and real estate customer service role.
If you aren’t well-versed on the lending process, it’s time to get up to speed and make an explanation of it part of your buyer consultation.
Hey, not only does it add value for your client, but it cuts down on those nasty last-minute surprises during the purchase – you know, the client who thinks it’s perfectly ok to buy brand new appliances on credit, before closing.
Your Knowledge Can Cure Stress
Are you feeling powerful yet? Your wisdom is imparted during the buyers’ consultation – before setting one foot in a home for sale.
For starters, this meeting help you establish a relationship with the clients and learn their wants and needs. But it is far more – it offers the opportunity to explain the entire process.
This helps them relax into the process and relaxed clients are so much easier to work with than stressed-out ones, right? In fact, we’re all easier to work with when we’re relaxed, right?
Your job as an educator shouldn’t end with an explanation of the purchase process.
You can pretty much count on the fact that your first-time buyers have no clue how to determine their DTI and how the lender uses it. The terms “mortgage origination and processing” are gobbledygook.
And that’s not even considering questions like:
Who is the underwriter and what is her part in the process?
What are points?
And, that oh-so-important discussion about not changing anything having to do with their employment and finances is deserving of a mention and explanation.
Here’s a great example of Keith Hiscock sharing this kind of value on Twitter:
Start here – give your buyers handouts. In fact, to cut down on the amount of time you’ll spend in the consultation, consider packaging the handouts in a handy buyer presentation packet. Create an explainer sheet, or even an infographic, about the steps in the mortgage process, who the players are and what they do.
Remember to include information on the differences between the VA, USDA and FHA loan programs. And, if your buyer is going for an FHA-backed loan for a condo, there’s even more information to share.
Use your website to educate
Lastly, To really streamline the process, you can post that explainer or infographic to the buyers’ section of your website. Then, direct your buying clients to that page.
There’s enough research out there that proves real estate consumers don’t care how many homes you sell every year, they have no interest in your designations and “top producer” means nothing to them.
They want to know what’s in it for them to work with you. Addressing that – answering the “what’s in it for me?” — is your value proposition and a way to make you the superstar customer service agent.
Adding a page with this information on your site is easy. From there, you can always include a link to this page in an email that you regularly send in your CRM. Better yet, add an introduction to this information in an email and then link – and add this email to your buyers nurture campaign. Real estate customer service doesn’t have to be a chore – but it does take some focus and thought to execute it correctly.
Owner & Operator,
The Elite Group
Largest Home Inspection Company in North America
Best Selling Author “Secrets Of Top Producing Real Estate Agents: And How To Duplicate Their Success.”