Meeting a prospective client is like a first date - with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line. If you want to maintain and keep loyal clients, you'll need to refine the way you communicate with them. Here's how...
For an experienced real estate agent, another new client is – just another new client. However, from your client’s perspective, you are the gateway between them and their largest investment. The best way to make sure this major transaction runs smoothly? Clear, intentional communication.
It’s not as simple as speaking slowly or sending blunt emails. We each have different styles of communication, and a great communicator knows how to adapt to each of these styles.
Learning how to become a better communicator is one of the greatest career investments any ambitious agent can make. This article will get you started on the right foot.
Choosing the Right Method of Communication
The four most common method of communication between agent and client are text, over the phone, email, and in person. The medium you choose to communicate with sends a message of in itself, so pick carefully.
Believe it or not, there are still some clients who haven’t caught up with texting culture. For example, a young, first-time home buyer may prefer to receive a text that they can skim while on the train, whereas a senior looking to downsize their home would likely prefer a personal call. Texting etiquette can be touchy with different generations and demographics. To learn more about texting etiquette with clients, check out this article: 10 Texting Etiquette Tips for Real Estate Agents.
Phonecalling is a universally welcomed method of professional communication. During a phone conversation, ideas are less likely to be misinterpreted and it’s easy to pick up on emotion and context. Hearing each other’s tone of voice is much more personal than an email or text.
In the case of delivering bad news, giving your client a call or a visit are almost always the best options.
Are you sharing a complex document or detailed information that clients may want to double check? Email is your go-to method of communication. Email is still the most popular way to send official information that you want be trackable. Clients are likely to start initial contact by email in order to indicate that they are serious about their inquiry.
If you’re away from your desk for a period of time, set an out-of-office reply to keep prospects in the loop.
Face-to-face conversation is undeniably the most personal form of communication. It’s easier to build trust or portray a particular message when all of your natural verbal and non-verbal tools like eye contact, body language, and tone, are directly in front of your client’s face.
However, asking your client to “meet in person” can come with an air of seriousnesses. Clarify what you’d like to discuss and why you’d prefer to meet in person.
How To Improve Communication with New and Current Clients
A series of small tweaks can make a big difference in effective agent-client communication.
Confident Body Language
Body language is a major factor in how we deduct meaning from our interactions.
Your facial expressions, what you do with your hands while distracted, and your posture, are a few of the body language cues that transmit your intentions and level of confidence.
Some basic rules of thumb include are to face the client and keep your arms uncrossed and open. When feeling disconnected from your clients, mirroring is an excellent way to build rapport.
In the video below, this body language expert shares exactly how to feel and present yourself as the confident agent you are.
Real estate has no set hours, but that doesn’t mean you should be available around the clock. The perfect timing for communication depends on you and your prospective client.
Start initial contact by gently establishing the best time to get in contact. Keep your tone friendly and low-pressure and finish your conversation (whether by email, phone, etc.) by asking when is usually the best time to get in contact with them going forward.
As you get to know your new clients, you’ll learn more about their unique communication style.
If your client is a slow decision maker, you may want to call them far enough in advance to give them time to review the conversation. If your client is anxious and in a rush, notify them as soon as something positive happens.
Throughout your relationship with your client, continue casually checking on these preferences to make sure you are providing the best possible service. The most important thing is that you establish their preferred method of communication and learn a bit about their lifestyle to better plan frequency and details of your discussions.
On the agent’s side, communication styles aren’t as lax. When real estate agents respond quickly to a client text, emails, calls, etc, it shows that they care and have their priorities under control. Unresponsive agents, on the other hand, send a clear message that they don’t value their client’s time or prioritize their home search. If you don’t consistently communicate, your clients will begin to wonder if you’re working enough to deserve that generous commission.
It’s cliche, but being yourself is more essential now than ever. In a day and age in which people are obsessed with their self image, authenticity is a breath of fresh air.
It’s common for any type of sales professional to put up an image of perfection and robot-like professionalism to portray that everything is flawless. But your clients want to talk to the real you, not your sales persona.
There’s a sweet spot between acting natural and keeping a professional distance. Once you practice toeing the line, it becomes natural with time.
Simplify Your Vocabulary
If you spend your days talking, thinking, eating, and breathing real estate, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is an industry expert. As a real estate agent, you have the unique challenge of explaining complex topics in a way that any Joe Blow can understand.
Think about how certain terms affect your client’s situation and imagine the easiest way to receive new ideas from their perspective and standpoint. For example, if you are working with an ESL client, use words like “a place to stay” over “ accommodations” or “deposit” over “earnest money”.
Active listening helps to foster respect between agent and client and is the remedy for any stunted communication. It’s all about showing that you are engaged in conversation and making sure that all perspectives are heard and understood.
As your clients speak, nod along to show them that you are absorbing their points. Reiterate their main concerns to clarify and show that you are eager to understand them. Then, pose follow up questions when you need more information or are unclear on the context.
Keep the conversation fruitful and flowing by avoiding yes or no questions. Instead, encourage prospective clients to share their opinions and preferences in detail.
It should be obvious, but any tone or comment that makes a client hesitant to speak (such as the dreaded “just trust me” or “are you done?”) will only make it impossible to connect.
Misunderstanding is the root of conflict. With such an expensive deal on the table, there’s no room to risk for conflict. Try the four tips in the video below to practice your active listening.
Try the F.O.R.M. Small Talk Method
Every new client is initially a stranger. It’s common to run into a few awkward silences or have trouble easing the conversation along during those long drives. When in doubt, try the FORM method. FORM stands for:
These topics are a great go-tos for when we’re not sure what else to say or if you want to get to know your clients on a deeper level, but aren’t sure where to start. For example, you can ask a client what their day to day is like and how they got into their line of work (occupation), then move on to what made them interested in purchasing their own home (motivation).
Always Utilize Your CRM
Surprise, surprise – we’re talking about CRMs again. Your CRM is the backbone of your overall lead generation strategy. This is the tool that keeps all of the information about your prospective clients organized so that you know exactly what to say to your prospect and when to say it. Most modern CRMs such as FollowUp Boss, let you easily track and store the details of every interaction you’ve had with your contacts, from emails to phone calls in a single all-encompassing platform. In short, it takes the effort out of keeping communication consistent. Learn more about CRMs and which one is right for you here: The Top 10 CRMs For Real Estate Professionals.
AgentFire websites are built to integrate perfectly with all leading CRMs. Curious about how your real estate website and CRM can work together to form a lead-generating machine? Our expert team has the answers. Book a demo to speak with us.
Until Next Time..
Learning better ways to improve communication should be on every real estate agent’s agenda. Communication is crucial at every single step of the home selling/buying process (even for things that may not be a big deal to you as an agent). Armed with these tips, you can establish strong connections with your potential clients quickly and naturally.<
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