Within the real-estate industry, new realtors face a 75-percent failure rate within the first year. That estimation rises to 87 percent within the first five years. These are rather depressing statistics. However, with the overall profit potential in an industry worth $467,000,000, it quickly becomes clear that remaining competitive in real estate is a worthwhile goal.
Two problems new realtors face are related to lack of training and their limited perspectives about what it takes to succeed. For instance, a person’s initial contact with the real estate industry comes when he or she is selling a home. Later, that person might decide to become a real estate agent because it resulted in a hefty commission while not seeming terribly difficult. In short, the home-selling process, as perceived by many people who have sold their homes, consists of a realtor showing up for an appointment and allowing the home to sell itself. From this perspective, a realtor may be incorrectly perceived as a glorified doorkeeper.
However, behind the scenes, a successful realtor must accomplish a variety of tasks. From marketing to administration to customer service, the process is very in-depth, involving working knowledge of laws and regulations. Homes, rarely, simply sell themselves. Regarding training, new agents, even organized and enthusiastic ones, do not know or are not trained on the best practices. Consequently, as statistics show, they fail.
Fortunately, remaining competitive, although difficult, is achievable.
- Knowledgeable customer service
Customers can be tough bosses to have. Their thought processes are based solely on their need to either sell their house or buy a house–now. Their needs are the most important. Their budgetary requirements are immutable.
This reality is why customer service is as much a personal art as it is a policy-based science. In terms of realty, the initial components of customer services include the basics of availability, answering the phone, and conveying expertise.
To achieve even limited success, realtors should avail themselves to potential clients on their clients’ schedules. Although late, after-hours service might not be feasible (or safe), weekend availability is a must. To that end, a realtor who answers a phone rather than allowing it to go to voicemail will gather, on average, more clients than those who do not. Even when a realtor is with a client, a main goal must be future client acquisition. This means the realtor must find the means to answer the phone.
Finally, a realtor’s knowledge about a market–how quickly it moves as well as how to generalize comparable statistics and apply them to a client’s situation–lets a home seller know the realtor understands his or her situation. More than likely, the situation is run-of-the mill. However, for the client, the situation is nerve-wracking and for some, novel. For the client, selecting the most knowledgeable, responsive agent is critical. For the realtor, assuaging client uncertainties, via knowledgeable customer service, is paramount.
Of course, the point behind knowledgeable customer service is to accomplish one thing: obtaining a signed contract. Without knowledgeable customer service, obtaining a signed contract is nearly impossible.
Managing the client relationship
- Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)
Once the client is signed, it is important to manage that new relationship. Additionally, a realtor must manage potential relationships, i.e., leads. In today’s connected, multi-faceted world, it is impossible for a realtor without a real estate CRM to compete with realtors who use them. Managing all the potential relationships is too unwieldy. Mistakes, albeit innocent ones, will be made.
A CRM takes the guesswork out of managing potential and existing customer relationships, and it does this by streamlining nearly every facet of the real-estate sales process. In turn, the entire process becomes more profitable because more time exists for additional sales.
For instance, a CRM allows realtors to setup lead-generation tools, such as landing pages and broker websites, email campaigns, sales team calendars, and contact lists. Additionally, they allow realtors to setup appointments and then classify potential clients as hot, warm, or cold leads. Finally, they provide a central location for the secure storage of sales-related documents while providing at-a-glance checklists of upcoming events, tasks, and deadlines
In short, a CRM makes the sales process more efficient while allowing the agent to maintain friendly customer service.
- Market reviews
In its most basic sense, marketing involves creating a market where none exists. Failure to create a market is one of the key mistakes agents make. For instance, although agents routinely list homes on online marketplaces, they do not complete the process by requesting market reviews of previous clients. Market reviews inform potential clients and shape their opinions. If a realtor has gained enough positive market reviews, the collective attitude of potential clients shifts toward that agent. This shift represents a viable, profitable, newly created market.
This works because positive reviews, left by enough people, evoke a sense of trust. However, moderate or weak reviews, in any amount, can spell doom. Whenever a realtor makes a client happy, that realtor must request a review. To not do so is to leave future success in the hands of chance.
Selling the home
Houses must be staged, and the staging process should not be left in the hands of the owner. Instead, the realtor should have a certain amount of experience to know what works for most buyers. Additionally, he or she should have access to a professional network of realtor staging services as well as to photographers.
A qualified staging service can rejuvenate an otherwise tired home. Similarly, a qualified photographer can convey a home’s quality in a way others cannot.
The reason a photographer is important is because professional photos help create leads. The realtor follows up with leads and attempts to close the deal. A realtor operating without staging and photography is working at a serious disadvantage.
- The numbers
In a seller’s market, homes might sell the first day. In a buyer’s market or with homes of certain, sub-ideal conditions, a house can remain on the market for months. In less-than-ideal selling situations, the key to selling a home comes down to the number of shoppers able to view the house.
For instance, in most industries, a sales-conversion rate of two-percent is average. This average is based on historic statistics showing that out of one-hundred qualified shoppers, two percent of them will make offers. In the real estate industry, getting a home in front of a minimum of one-hundred buyers is the key.
Networking is all-important. From a customer-service perspective, a realtor with a strong network can access contractors for last-minute repairs. Additionally, they have access to photographers and staging services and other vendors that might help homeowners with sales-related tasks.
In terms of leads, realtors with strong networks can profit from being forwarded at least a few leads. Annually, these leads can result in more sales and higher profits.
- Continued customer service
Buying and selling real estate begins and ends with customer service. For instance, after a house sells, the more successful agents will ensure communicative follow-through. They will assist with closing and any tasks that arise even after the sale is complete. Finally, even a year after, successful agents maintain active contact with previous clients by providing them with such things as tax-related paperwork. At every point, from beginning to end, the successful agent nurtures contacts, communication, and ongoing top-tier customer service.