In previous posts, I’ve been harping big-time on agents maintaining clear, open, consistent communication with their clients.
Honestly, it’s a big problem. And it’s costing you money if you’re not communicating properly. Lots of money. However, it’s unseen money…money you don’t know you’re losing, so you don’t think of it as a problem. If you sell someone’s house and don’t give them good communication and service, yet they go to closing, you think that you’ve made a commission and done your job. What you don’t see is that your seller (now a past client) won’t ever refer you clients or use you if they move again.
I know I’ve said this before, but I used to easily set appointments and then taken listings with many Expired’s who said their agent basically disappeared for the last 3 months, and never really let them know anything during the first 3 months.
How many times have you seen a past client’s address come up as a new listing on the MLS, and it wasn’t you who listed them?
How about buyers and sellers that never return calls, and never refer business to you, after they close, because you didn’t communicate to them during the 90 days they went from under contract to closing?
Have you ever seen a friend, or business owner, whose business you frequent, buy or sell a house and not use you?
It all comes down to communication. And here’s why most agents don’t communicate very well (or consistently) with their clients. Some of these reasons will have to do with current clients (listed, buyer/seller under contract), some will have to do with past clients and sphere of influence, and some will have to do with both:
1. You just don’t know you’re supposed to do it – Unfortunately, the vast majority of agents haven’t been trained to do anything, much less keep regular contact with their clients, past clients and spheres of influence.
You’re in the sales business, so you need to sell. That means you need people to sell to. The easiest people to sell to are people who know you, or people you’ve already sold to (as long as you provided good service and communication!).
Still, they’re not sitting around thinking about how much business they can give you. If you’re lucky, in 7 years or so when your past clients look to move again, they MIGHT call you to list the home. However, in general, unless you ask for the business, people aren’t just going to knock down your door to give it to you.
2. You assume your client knows what’s going on – Most agents don’t realize how big a deal this is to the buyer/seller. This is either your client’s first time doing this type of transaction, or one of only a few in their lifetime. For some reason, agents assume that their clients know exactly what they (the agents) know. You need to understand that no matter what your production level, you are in the business of real estate, with all it’s market data and jargon, everyday. You’re buyers and sellers are plumbers and teachers and small business owners and CEO’s, etc. all with one thing in common: They don’t list and sell real estate for a living on a daily basis.
So, don’t assume they know how it all works, or that they know anything. Let them know the process, step by step. And, be in consistent communication with them. Plus, as I’ve stated in previous posts, while they’re under contract it’s a great time to ask for referrals.
But really, how would you feel if you were involved in perhaps the largest financial transaction of your life and the person in charge of it never talked to you for weeks at a time?
3. What do I say? – This is perhaps one of the biggest problems that agents face.
What the hell do I say to a seller who’s been on the market for 45 days with no offers? (reduce your price if you want it to sell!)
What on God’s green earth do I say to a buyer who’s gotten through all the contingencies and is simply waiting to settle in 4 weeks? (Everything’s been taken care of. Do you have any questions? We pretty much wait around to close for the next 30 days, however I’ll touch base with you each week to keep you in the loop. By the way, do you know of anyone else I can help move?)
What in the wide, wide, world of sports would I possibly have to say to a seller who just sold their house and moved two states away? (Did everything go okay with your new purchase? Anything left undone back here that I can help you with? Do you know of anyone else I can help move like you?)
What in the name of all that is holy do I say to a buyer who just bought a house two months ago? (How do you like your new home? Do you need any services like a contractor or landscaper that I can refer you to? Do you know anyone else I can help buy a new home?)
**Notice the theme of asking for referrals.
4. Bad news – Agents are afraid to talk to their clients, especially if they have bad news. No one wants to call a seller and tell them they don’t know why the home isn’t selling, or getting showings (actually you do know why, the house is over priced!).
You HAVE TO, HAVE TO, HAVE TO communicate with your sellers, especially when you have bad news. Your clear and honest communication will go a long, long way…much further than when you avoid them. Remember, once again, it’s not the commission you see, it’s the hundreds of thousands of lost dollars in commission you don’t see that you need to worry about.
First of all, have you ever heard of an Expired seller re-listing with the same agent? In our book, Now What Do I Say?, we offer you tons of objection handlers to still set the appointment if they tell you that’s what they plan to do. However, it is a common occurrence, right? That’s because that agent, competent or not, truthful about pricing or not, remained in communication with that seller. And even though they didn’t sell the home, the seller all but feels obligated, and definitely feels comfortable enough, to re-list with that agent.
Even if you can’t sell their home, they will likely re-list with you when the time comes, if you stay in communication and tell the truth. And they will refer business to you as a reward for your honesty and consistency. Yeah, it sucks if you couldn’t help them get their home sold, but does that mean you want to cut off all possible future business by not being in contact with them ever again because you’re afraid of giving them bad news (that, by the way, they already know about since no one’s made an offer)?
The key to building your business is consistent, clear, honest communication with your clients.