With so many investors in today’s real estate industry, it is absolutely necessary to do something that will set you apart from the pack if you want to be successful. While there are a number of different niches an investor can pursue, competition is everywhere, and therefore it takes more than the bare minimum to be noticed.
Customer service in real estate is a subject that has been circling the industry for decades. However, many investors fail to implement quality customer service in their marketing strategies. In fact, the best investors live by one philosophy: real estate professionals are in the business of serving, not selling. If you keep this ideology in mind, you will blow your competition out of the water.
The Importance Of Customer Service In Real Estate
As an investor, or any business owner for that matter, it is important to first identify who your customers are. While it might not seem obvious at first, a real estate investor has far more customers than their immediate “clients” (i.e. the individuals they are buying from and selling to). Real estate investors serve contractors, lenders, and other investors just like they do their “normal clients.” Shouldn’t these individuals be considered “customers” as well? The answer is yes, and by implementing my real estate customer service tips, you can help your business excel.
Let us picture a scenario: two investors are rehabbing properties right next door to one another. Investor A goes through the normal process of what a rehab entails and his final product is beautiful. Investor B, on the other hand, follows the same steps as investor A, but also gets the neighborhood involved in the process along the way. Investor B visits the rehab site regularly to monitor its progress, but more importantly, to chat with locals in the area. Investor B asks members of the community their opinions on the materials and paint colors he is using, inquires about the area’s nightlife so that he can inform the future buyers, happily gives free advice to neighbors who are interested in real estate, and even brings coffee to the contractors working on the job. Investor B’s final product turns out just as beautiful as investor A, but when both properties go up for sale, which property do you think will sell faster?
While both investor A and investor B put the same amount of physical work into their respective property, it is far more likely that investor B’s property will sell sooner. Why? Because customer service in real estate greatly contributes to an investor’s word of mouth marketing campaign. Although the neighbors in the community and contractors working on the property weren’t technically investor B’s “customers,” he treated them like they were his top-paying clients, which will always pay off.
In today’s competitive real estate investing environment, clients choose to work with investors who provide quality service over those who are just looking to close a deal fast. Sellers, buyers, homeowners, contractors, and lenders want an investor who is knowledgeable, competent, transparent, and accessible. If you are willing to go the extra mile to make your client feel special, you are guaranteed to turn them into a lifelong customer; and a loyal customer is worth up to 10 times more than a first time customer. According to a study conducted by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, it is six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. In other words, don’t write off a clients after you’ve closed their deals, because you never know when they – or someone they give your name to – might need you again.
How To Use Customer Service In Real Estate As A Free Marketing Tool
If you want to generate more leads for free, it is time to ramp up your real estate customer service efforts.
Whoever says that customer service and marketing don’t go hand in hand, does not understand the basics of word of mouth marketing (WOMM). One of the best ways to get people interested in your business is through word of mouth marketing. If you can get people talking about the great experience they had working with you, your phone will start ringing off the hook. In fact, a Nielsen study found that 84% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services – making these recommendations the highest ranked source for trustworthiness.
The best part about word of mouth marketing is that it is completely free, as long as you implement the right customer service tactics. In this day and age, people have grown to expect poor quality service, meaning you can set yourself apart from the competition if you pledge to constantly improve your customer service. Use these three tips to better your customer service skills, (therefore growing your word of mouth marketing) and your business will reap the rewards:
Pay Attention: Sounds simple, right? However, you would be surprised how many business owners fail to see the importance in taking a step back to listen to their customers’ needs. The problem isn’t with the simple act of listening itself. Anyone has the ability to shut their mouth for a moment in order to hear someone speak, but only the best business owners actually comprehend what the customer is trying to say. Most people spend the moments they are supposed to be listening, trying to come up with a response, only to respond with an answer that doesn’t actually solve the customer’s problem. A lot can be said about a good listener, and a lot of time, energy, and frustration can be saved if one takes the time to pay attention to what his or her customer really wants.
Under Promise Over Deliver: Not much is better than being told that something will cost $50 only to find out it will actually end up being $30. The same goes with time: it is an ecstatic feeling when someone tells you that it will take 30 days to close a deal and it winds up only taking 25. However, nothing is worse than the opposite. If you want to keep your customers raving about you and your business for years to come, you should always under promise and over deliver. This is easy to do if you anticipate all potential problems that might occur with any deal, and tell your customer up front. As the transaction timeline continues, do everything you can to avoid those problems so that your customer feels like you went above and beyond just for them.
Smile: A little smile goes a long way in the world of customer service and word of mouth marketing, and it is something anyone can do. A client can sense sarcasm or a general lack of enthusiasm, even over the phone, so make sure you are genuine during any form of communication with a customer. If you are passionate about your work, that eagerness should transfer over easily when talking to a customer. As long as you don’t fake authenticity, your excitement should be contagious!
Remember, customer service in real estate is not about spending the most money on a marketing campaign, it is about connecting with clients – and anyone you have a working relationship with for that matter – on a personal level to make them feel like a friend, not a dollar sign.