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Building referral business

Vendors' top 3 pet peeves with real estate agents

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Vendors' top 3 pet peeves with real estate agents

Last year CoreLogic released a report on Consumer Perceptions of Real Estate Agents from the perspective of vendors, the first survey to specifically examine satisfaction levels of different vendors’ experiences with agents (download the full report here).

Of the 300 people surveyed, 31 per cent rated their experience as ‘excellent’ and a further 35 per cent rated theirs as ‘good’. Unsurprisingly, agents with strong communication, negotiation and customer service skills were most likely to be rated as ‘excellent’ by vendors.

We’re going to focus on the 20 per cent that rated their experience as ‘average’ and the 14 per cent that rated their encounter as ‘poor’ to see what specific behaviours or interactions drove these lower ratings and customer dissatisfaction.

The ratings and comments from less satisfied vendors can teach us some valuable lessons in regards to the most common mistakes agents are making and what can be done to improve them. Here are the surveyed vendors pet peeves when it came to their experiences with their real estate agents.

#1. Lack of data sharing & transparency.

Agents who set out to keep their vendors in the dark by showing them little or no data were the most likely to be rated as ‘poor’ or ‘disastrous’ experiences.

Shockingly only 54 per cent of agents showed their vendor recent comparable sales data, only 28 per cent of agents showed vendors time on the market info, only 55 per cent presented suburb market data (i.e. median prices and price growth) and just 11 per cent of agents talked about auction clearance rates.

These results are alarming seeing as the above information is essential for vendors to feel confident in making an informed decision and forming a realistic understanding of a fair sale price. In fact, when asked what they would do differently next time they were selling a number of vendors cited ‘more research’ as their priority.

This highlights the importance for agents to take the time to share information and explain the current market conditions to vendors using data-based insights, not just their own anecdotal experiences and opinions.

Really go out of your way to be open and transparent by explaining how you came up with the price estimate you did with the data on hand to back it up. Delight your vendors by guiding them through the property data with easy-to-understand graphs, charts and comparable recent sales info. Send them links to reputable property data sites that provide trustworthy and clear insights into the local market if they want to conduct further research of their own.

#2. Poor communication & unfulfilled promises.

The agent skills the survey identified as needing the most work were ‘providing regular feedback about progress’ and ‘keeping me up to date with what to expect’, with 13 per cent of agents rated as poor in these 2 categories respectively.

A vendor commented, ‘Agents need to communicate with the seller. Keep the seller continually informed with what’s going on and what needs to be done’. Several other vendors flagged communication as a key area in need of improvement also.

This highlights that communication, regular contact and follow ups are essential attributes of a great agent in vendors’ eyes.

One vendor reported, ‘Our agent offered to arrange storage to help us declutter, which we thought was a fantastic service. But then he didn’t deliver!’. We don’t think that agent will be getting a very good client testimonial or any return or referral business from that particular client.

It's of the utmost importance if you promise to do something that you follow through to develop trust and be seen as reliable by clients. If you promised to provide a status update straight after every inspection, make sure you follow through with that update straight after each open. If you said you’d email the client recent comparable sales tomorrow, make sure you email them comparable sales ASAP.

#3. No follow through.

Many vendors noted that once the contract was signed they felt as though they were unceremoniously dumped by their agent. While the vendors who had further contact with their agents were more likely to recommend them to friends, where 68 per cent of the respondents said they’d refer their agent to a friend.

It’s valuable to note that 36 per cent of the vendors surveyed said they based their choice of agent on the recommendation of a friend, the second highest influencer over agent choice, showing just how valuable word of mouth is for agents.

It’s so important in terms of customer satisfaction, return business and for building a stellar referral business to keep in touch with past clients even after the sale is complete. 

Remember, thoughtfulness and understanding goes a long way with clients. Consider sending a thank you card and gift at the conclusion of a sale to show your clients how much you valued their business.

One lucky vendor reported that her ‘agent organised a dinner voucher for my husband at a local restaurant while I was away during a weekend of inspections – I was touched by their thoughtfulness as it was a stressful time’.

The results of the survey reveal the three areas agents need to be mindful of for increased vendor satisfaction: greater transparency, open communication and following through after contracts are signed.

One particularly useful takeaway for agents from this research is that the more info agents shared with their vendor the more satisfied the vendor was likely to be with the end result and recommend that agent to others. So, greater data transparency is key to satisfied vendors and building a great referral network.

Happy selling!

From the homely.com.au Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Windsor real estate for sale and properties to rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about!

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If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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4 ways to stay in touch with past clients

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4 ways to stay in touch with past clients

Past clients are an often neglected and untapped business resource by a lot of agents. Depending on their stage in life, your former clients will probably be in need of the services of a real estate agent between two to five more times in their lives, and that’s being conservative especially if they’re investors or first time renters.

Unlike potential clients who have to go online to view your profile, performance stats and reviews, you already have existing relationships with your past clients and they already know firsthand how you work. If they had a positive experience with you initially it's not expensive or particularly time consuming to shore up their business again in the future.

The best agents have a thoughtful ongoing plan to foster their relationships with their past clients. So, consistently keeping up with previous clients should be a part of your goals and marketing plan that you set out every year.

It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t keep in touch with old clients just for the sake of being in touch. You’ll probably end up doing more harm than good if you send past clients spammy emails or flyers every other week just to remind them you’re there.

The key to keeping in touch and reaffirming your professional relationships is to make contact in valuable and meaningful ways with past clients. Here are four ‘value add’ ways to consider trying out. 

stock agent image

1. Touch base using referrals.

Receiving a referral from an old client gives you the perfect opportunity to reach out. As soon as a referral mentions a past client, you should call or send a message to the old client thanking them for the business.

During your call give your past client some valuable info and look for other opportunities for future contact. For example, if they’re interested update them about the market in their area and recently sold properties near them. Try asking open-ended questions about their house, family or job. If they mention they’re considering a renovation send them the details of a good builder or plumber that you know.

If the referral does eventually buy or sell through you, it can be a nice touch to send a small gift (think a bottle of wine, Gold Class vouchers or flowers) to show your appreciation to the referrer. Being as helpful, gracious and grateful as possible to clients who send you referrals will snowball and bring you more and more great referral leads down the line.

 2. Just listed and just sold updates.

Consider sending out your just listed and just sold postcards or emails to your past clients. If they had a good experience with you they will be happy to see that you're busy, active and successful in your marketplace. Don't forget to send these to past clients that have moved to a different neighbourhood. One day they may look to return or know someone considering a move to the area and send them your way. 

3. E-newsletters.

There are two considerations when putting together a e-newsletter for your past client mailing list:

1)    frequency

2)    content.

With an e-newsletter it’s so important to strike a good balance between delivering relevant and helpful content to clients and doing it at the right time. The max frequency for emailing past clients is about once a month and the minimum amount is quarterly. It’s really up to you and what is manageable and realistic in your situation.

In regards to the content you definitely want to steer clear of bragging about how many sales you’ve had and other pushy self promoting updates. Aim for three or four articles that are informative, locally based and give value to readers. For every email you go to send ask yourself ‘Would I find this helpful in my past client’s shoes?’ if the answer is no, don’t bother sending it.

Work on a quarterly market update with property stats and data for your area, record sales and bargain buys. People love reading about what their neighbour got for their place or how property prices have grown in their neighbourhood over the past three months. Given time if you consistently provide past clients with useful little nuggets of information, they’ll come to view you as their local real estate guru.    

4. Thoughtful gifts.

If all else fails, you can never go wrong with a card or small gift on the anniversary of someone’s home purchase or move in date as well as holiday cards. Better yet if you’re feeling generous, many past clients would appreciate the gesture and effort it takes to personally hand deliver a gift to their place. This may only be an option for a select few of your clients. Choose them carefully as not everyone will be in favour of an unannounced visit at home.     

It’s important to remember that not all of your old clients will want to stay in touch and that’s ok. Over time you’ll determine which methods work best for you, get a sense of which clients want to stay in touch and what strategies to use to suit the needs of each individual past client. Keeping past clients in the loop is a vital part of building up your referral business and long term success in real estate.

 

Happy selling!

From the Homely Team

 

About Homely:

Homely is a new way to search for real estate for sale and properties to rent in Brisbane and across Australia. With over 330K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, Homely is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our suburb reviews and Q&A pages to see what everyone is talking about!

 

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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