Relationships are hard. They’re human and messy and involve emotions and accountability. No wonder then most agents would prefer to focus on the transaction.
But with technology now – finally – starting to free up agents and take away some of the busy work and backend administration, now more than ever it’s time to stop thinking only of our jobs in terms of hustle and grind and CGI. Yet so few are prepared to do it.
Why is that?
We know from the Perceptions research that just 31% of sellers, 22% of landlords and 14% each of buyers and tenants experience excellence in the hands of the agent they most recently dealt with.
Those numbers are far too low. They reveal an industry where the median is fixed firmly in the Average, which is the very danger zone that the robots, algorithms and apps will replace within the next three years.
At the INMAN CONNECT CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK, the value of relationships – and how to use technology to augment them rather than replace them – was a central theme.
Remember Who We Are Accountable To
BILLY EKOFO FROM LEADING REAL ESTATE COMPANIES OF THE WORLD said it was time to rethink our relationships with sellers and buyers.
“IF WE ARE GOING TO WEATHER STORMS IN OUR INDUSTRY, WE NEED TO THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT THE WAY WE RELATE TO EACH OTHER AND OUR CLIENTS,” EKOFO SAID.
“What anchors us in the industry is we are first trusted advisors before we are sales people.
“A shift in our market helps us to remember who we are and who we are accountable to. And we are accountable to our promises because our counsel is far more valuable than our sales figures.”
The high pressure agent more interested in his or her next listing than the needs of the client is currently the dominant story in real estate. It has been the story for a very long time. There is a rule in public relations that the best way to counter an existing story is to create a different one and offer that up. In real estate, we REALLY need to change the story of what we do to better reflect our value.
How do we do that?
Content marketing and social media consultant KATIE LANCE spoke of changing the focus of our businesses – away from talking about ourselves, and talking instead about our clients and how we serve them.
Posting About Your Listings Is A Turn-Off
“Ninety-one per cent of us check our mobiles every 6 to 12 minutes,” she said. “If every time your clients and potential clients see your posts are about a new listing or boasting about something you sold, they’re going to switch off.”
“Relationships are built with small interactions over the course of time and real estate is a relationship business,” Lance said. “People do business with people they know, like and trust – and relate to , so we need to deliver content that offers connection.”
According to Lance, finding a voice for your content is as simple as asking yourself:
- 1. Who do you love to work with? What’s your ideal seller look like?
- 2. Why do you love what you do? What’s the rush you get when you help someone realise the value of their biggest asset?
- 3. What’s most important to you? What keeps you showing up?
And then putting in place a content calendar across video, social media posts and blogs that are focused on elevating the stories of the people you have served.
“Property is an emotional and stressful process – even when everything goes right,” Lance said.
Tell The Story Of How You Help People
“Using the story of how you help people, who you’ve helped and how you handle common issues that come up from time to time can be very reassuring to buyers and sellers. They feel like they’re in good hands. It’s different to saying the “Hey look at me!” of traditional marketing.”
Lance said that when content is used to connect, agents attract more better quality business.
“Leads from great content are so much better,” she said. “Content that has a story and heart and meaning makes people connect to you. When they come to you, they’re ready to work with you – that’s the power of attraction.”
Want to know how to take your customer relationships to the next level?
Read this blog which outlines the three most important components of an effective customer retention program.