88% of home buyers used an agent, according to the 2014 survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). How these buyers found their agent may surprise you, and it may well help you focus your marketing and customer nurture efforts.
12% of Buyers Used an Agent They Had Used Before
This is a very surprising result, considering that two-thirds of home buyers surveyed were repeat buyers. Although 88% said they would use their agent again, the reality shows otherwise. It may simply have to do with the time gap – the typical first time buyer is 31, compared to 53 for a repeat buyer.
Obviously, waiting 20 years to service someone again is not a super productive strategy for your business. This is a quite different idea for many agents, who keep in close contact with recent clients hoping for more business. While I think that recent client nurture is important, it’s best to keep it focused on referrals of that client’s family and friends, because many more home buyers find their agents in that way.
40% of Buyers Chose an Agent Recommended by Family or Friends
Now we’re hitting pay dirt! We all know that referrals are key to our business, but few of us know the numbers that prove it. Referrals are significantly cheaper than cold new business, both in terms of time and money spent. They also tend to trust you more quickly, because someone they respect has had a good experience with you in the past.
Consistently asking for referrals may make you worry that you’re bothering or annoying your recent clients. Instead, try sharing content about your new listings or about a specific neighborhood, and ask you recent clients to share these updates with their own friends and family. You can help them become an advocate for you in their natural day to day activities, as well as asking them directly – on occasion – for referrals.
48% of Buyers Chose an Agent “Cold”
It really surprised me that “cold” leads were the largest category for buyer’s agents. I think it probably surprises you too! As agents, we don’t expect to get much for our farming efforts, cold calls, and email marketing. Surprise, surprise – these efforts are actually your bread and butter!
Interestingly, most buyers don’t spend a lot of time interviewing different agents. Two-thirds of buyers only interviewed one agent before choosing to work with them. This means that your initial meeting and presentation are extremely important. People don’t want to do a lot of hunting – give them what they’re looking for first, and they’ll hire you on the spot!
Because your largest percentage of buyer leads comes from your cold outreach – farming, social media, email marketing, in-person encounters, and more – this should be the primary focus of your time and energy in marketing. A close second is nurturing your referral network, by keeping in touch with your circle of influence and recent clients. As for hoping your recent client will call you up for their next deal? Unless they’re an investor, don’t hold your breath. Your energy and time are better spent elsewhere.
Did any of these statistics surprise you? Share in the comments!