Real estate is an industry that gets more competitive with every passing year. Obtaining an agent's license is a speedy process in comparison to many similarly paying career paths, so there is generally a large influx of new agents entering the workforce at any given time. Given these facts, it's important to understand that while advertising is always a vital marketing tool, in our industry, word of mouth and client referrals are where most of our bread and butter are going to come in. So how do we make sure to provide the best real estate experience possible in a constantly fluctuating market? Well, we can start by avoiding these 5 big customer pet peeves!
1. Not being available. How can someone contact you to list their property or help them purchase a million dollar home if your phone always goes to voicemail? Chances are, if a potential customer tries to contact you and is unable to reach you, by the time you get to return the call they will already have found another agent. Don't let business walk out the door! If there seem to be a lot of times where you are not able to get to your phone, it may benefit you to look into hiring an office person so that you can forward your calls when you're busy helping another customer. It's vital to have a live human being to field those important client calls - nobody likes to talk to a machine.
2. Saying "I don't know." This is one of my biggest professional peeves. NEVER answer a question with those 3 dreaded words! Instead, say something along the lines of "That's a great question! Let me do just a bit of research on that and I will get right back to you with that answer!" Saying I don't know implies that you are not knowledgable, not just about the question being asked, but about how to find the answer. You want to make each and every customer feel as though they've made the best possible decision when they chose to conduct business with you. Present yourself as a well informed, eager agent who is willing to go above and beyond to answer every question with accuracy and honesty, and your reputation will grow by leaps and bounds.
3. Not being forthcoming. Look, sometimes deals fall apart. Sometimes inspections turn up hidden issues that not even the seller knew about, or the appraisal comes up short, or any number of other headaches that agents deal with on a (hopefully not too) regular basis. It's one of the worst parts of our job to have to be the bearer of bad news - but it IS a part of the job. Don't delay the inevitable. Don't drag it out and procrastinate making that tough call. Sit down and try to think of a way to put a positive spin on the bad news - maybe the buyer was having a hard time deciding betweeen this home and another, and now they can put an offer in on their other favorite! But even if there's no silver lining, it's our responsibility to pick up that phone or drive to that client meeting and present the facts for good or ill to the best of our ability.
4. Acting disinterested or disrespectful. Not everyone can afford a multi-million dollar home. Perhaps the clients you're going to meet have scraped and saved for years to afford this $75,000 house that they will cherish, and there's nothing left to get those squeaky wheel bearings replaced in the car, so they drive up loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear. It doesn't matter. Every single customer that you come into contact with throughout the course of your day deserves to be treated with dignity, interest, and respect. Some clients ARE frustrating - some folks refuse to believe that the things on their list of wants may not necessarily be in their current budget, and it can be difficult to refrain from rolling your eyes when you explain for the 3rd time that homes built 30 years ago generally don't come equipped with Jacuzzi tubs. Regardless, be patient, kind, and respectful!
5. Over or under selling. As I stated above, it's of vital importance that we as agents give the facts and ONLY the facts. Not only is it illegal to withhold information to make a sale, it's unethical. And keep in mind that there is a fine line between simply omitting facts and outright lying. You can choose where you want to toe that particular line, but in my opinion it's better to err on the side of caution and possibly lose a sale than it is to not provide certain information and have an irate buyer a month down the road. The same is true for over-selling - just don't do it. Give your customers the black and white, nuts and bolts information they need to have - they'll thank you and respect you for your honesty when they buy or sell their home quickly and efficiently!
As with all areas of life, both business and personal, it pays to be empathetic, compassionate, and above all honest. If you prioritize those values above the size of your paycheck, you'll see your referral base, your reputation, AND your bank account grow exponentially!