One of the biggest complaints from home sellers is a lack of regular communication from their real estate agents. Believe it or not, some agents fail to stay in regular contact with their sellers once the listing contract is signed, leaving them to wonder how their homes are being marketed or what the agents are doing to sell their homes. If ever there was a formula for creating a dissatisfied client, this is it!
Of course, there is a solution: As motivational speaker and professional development trainer Brian Tracy says, “Communication is a skill that can be learned — like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”
With that advice in mind, there’s no time like the present to improve your communication IQ. Here are five resolutions you can adopt in 2015 that will ensure better communication with your sellers:
1. Plan regular communication
When you list a property, work with your sellers to develop a plan for how and when you will communicate with them. I have created a one-page sheet titled “It’s All About The Communication,” which includes fields where sellers can indicate how and when they’d like to be contacted. This sheet is the first page in my listing paperwork packet.
2. Make coaching calls
Your clients are looking for guidance and expertise. Therefore, when you plan your schedule, suggest a specific time each week to touch base about the progress of their home sale. Treat it like you would a coaching call.
For example, suggest that you will call them every Friday at noon and talk for 15 minutes. (Setting a time limit indicates that your time is valuable.) During that call, discuss any feedback from showings, marketing efforts, current market conditions and possible price adjustments. Position yourself as the expert.
3. Provide marketing updates
Keep your clients fully informed about the marketing activities you perform. There are many software programs and systems out there, but the easiest way to do this is to utilize the tools you already have. For instance, you can send your clients weekly reports about their listing traffic and statistics from Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com — and probably your MLS, too. In addition, send them an email every time you update any marketing task. Your client will appreciate that you are keeping them informed. When it comes to sellers, there is no such thing as too much communication.
4. Offer feedback from showings
Most sellers want to understand why a buyer did not make an offer on their home. I highly recommend that you reach out to agents of those buyers who visit the home and ask them to provide you with feedback from every showing. I also recommend that you share this feedback with your sellers by email or during your weekly coaching call. This feedback will help you position the home in the market, whether it’s by suggesting a price adjustment or making changes to the condition of the property.
5. Commit to the 30-day update
Let’s assume your client’s home doesn’t sell right away. Every 30 days, make a point to provide your client with a complete market update report. Invite them to your office or visit them at home. I believe this connection is crucial for a healthy business relationship. By doing this one thing, you will separate yourself from 95 percent of other agents. It takes time, but your clients will appreciate the thorough update, and this level of communication will help open more roads to discussion and negotiation. Your sellers will be more willing to adjust their selling price, if that is necessary, and you will build a stronger bond with them.
Real estate is a relationship business. Effective communication takes practice, but it is a valuable trait. If you truly embrace and master communication with your clients, it will improve your real estate relationships and your overall business.
Robert McTague is the team leader of CNY Agent Team of RealtyUSA in Syracuse NY, where he simplifies the process of buying and selling and offers assistance with marketing, coaching, and speaking.