• It has never been more important to have experience on your side.
  • You need excellent communication not only with your clients, but also with other industry professionals, including the closing team.

There are plenty of trade secrets in the real estate industry, and everyone attached to a transaction can benefit when we share professional advice. As a lender, I have a few tips for real estate agents that can make the difference between a successful closing and a deal that falls through.

Here are five ways a deal can die and important steps that agents should take to avoid killing it:

1. Failure to put together a successful closing team

A successful closing team includes the buyer’s agent, listing agent, lender, insurance agent, title officer, inspector, appraiser, closing attorney, and possibly other individuals.

Experienced professionals are crucial to a successful closing, and with lending regulations changing due to the implementation of TRID, it has never been more important to have experience on your side.

Don’t go by word-of-mouth or big, flashy names when referring other professionals to your clients. Instead, go with partners you know and have worked with before — people in the industry who have a solid reputation for achieving results, and whom you can trust.

2. Failure to act with professionalism.

There are plenty of ways to sabotage your professionalism, starting with presenting an offer containing errors or discrepancies, not delivering earnest money on time, or failing to negotiate with diplomacy.

You should respect the listing agent and avoid approaching the seller directly — or worse, sharing negative speculation about the seller or the listing agent with your client.

Once an offer is accepted, don’t alienate the seller with a lot of nitpicky requests based on the inspection report. Instead, it’s your job to manage your client’s expectations appropriately.

3. Failure to maintain excellent communication.

Communication is the cornerstone of our industry. In today’s world of constant contact, there really isn’t any excuse for delays in replying to your clients’ needs and concerns.

Make a goal to responding to clients within a certain timeframe, especially if they have questions about time-sensitive processes or documents. And make sure they have several means of getting in touch with you — office phone, mobile phone, email or text message, to name just a few.

To streamline the closing process, you need excellent communication not only with your clients, but also with other industry professionals, including the closing team.

And don’t forget social media as a conduit to communicate with your clients and the general public. Which brings me to the next mistake you should strive to avoid …

4. Exercise care when managing your social media presence.

On the surface, a social media misstep might not seem that serious, but these days, your social media persona is almost as important as your face-to-face interactions with clients. Managing your online footprint professionally could make the difference between successful transactions and driving away prospective and even current clients.

From aggressive self-promotion to publishing inappropriate material to tactless commentary, there’s a laundry list of no-no’s.

Less egregious errors include supplying content at erratic intervals (update too often, and you risk overwhelming readers; too seldom, and visitors lose interest), not including images or video, and not diversifying your social media platforms.

Try to avoid coming off as impersonal, unapproachable or arrogant, and avoid using unoriginal content — or, even worse, plagiarizing another professional’s material. Keep your content fresh, and use analytics so that you can gauge the efficacy of your social media outlets.

5. Don’t fail to thank your client.

When the deal is done, don’t forget to thank your client for his or her business. Don’t make your thank-you gift about your brand; avoid anything with your logo splashed across it. Rather, if you’ve developed a relationship with your client and truly listened to his or her interests, you should be able to come up with a personal gift that shows consideration.

Thanking your client not only shows your appreciation, but also maintains your reputation.

If you’re a successful agent with multiple closings under your belt, you probably already practice all of the above guidelines. But if you’re new to the industry or you’re struggling to navigate a successful close, you might want to examine your business practices to see whether a few key changes might bring about a little more success.

Rick Scherer is the vice president of sales at MSA Mortgage.

Email Rick Scherer.

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