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The past year has been an extraordinarily busy time for real estate agents, which means added stress for both sales associates and their staff. It can be tough to give clients the attention they need during hectic seasons, but it’s essential to maintain good client-broker relationships and, ultimately, bring in more business.
I believe that one of the most important ways to show clients that you care is by communicating, even when you’re feeling under water. As one of the top brokers year after year in my state, I can truly say that communication is the key to my success as an agent. Here are a few ways I make sure to keep my clients in the loop throughout the selling process, no matter how busy the season.
Tailor your communication style to the client
The way you connect with friends and acquaintances varies from person to person, and the same holds true for how you relate to clients. In professional relationships, I prefer to ask people how they would like to be communicated with: some clients like frequent communication with a lot of details, while others would prefer you to take care of things for them. Meeting their communication style—whether that means sending a text, crafting an email, or reaching them by phone—allows you to engage in the way that works best for their lifestyle.
Relatedly, use check-ins to take the temperature of the relationship over time. It’s easy to make assumptions that everything is fine, but the only way to truly validate is to ask clients directly: how are they? What’s working well? What could use adjustment? Make sure there’s always someone following up on their comments, even if it’s only a quick response. This way, clients know you are always there for them.
Set reminders and hire the right staff
When things are busy, it’s important to have the right help behind you, as well as the right resources in place. My process is supported by scheduled reminders: I like using FollowUp Then, which generates reminders at whatever time or day you choose, however often you need. I also go on intuition a lot—if I’m thinking about someone, I pick up the phone to call them. Trust your gut to fill in the gaps.
When it comes to investing in clients, it’s crucial to invest in yourself and your business. I couldn’t do what I do alone: I have a lot of help, people to keep track of tasks and people helping me to manage sales. The busier it gets, the more sales we’re making, and it’s important to reinvest that money in ourselves. You can’t continue to go on and on with a much higher volume of sales without the additional help. Your staff is there to make calls to clients and supply updates, as needed.
During this difficult time, it’s important to be respectful to our colleagues as well—it makes the job easier for everyone. Add more people to your roster if it seems like they are getting stressed out; this is part of looking after yourself, because if your staff isn’t able to handle the workload, that will come back on you. Allowing yourself to hire the proper support is a form of stress relief, allowing you to be more creative and to be more productive. All of this pays forward to your clients.
When the conversation is hard, it’s worth having
When procrastination is tempting because of a difficult conversation ahead, that’s when you know it’s time to reach out to your clients. The most important time to communicate is when you don’t want to—when it’s hard—but it will also leave you less productive if you’re stressed out and bothered about a situation. It often works out better to deal with the stress head-on rather than spend your time worrying about it, and clients appreciate honesty.
Think outside the box when it comes to opportunities to connect
It’s an established best practice to maintain client relationships, even after a close, but there are many ways of going about stoking the fires. I will often go out for lunch or dinner to check in with clients a week or so after the closing to ensure that everything is going well for them. For longer-term relationships, hosting a yearly client party is a great way to say thank you—it brings people together and can encourage more business.
When you do a good job and communicate throughout the process, people remember. An update is an update: “I have no update” is still an update, and people will appreciate you staying in contact with them. Ultimately, showing you care takes a lot of dedication and a lot of time, but it’s worth it.
Darlene Streit has amassed a number of significant achievements throughout her decades of real estate experience. She has been the #1 broker in Santa Fe and New Mexico since 2010, and in 2020 closed more than $264 million in sales. She ranks 2nd among all Sotheby’s International Realty Individual Agents in the U.S. and was ranked 30th among all Individual Real Estate Professionals in the U.S. by Real Trends 2020. Darlene’s keys to success are commitment and communication.