Referrals come from clients who’ve had a good experience with you. And what’s the secret sauce to a seamless homebuying or selling process? Having detailed, organized systems in place that guide your customers through it all, step by step.

Real estate can be a difficult business, especially for newer agents. With no shortage of agents in a saturated market, it can be difficult to find ways to stand out amongst your peers.

Andrew Valdez Johnston

Andrew Valdez Johnston, a Realtor with Hulett And Associates Inc., can speak to this and the state of the industry as well. Fairly new to the business, Valdez Johnston has implemented tactics to help him build his business and gain the respect and trust of his clients by creating a system that helps his clients through the buying and selling process with more simplicity.

Having an organized, systematic approach to real estate ensures that your clients understand all the steps they’ll move through, from listing a house to signing the closing papers.

The number of details involved in a transaction seems endless for the average buyer or seller, who may have never purchased a home before. They count on their agent to keep them on track, and when the agent clearly outlines what they need to do, everyone benefits.

“Many people who are interested in becoming involved in a real estate transaction, whether it is first-time homebuyers, sellers or investors, don’t always know what they’re getting into,” Valdez Johnston said. To solve that problem, he has developed extensive information packets for his clients.

The handout he gives sellers includes everything from tips on how to clean your home before viewings to detailed statistics about why he promotes the property on social media. (He’s on the money about social media; the National Association of Realtors reports that 97 percent of all homebuyers use the internet to search for a home.)

Valdez Johnston’s handouts provide a template for other real estate professionals who want to provide detailed instructions on how to move through the entire buying or selling funnel. Here are a few key takeaways from his organized approach to handling clients.

Keep the instructions easy to follow

Valdez Johnston breaks down what sellers should do to improve their listing’s prospects into checklists, such as a bullet list of interior and exterior cleaning tasks. Similarly, the buyer’s guide has actionable tips on how to make an offer on a house and a home inspection checklist.

Detailed, professional-looking booklets and brochures make an agent stand out in a crowded field. They indicate to potential clients that the agent knows the business and can be a trusted guide and partner.

There’s another benefit to providing checklists, too. When the client understands what needs to be done and in what order, it’s easier for the agent to stay on task. There’s less need to go back and retrace missed steps or to remind clients to do something. That results in a smoother process and happier clients.

Choose the right format for information

Written materials are valuable because clients can refer back to them if they need to refresh their memory about something. Booklets and brochures can also provide a depth of detail agents might hesitate to deliver in a lengthy monologue.

Presenting the specifics in writing saves the agent time explaining the nitty-gritty of various transactions, but smart agents still spend that time getting to know their clients. Use the time that’s freed up to build rapport with clients and determine their needs.

Be client-focused

Realtors who provide easy-to-follow, professional-looking printed information and engage their buyers and sellers show clients that they are reliable experts. Client-focused Realtors convey that they genuinely care about their buyers and sellers and do their utmost to provide the exceptional service the client deserves.

Valdez Johnston uses the term “white-glove service” to describe his efforts to reduce the stress of real estate transactions. Creating shareable resources and repeatable systems is an efficient way to prepare buyers and sellers for what’s to come, he said.

Developing systems to ensure a good client experience isn’t just branding. It’s essential to anyone’s real estate career because a good experience leads to repeat business and referrals.

NAR reports that, on average, agents get 15 percent of their business from repeat clients. In addition, they get another 19 percent through referrals from previous customers. In other words, fully one-third of an agent’s business results from customers who had a good experience.

The other two-thirds of an agent’s business comes from new clients. Having detailed, organized systems in place to guide those new clients through the process results in a virtuous circle of providing good client experiences that lead to more repeat customers, higher referral rates and a better income.

Victoria Kennedy is CEO of Atman Real Estate. Connect with her via email.

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