Some real estate clients are predisposed toward using an agent — perhaps they heard about a great experience that a neighbor, co-worker or family member had, or maybe they have limited time to spend on a do-it-yourself transactions. That’s awesome news for you as a real estate agent! So how did the “bird in hand” who contacted you for help buying or selling a home end up hiring another agent?
Let’s examine six reasons why you may have lost that real estate client — and what to do about it going forward.
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1. You have high commission rates and offer low value. This is a sensitive topic for agents — because our pay, unlike that of most other service professionals, is constantly scrutinized and subjected to the worst kind of haggling. The problem is that after we have shown ourselves to be negotiating ninjas when it comes to our own rate, we do not offer a commensurate level of value and service for our fees.
Hopefully, you have never been guilty of simply being a paper-pusher or chauffeur instead of a trusted real estate adviser who offers timely insight into market values and trends. That is what you are hired to be, whether you are working with a new buyer or an experienced home seller. If you have been guilty of this, though, there is help! Interact on sites like RESAAS.com (The Real Estate Social Network), and subscribe to real estate news services and your local board of Realtors’ market updates so that you can stay in-the-know. Repurpose what you learn and share the information with your clients to give them a well-rounded view of today’s market and its fluctuations.
2. You have too many clients. Your marketing is paying off! You have so many clients that you cannot keep up. What a good problem to have, right?
Wrong! Client overload can turn into a inadvertent downward spiral for your business because by taking on more clients than you can actually handle, your existing clients will feel that their needs are not being given the attention that is warranted — especially if you are missing deadlines and sluggishly returning calls, emails or text messages. Clients who can’t communicate with you become frustrated clients, who turn into unhappy clients, and some might even become “madvocates,” people who throw mud on your good name. And we all know that bad news and reviews travel faster than good ones! You just shot yourself in your “marketing” foot — ouch!
Instead of tackling too many clients, work on growing your business team. Typically, by the time you’re conducting 25 to 30 transactions a year, you should move from being a solo agent to adding others to help you manage your clientele and to continue to grow. For more tips on whether you need to explore starting a team, check out these considerations.
3. You have double the agents — and double the frustration. Maybe you do manage a lot of clients — but you have a team, and you still didn’t get the sale. So what happened? Stop and think about this: Do you have a team, or are you just co-marketing with another agent? Are your activities cohesive and enriching for your clients, or is the right hand not talking to the left hand?
When your clients talk to you, they might be hearing a different story about the process than when speaking with another agent or assistant. Or perhaps your clients are not given a warm and fuzzy introduction to the entire team — they meet you and warm up to you, but suddenly you are out of the picture, and they are dealing with someone they don’t know as well.
4. Liar, liar. Have you ever omitted a fact or embellished too freely when meeting with a potential client? If so, there may lie why you lost the sale. In today’s information age, most real estate sellers and buyers can access further details about what you tell them in a matter of seconds. You may have seen this work in your favor when one of your happy clients tells you that they Googled something you mentioned, and they found you to be right. Well, that also works in reverse, and the prospect might not have told you that what you said in jest was a deal-killer. You may have been trying to lighten the mood, but instead you appeared to be a slimy cliche who hides relevant details. So what can you do?
If you are like me, you may like to break the tension of meeting someone new with comedy — but the rule of thumb is to always clarify and specify when you are joking or using hyperbole, then follow up with the astute business answer that the client can take to the bank.
5. You give off a “hungry eyes” vibe. Can prospective buyers and sellers see and smell your need to close a deal? Then it’s time to develop a servant’s heart. When we become passionate about solving someone else’s problems, the money will follow. Likewise, when we are passionate about helping home sellers sell in an up-and-down market, or buyers locate great finds for their next season of life, the commissions will come. Reflect on how you can best serve prospective clients based on your local market and desired niche.
6. Your website looks like it is from 1999. When you put on your consumer hat, I am sure you have found it easier in some instances to jump on someone’s website to check out services or products offered before making the first contact. If the website had outdated information and was hard to navigate, you may have abruptly said, “Next!” and then moved on to another business that had a more relevant and user-friendly website.
If your website is hard to navigate, has outdated listings or does not offer the basics that real estate buyers and sellers want to see (like prequalification information, a comparative market analysis section and a listing widget), then fix it — fast! Whether or not you are a do-it-yourselfer, WordPress is a great platform to start with, and you can hire contractors to build it out for you.
Hopefully, this short list will make an impact the next time you meet with a prospective buyer or seller. Let me know how it goes by posting a comment below and what other tips you use to convert prospects to clients.
Lee Davenport is a licensed real estate broker and the owner of Agents Around Atlanta Plus.