Communication is critical in any business relationship, particularly so in real estate. Agents are expected to share information quickly, simplify the complex, present well, network, and negotiate. Communication skills are vital to an agent’s success.
Client communication should be a priority, yet poor communication is the most common complaint home buyers and sellers have about their agents. There is a disconnect between the level of service agents believe they deliver and what their clients are experiencing.
How confident are you that you are communicating well?
So Many Questions
The primary way to gather and share information is by asking and answering questions.
- Ask questions – Don’t assume you understand your client’s goals, stresses, and motivations. Ask open-ended questions to determine what they need and how you can help. Listen and take the time to repeat back what they have said to confirm your understanding is correct. It won’t be possible for you to represent your client’s interests if you misunderstand their interests
If a client has purchased or sold a home in the past, ask about that experience. You will get a sense of what they expect from you by what they share about working with a different agent.
- Answer Questions – Remind yourself that a process that is familiar to you will likely be unfamiliar to your clients. Be clear and honest when answering questions. Some clients will need extra information or extra reassurance, which will require you to have extra patience.
If you sense confusion, even after answering a question, offer to follow up your verbal response with a written response. The clients who will benefit from an additional explanation will appreciate your offering before they have to ask.
- Anticipate Questions – Pay attention to the questions you get often, and make an effort to provide the information proactively. Addressing questions before a potential client asks is an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise.
Information that is inconsequential to you may be very important to your client. If you are going to make a mistake, let the mistake be that you over-communicated about the process and what to expect next.
It isn’t easy to stay in front of repetitive but necessary communication. Have you considered an automation tool? The right system will help you save time and help you communicate better.
The method you use to deliver your message, how frequently you provide updates, and how much detail you share will not be the same for every client. When you begin working with a new client, ask for their preferences directly and then communicate with your client the way they have said works best for them.
Keep in mind that how often a client would like to hear from you may change throughout the process, so revisit their preferences and be willing to adapt.
Being a great communicator doesn’t require you to be available at all times, but it does require you to be clear about your availability. Make sure your out-of-office messaging is clear when you are unavailable, and when possible, communicate in advance about any limited availability or scheduled time off.
If you typically stop answering your phone or responding to emails after a specific time of day, explain that to your clients. Be honest about your schedule, how you manage your time, and why the structure has allowed you to be successful. None of this means you aren’t willing to adapt or work outside your typical schedule when necessary, but it is important to set a standard.
Many agents are competing to win your prospective client’s business. Set yourself apart by improving communication. This will create a better experience for your clients, resulting in better reviews, more referrals, and valuable long-term relationships.
If proactive client communication is an area you struggle with, sGrow CRM can help. Go here to try it for free.