The unique challenge for the real estate industry today is how to sustain the business despite the current health crisis. From conversations with top experts in the field, featured in previous Lamudi webinars, everyone agrees: digital is the way to go. This is essentially what the previous Lamudi Academy sessions focused on. In the fourth installment of the series, Training and Development Coach Nadine Pacis tackled how to create valuable online conversations with clients.
Remember, your clients are your long-time partners in the business. Property decisions aren’t made overnight. In fact, you know well that it could take one to six months for a client to be resolved in their investment choices. This is why the heart of every real estate business is relationships. It’s key to retaining clients, getting referrals, and ultimately, growing the venture further.
With that, make every conversation with your client count. Here are some of the ways you can do that, as highlighted in the latest Lamudi Academy session:
Ask Clients, “How May I Help You?”
The best way to cater to clients during this time and create valuable conversation is to address their needs. Fortunately, this is as easy as taking initiative and getting feedback from them. Here are some of the methods you can use:
- Crowdsourcing. Publish a social media post asking your clients what they want to know or need help in. Or, review your previous posts and see if there are common concerns in the comments section.
- Direct questions. Send clients a direct message asking what their biggest concerns are right now. Take note that some may have suggestions as to how you can help them. Be open to these insights and consider them in your plans later.
- Survey forms. To reach a massive audience, you can make a questionnaire or feedback form using tools such as Google Forms. While you can send this anytime, it’s good practice to do it after a meeting or presentation. This will help improve your plans of action.
- Research. Your clients may already be talking online, perhaps just not on your platform. Visit websites, such as Quora, a question-and-answer website, or check out social media groups or pages to see what clients and potential clients would like to know about.
Ask Yourself, “What Can I Offer?”
After knowing what your clients’ needs are, it’s time to move to the next step, which is to determine how you can help them. In a nutshell, you have three things to offer to your market:
- Information. Collect information from reliable sources that address your client’s concern. If they’re worried about cash flow, direct them to news updates about government assistance programs. If they’re anxious over their mortgage fees, send them a copy of their bank’s announcement on moratorium on payments. One good practice for this is to prepare a digital info pack or an FAQ file that contains all the commonly asked information of your clients. With this, you can easily pull up data you need for specific audiences.
- Solutions. Some concerns would necessitate specific action plans. While you can go on creating that strategy, it’s better if you work on it with the client. Discuss the solution over a sit-down online meeting. But of course, don’t come empty-handed: prepare a step-by-step process to facilitate the conversation. Be ready with different plans addressing different scenarios, too. But at the end of the day, be open to what your client will raise as a solution. Remember, investments are very personal; your clients will likely be hands-on in this aspect.
- Referrals. A lot of brokers are wary about connecting clients to other real estate professionals for the obvious reason that they might lose business. But the thing is, in a highly-connected world, it’s not far-fetched for a client to jump from one agent to another. That said, instead of pushing away the idea of connections, embrace it. Let your clients use your network.
In times that you can’t provide information or solutions, refer them to someone in your network that can. To dispel worries about losing business, initiate a meeting involving you, your colleague, and your client. Be the bridge in the relationship.
Ask Yourself, “How Do I Set It All Up?”
To communicate effectively with your clients, you need tools. Remember that specific tools serve specific purposes. In the same way that you want to set up a physical meeting in a nice, quiet coffee shop or restaurant, you should initiate conversations in the right online environment. Take note, there are three platforms you can use for your communications:
- Social media (Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn). It’s specifically designed to stir up conversations with a large group of audience. It’s not only for one person, but your entire social media fanbase. That said, this is where information comes in (not solutions or referrals). Think of this as your platform for lead generation and client retention. Try on different media for this technology. Go beyond simple statuses or photos. Post quick tips on Stories. Organize a webinar over live streaming. Use a photo album for FAQs and videos for tutorials.
- Video conference (Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype). Unlike social media, this platform is for a select group of clients, and for holding more extensive, in-depth conversations on solutions and action plans. Keep in mind that your client may not be familiar with the tool you’re using, so it’s best to send them a guide prior to the meeting. There may also be tech issues, such as poor internet connection. Be prepared with your information packet, in case your client raises other concerns.
- Online messaging apps (Messenger, Viber, Telegram, WhatsApp). This platform is good for sharing information and confirming meetings with clients. It’s not ideal for discussing extensive solutions, as the conversations here should be short. When communicating in these tools, be personable but professional. Don’t be robotic. But don’t be too laid-back in tone either.
Ask, “What’s Next?”
After the three steps mentioned, the next thing you should do is to follow through. Make sure that your client is satisfied with the service you provided. Here are some tactics to follow in this aspect:
- Go back to them and ask for feedback. Again, you can do this via a survey form or a quick direct message.
- Let them know if there are any updates on their concern. They will appreciate you remembering and reaching out to them.
- Explore what else you can do to address needs. It’s likely that they’ll forget some concerns during your online meeting, so you want to go back to them and ask them.
Bringing It Together
To wrap things up, here’s a sample scenario taking you through all the steps mentioned above:
- The first email to the client John (box on the left) is prompted by the broker’s initiative to reach out. It’s important to be proactive in communicating with clients.
- It opened with sending well wishes to the client and the family. It’s important to be sensitive to the health crisis situation.
- The phrase “understandably, this may not be your priority at the moment” once again conveys sensitivity to the situation. It’s important to avoid hard-selling during this time.
- The first email ended with a closing that doesn’t demand anything. Your clients are busy with a lot of things, remember.
- The second email suggested an online meeting to further discuss the client’s concern.
- The broker provides all the information the client needs: photos of the properties, Google map to show location, and relevant news about the current crisis. The last one is important as it gives the client a good grasp of the state of affairs and they will have an informed decision in the end.
- Since it’s an extensive discussion of solutions, the broker sets up an online meeting through a video conferencing tool, Zoom. The invitation link to the meeting is sent to the client, with complete details, such as topic, date and time, and meeting password.
- The broker follows up the meeting with an email giving more information about the properties discussed at the video conference. The last part of the email is crucial as it mentions the next step, which is the tour of properties. It’s important to relay the next action point to guide the client.
Valuable conversations with property seekers are important now more than ever. To make this happen, listen to your client’s concerns, take note of what you can offer, and maximize the right platform.
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