The (house)keys to being an accessible agent
Being available for clients gives you an edge
Success in real estate depends on one thing — accessibility. If your buyer wakes up in a cold sweat wondering if a house is right for them, they need to reach their agent first thing. If you are the most accessible agent locally, you’re going to be the most popular agent around.
Think about it this way: You’re a college professor teaching a class made up of would-be homeowners, and your job is to get them ready for the ultimate test: buying a home. Like any good professor, the first thing you will do is hand them a syllabus outlining the specifics of the homebuying process and everything they will learn from you throughout. After giving them this information at your meetings and showings, you wouldn’t just disappear. You would need to be available to answer their questions outside of class, as well.
The best thing to do would be to provide ways for your clients to get in touch with you right on that syllabus. Here are three things to include in a client information packet that will make you a cool real estate agent, not a regular one:
1. Your social media accounts
It is not enough just have Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts now. Young homebuyers prefer agents who use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – even Snapchat – to showcase listings. You must have a real and regular presence on these forums. If you want to reach millennial buyers — who are just starting to buy homes — you need to be on social media.
And social is for more than lead generation. You can stay up to date with real estate news and listings in your area through most platforms. On Twitter, you can retweet relevant things and reach out to buyers.
Follow your clients, and have them follow you; make sure to let them know beforehand what forms of communication you use the most, and ask them which ones work best for them, as well.
Remember, social media is about conversation. Always remember to check your profiles to see if clients are trying to reach you through social media. Conversocial is a tool that intelligently decides whether a tweet needs a response and even routes messages that are read as critical to a priority inbox.
If you use Hootsuite to keep up with all your social media accounts, for example, they offer solutions to read brand sentiment and track your mentions so you can see when there is a problem with customer service.
2. A way to download your personalized app
According to NAR’s profile of homebuyers and sellers, 50 percent of homebuyers are using apps to find listings. If you want to maximize your visibility to clients, what could be better than always being a fixture on their phones and in app stores?
In this age of mobile, it makes sense not only to have a user-friendly website, but also to offer clients a personalized app they can download and use to view your listings, as well as contact you.
When they are in the market and ready to buy a home, you are going to appear much more available than other agents in the area. Plus, it’s always cool to search your app in the app stores.
Consider reaching out to a real estate app creator who can build you an app branded to you — with your name and picture in it.
Instead of handing out your business cards, you could hand out your app and have a permanent place in their phone rather than in their wallet with a thousand other cards.
3. Your scheduled “office hours”
When homebuyers are just beginning the search process, they have a lot of questions. Making yourself accessible to these pre-buyers can help build a future relationship.
Keeping it to a schedule also helps you. By setting aside specific times to help pre-buyers, you can dedicate the rest of the time to clients further into the process.
Although you never want to turn down a phone call (even in the midst of a closing), having office hours means fewer interruptions. List your office hours clearly on your websites, social media and in your emails, and make sure to stay distraction-free during that time so you can focus on your clients’ needs.
Some great tools to eliminate distractions are Inbox Pause — a simple Google Chrome extension that puts a halt on incoming mail until you’re ready to get to it. Or you could try Simpleology, which allows you to temporarily block access to websites that usually obstruct your work, and it even offers a browser add-on where you can save all the thoughts and tasks that pop into your head and remind you of them the next day.
With these pieces all in place, you’ll find your client list growing while your stress level reduces. Use tools to make yourself as efficient as possible, too. This might seem like an unusual thing to consider, but if you’re spending all your time trying to reach a help desk, you aren’t available.
You need tools that work well and offer fast, easy-to-reach help when you need it. Choose to work only with B2B companies that build products for real estate agents who are as available to you as you are to your clients.
Consider how much it slows you down when these companies are inaccessible to you. Dump what isn’t working and find something else. It’s the golden rule of reciprocity; your tools and service should do unto you as you do unto your clients.
Nothing replaces the one-on-one relationship in real estate sales, and making yourself accessible is critical. Get out there and connect.
Note: This has been previously published on Inman.