How Real Estate Agents Can Improve Client Engagement
Real estate agents are a lot like salespeople. You have to know your product, be able to explain it in terms your clients can understand, listen carefully to what they want and need, and keep them coming back for more.
But unlike a salesperson who has one or two products or services to sell at any given time, real estate agents typically have many homes or condos for sale on their books at any given time.
The tricky part about the industry is most client relationships are short-term. There is a constant grind of finding new clients. That is, in residential real estate, most agent-client relationships last only for one or two transactions — buying a home, selling a home, or buying and selling a home.
This churn nature of the industry is what makes it so important for real estate agents to constantly be seeking new clients. The key, of course, is to be in the right place at the right time — when a potential client is ready to buy and/or sell a home. But the challenge is that even if you put yourself in that situation, the competition is likely to be very high among other real estate agents to land that client.
That’s why it’s important that you do everything in your power as an agent to improve client engagement and make sure that both you and the client are happy with how things turned out later down the road when the next transaction comes around again.
Nowadays, it’s easy for people to go online and quickly get a list of real estate agents in their area. So, how can real estate agents stand out among their competition and improve their engagement with potential clients?
Here are eleven tips to build client engagement with both sellers and buyers.
1. Start with a great website
Clients should know exactly what to expect when they visit your website. Your website should be professional and clean-looking but not overly fancy. The most effective websites are those that have a clear call to action for the user and include testimonials from happy clients.
It’s also important that you use social media icons so people can easily share information about their experiences with others. To make things simple, we recommend ensuring your contact form is fully functional on mobile devices and desktop computers.
Finally, make sure to offer up links to all of the local real estate agents you work with so people can get in touch with them directly if they want more options or are looking for specific services like mortgage brokers or inspectors.
2. Invest in great photos
Professional headshots are the first thing potential clients will see when they look at your listings. If they don’t look good, you don’t get a chance to make a great first impression.
The best way to ensure your photos are top quality is to hire an experienced professional photographer who knows how to take high-resolution, professional images of properties in their best light.
It doesn’t matter if you have an expensive camera or can take great pictures yourself; if the pictures aren’t crisp and clear, it’s hard for them to be effective.
3. Always be listening
Listening is a skill that takes practice, but it’s a crucial one for real estate agents to develop.
Listening is more important than talking. It’s easy to get caught up in our own agendas and forget about what the client wants and needs. The best way to avoid this is by ensuring that you understand what your clients are asking for before moving forward with any plan or recommendation you may have.
When listening well, remember that you can’t always trust what the person sitting across from you says—they might be saying something different than what they really mean!
You have to watch body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, and other nonverbal cues for hints about how someone actually feels about something happening around them at any given moment (and even then, sometimes, people will surprise us!).
4. Give value up front
The most important thing you can do is to understand your client’s needs. Ask them questions about their goals and objectives and ensure you clearly understand what they want from the transaction.
The best way to do this is by taking the time to talk with your clients in person, but phone conversations are also an option (if you don’t live near each other). Some additional tools for gathering information include:
- Your website – use it as a resource for gaining insight into what clients really want out of their home buying or selling experience; it should be able to provide answers before they even ask them. You can also use any online reviews or testimonials that have been left by previous clients on your site as another way of communicating value upfront.
- Social media – surveys are very effective here because they allow people who aren’t necessarily looking for a property at the moment or who may not consider themselves qualified prospects (elderly couples, singles without children) to tell you exactly what their needs are right now so when they do become ready later down the road there will be no surprises!
5. Establish solid relationships with current clients
Real estate is all about relationships. That’s why it’s so important for real estate agents to make a good impression on their current clients. Doing so will not only help you complete the buying and/or selling or your current clients’ homes; it will help establish a good referral network, too.
If you make a good impression on your current clients, it’s likely they will recommend you to their friends, family members, and other members of their personal and professional network. Your current and past clients can serve as some of the best advocates and lead generators for you because they will have a direct experience with you.
The key to doing this, though, isn’t just finding your clients a good deal when they’re buying a home or selling their home for top dollar. It’s also about treating each as if they’re your one and only client. People love it when they feel they are your top priority when you make it seem you’ll drop everything to answer their call, respond to their emails, and be proactive about their needs.
The marketing shouldn’t stop when the transactional relationship ends, though. Most real estate agents will give their clients a generic gift when the sale and/or home purchase is completed. Take this a step further by throwing your clients a housewarming party at their new home or creating a guide for the top things to do in their new neighborhood.
- Keep in touch between transactions. If you have a great relationship with your client and they enjoyed working with you on selling their last home, don’t assume that just because there are no more transactions coming down the pipe at the moment, all is lost! Stay in touch with them anyway – even if it’s just occasional phone calls or texts to check in, as well as sharing articles about new developments in real estate (especially if those developments are happening locally). This way, when an opportunity does arise again for them to buy or sell a property, they’ll remember who helped them out before and come back for more help from you!
- Offer incentives for staying engaged. One great way agents can do this is by offering a special incentive based on how long clients stay engaged with them after a transaction has been completed – maybe something along the lines of “if our current client stays engaged until October, then I’ll give him/her $150 off my next commission.” Another good idea would be offering discounts on certain services like staging consultations (which tend to help sellers get more money from their homes) or mortgage pre-approvals (which help buyers avoid getting stuck paying too much later down the road).
- Follow up after the close of escrow. Thank the client for their business by sending a hand-written note or email. Remind them what you did to help them find their new home, and ask if they are happy with it. Ask if they would recommend you to others, and let them know that you would be honored by their recommendation. Also ask if they’d like to be included in your referral program; this way, every time someone refers a friend who purchases a home using your services, both of you will receive a bonus!
6. Become a member of the community
How homes are bought and sold and to who they are bought and sold have a huge impact on the community. That’s why one of the best ways for a real estate agent to improve engagement with potential clients is to establish a foothold in the local area.
In addition to direct advertising through traditional means, real estate agents should establish connections in the community in more indirect ways. This could include:
- Joining the local business association and networking with other lenders in the community
- Hosting charity drives and/or other fundraisers for local nonprofits
- Sponsoring a local youth sports team or league
- Manning a booth at local festivals and other community events
Real estate agents can use these tactic to brand themselves in a non-direct way to the local community.
7. Market yourself in unconventional ways
Real estate agents are very familiar with the traditional methods of advertising. Who hasn’t seen billboards, signs on buses and park benches, and advertisements in newspapers and on TV stations touting someone as “the most trusted real estate agent” in the region? While these are all effective ways to get the word out, it’s essential you market yourself in what were once unconventional methods.
Instead of highlighting claims that you are the most trustworthy real estate agent, that you give your clients the most attention, or list your most recently sold homes, try branding yourself as an expert with content marketing. This is an effective tool to brand yourself in a non-direct way by establishing yourself as an expert in the field.
This could include creating an email newsletter where you write weekly blogs that include tips on things related to real estate that do not directly tout your skills as an agent. Examples of this could include:
- Tips on how to decorate your home for the holidays
- Ways to brighten up your living room
- How to set up a nursery
- Creative ideas for tackling a DIY backyard project
You could also delve into topics more directly related to buying and/or selling homes, such as:
- How staging your home could return top dollar
- How local comps affect the selling price of a home
- How to set yourself apart from other buyers with creative mortgage programs
- How to increase the curb appeal of your home
- The top 10 tips for finding a great deal when buying a home
Creative content is a great way to increase engagement with potential clients through soft marketing tactics.
8. Create highly-targeted digital advertising campaigns
The top research tools for buyers and sellers are online real estates sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Redfin. This is where most people will initially go to find homes they’d like to purchase, do research on a town, and see what other homes in their neighborhood are selling for.
This provides a wonderful opportunity to engage with people who would be considered strong leads. Today, there are a plethora of digital marketing options. Not only can you purchase display advertising on popular real estate websites and on the Google advertising network, you can also:
- Create remarketing campaigns that target people who browsed real estate listings in the past
- Set up automatic lead generation and response programs on social media
- Create a white paper on the top tips for finding a home online and use it to collect email addresses for a weekly newsletter
In addition, you could partner with a local lender to share the cost of this online marketing and establish a referral network simultaneously.
9. Use social media to deliver value and respond quickly to messages and comments
You can use social media to engage with your clients and build relationships with them. You should also use it to deliver value, which is the most important thing you can do on social media.
For example, if a potential client sends you an inquiry on LinkedIn or Facebook, respond within 24 hours and ask how you can help them. If they aren’t ready to purchase a home quite yet but want more information about the area where they want to live, send them some articles that provide more insight into the topic at hand (such as “7 Things You Need To Know About Moving To Rhode Island”).
In this case, providing value doesn’t require any extra work on your part—all it takes is sending out an email!
It’s also important for real estate agents to use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram for outreach purposes: if someone follows one of these pages but hasn’t expressed interest in real estate yet, reach out anyway!
The goal here is not only to get new clients but also to build relationships with people who may eventually become customers down the road.
10. Make all engagements personalized
Personalizing your engagement with clients is a key way to create a connection. You can do this in many ways, such as:
- Using the client’s name in your email
- Asking how they are doing and what they think of recent posts on your blog
- Asking how their family is doing and how their kids are doing
11. Establish a relationship with a mortgage company
One of the most effective ways for a real estate agent to increase engagement with potential clients is to establish a good relationship with a trusted mortgage company. Doing so can significantly increase your sales pipeline and serve as a mutually beneficial business relationship.
Most buyers will finance the purchase of their home and will therefore require the services of both a real estate agent (to find them a home to purchase) and a mortgage professional (to finance the purchase of the home). Establishing a solid relationship with a trusted local mortgage professional will be another way to add more leads to your pipeline.
When buyers go to qualify for a home loan, their mortgage professional can refer them to you as a top real estate agent. Conversely, if buyers seek you out first to serve as their real estate agent, you can refer them to this mortgage professional if they haven’t already decided on a financing company.
The key is establishing a solid relationship with a trusted mortgage company that will take care of your potential clients, as they will serve as third-party representatives of your brand as well.
At Embrace Home Loans, not only do we have more than 35 years of experience, but we set ourselves apart by taking care of our clients personally and educating them about the best mortgage options available to them.
Contact us today at 888.907.6261 to find a local mortgage professional near you.
The bottom line on increasing client engagement
As a real estate agent, it’s your job to create happy clients who come back to you again and again. That means spending time to make sure your clients are engaged with you, their home buying or selling process, and the community around them.
Making sure that happens doesn’t require special skills—just a little effort on your part. The more connected people are, the better they feel about their lives and the more likely they’ll be able to accomplish their goals.
So as an agent, it’s important for you too!