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    The various nuances of marketing — open rates, conversions, sell-through rates, etc. — don’t concern your clients. Anyone who’s been in sales knows it’s not the details that a customer cares about, it’s the experience they’ve had.

    Post-close surveys boil down to one important question: “Would you be willing to recommend me to a friend or family member?” The key to developing a successful repeat and/or referral customer comes from the sales experience that you, or those who work with you, provide during the customer home buying experience.

    Soft skills can be hard to quantify. However, when you aren’t able to build a good working rapport, chances are you’ll hear about it. The manner or style you put forward with customers once you’ve engaged them plays a critical role in how they’ll answer that survey question. Every interaction throughout the process should be focused on getting that referral.

    Winning a client is only the first step.

    Once you’ve landed the client, don’t just assume that you’ve built the rapport necessary to keep them. Share contact information. Ask the client how they’d like best to communicate with you. Follow up when you say will and always listen closely. It’s when you’re not talking that you’re most likely to gauge if the customer is unhappy with your performance.

    A calm demeanor is essential.

    Shopping for a new home and going through the mortgage loan application process can be very stressful. This is where your experience should dictate your approach. Your customer may only buy one house. You’ve been through this process hundreds of times. Let that experience inform your demeanor. If you’re uncertain, aggravated, or nervous your clients will be as well. Give the client space and hold back on providing your opinion unless asked. A steady hand inspires confidence that you know what you’re doing and you understand your client’s needs.

    Your recommendations.

    Whether it’s a loan officer, home inspector, contractor, or builder, the people you recommend must have the same high standard of customer service that you provide. If a loan goes wrong, or the home inspection is sloppy, you’ll inevitably share the blame. The providers you recommend should have a clear understanding of the service level you expect. Having shared values with those you recommend makes it easier to recover from a bad situation.

    When things go wrong.

    It’s extremely important that you take responsibility when something goes awry. As the primary contact with the client, it’s up to you to gather details in a timely fashion and present them to the client clearly and concisely. If, despite your best efforts the client walks, be agreeable and don’t burn any bridges.

    The Bottom Line

    Good soft skills put a client at ease. Take the necessary time to explain the various facets of the home buying process. Don’t assume people already know or simply don’t care. “Read” a client’s comfort level and adjust your approach appropriately. If the client holds back, you may be dealing with an introvert who needs to be both reassured and drawn out. While on the other hand, an extrovert can be a distraction. They may be too busy talking to pay the kind of attention they should as they view properties or work through important negotiations. By reading the person you can “tune” your approach — not so much to match theirs but to best communicate and support them.

    Lastly, don’t forget that your professional appearance plays an important role in establishing your authority and putting a client at ease. People have an image of what a real estate agent should dress and act like. Even if they’re wearing torn jeans, if you want that referral you always want to be your professional best.

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