Client acquisition is a large part of the puzzle in growing your real estate business, but the follow-up is just as important.
You’ve networked, reached out to your community, established a strong online presence, and invested in high-end real estate website design. Now, you’re enjoying a steady stream of warm leads and meeting prospective clients left and right. But what comes next?
Establishing a strong process for following up after you’ve landed a new client for your luxury real estate business is crucial. Setting these practices early on so that you can complete each step on autopilot will not only free up your time in your business but will also ensure that you’re providing the very best service for each of your clients. Once you’ve landed a new client, these are your next five steps.
1. Sync Up
Regardless of whether you’ve already met in person, sitting down for an in-depth meeting with your new client is crucial. If your new real estate client can’t meet in person because they’re moving from out of state or have another extenuating circumstance, set up a virtual video call so that you can still get a feel for their thoughts and attitudes about each aspect you talk through together.
The best time to get on the same page about expectations and goals is the very beginning of your relationship with the client. Even if they haven’t signed paperwork committing to working with you quite yet, resist the urge to make grand promises or tell them what they want to hear. It’s quite common for people to enter the real estate market with lofty goals or expectations that aren’t realistic, and they need your expertise in order to understand the reality behind the numbers and processes they can actually expect to experience.
Write out a questionnaire where you can jot notes as you speak with your new client. If they’re looking to buy a home, talk with them about their motivation for doing so and begin diving into their requirements: do they know where they want to live? Do they have ideas about the size and layout of their ideal home? Work together to make a list of their qualifications and identify any spaces for your research to fill in later on. At this point, find out if they have a budget in mind and ensure that they’ve spoken to a mortgage lender to confirm that the budget is realistic. Come to this meeting prepared with lenders to refer in case your new client hasn’t found one yet.
If you’re meeting with a new client who’s looking to sell their home, work to get a feel for why they’re selling, their expected timeline, and any details about the home that may need to be sorted out before selling. Before your first meeting, ask them to bring along paperwork on the home such as the title, tax, and insurance documents. This way, you can go into the sale with a full picture and rest assured that there won’t be too many unexpected elements down the road.
In today’s market, many sellers have high hopes when it comes to how much they can make on the sale of their home. Because the housing market is so competitive for buyers, some sellers are tempted to price their home ultra-high and see how much they can earn. While this approach may make sense in the mind of a seller, your expertise and knowledge of your local market is the best tool they’ve got for determining how to price their listing.
Use this meeting to start setting the stage for a realistic pricing and selling strategy, and get clear on what will be expected of your new client when it comes to staging and showing the property. Clear communication from the very beginning will alleviate potential stress later on, for both you and your client.
In short, the very first step — and arguably the most important step — to take after landing a new client is getting clear on both sides about what to expect, establishing goals, and answering preliminary questions to get the process started.
2. Do Your Research
After the initial client meeting, make a list of any gaps in understanding or questions that came up for you or your new client. These make the perfect jumping-off point for your research and serve as an opportunity to build trust and accountability with your client early on.
The process of buying or selling real estate can be intimate and emotional. Whether a family is investing years of savings on a starter home or an empty nester is saying goodbye to a house full of memories, the financial and personal implications of any real estate transaction can be quite heavy. Because of this reality, a foundation of trust is crucial for a long and healthy client relationship.
In working with buyers, your research will likely involve scoping out available listings in their desired area, looking into school districts if applicable, and getting familiar with common amenities and home sizes within their budget. This research gets easier and easier the longer you serve a particular area, since you’ll come to know the differing neighborhoods and property offerings as you go.
For sellers, conducting market research specific to their home will help you get your footing as well as establish a solid baseline for pricing and strategy around your new listing. In an ever-changing and complex market, conducting research might look like comparing recent listings in the same area as your new client’s listing, identifying key differences, and comparing pricing while considering market changes.
If there are any special circumstances for your new clients, now is the time to look into the details of the processes and requirements for tackling them. Specific types of loans, for example, may change the way you strategize on offers. Use this time to get clear about these important details.
3. Provide Helpful Walkthroughs
The process of buying or selling real estate can be daunting and overwhelming — that’s why you’re there! Especially for first-time buyers or sellers, make time early on to walk your new clients through the contracts they’ll be dealing with. With so many clauses and so much jargon, a real estate contract will look completely foreign to many clients.
Once you hit the ground running and list the home or start viewing homes, things move fast. Sometimes you’ll be racing to submit an offer by the deadline, and you might not have time to review every section of the buyer’s contract with your client. Establishing a solid understanding of each clause and the important decisions they’ll need to make when making an offer is crucial so that they can enter the market empowered and ready to strategize to land their dream home.
Sellers often have a bit more time when considering offers, but deadlines can still come quickly and unexpected hitches have a way of appearing when you’re in a time crunch. Going over the key aspects of the seller’s contract will help your clients prepare for the process of selling their home and allow them to earn top dollar for their property!
As you build your network and work with increasingly more clients, you’ll begin to notice that common questions come up again and again. These questions can give you ideas for pre-made walkthroughs and materials to start developing for your clients, like videos and one-pagers. While the initial conversations still go over best live, it’s helpful to have a quick resource to share in case confusion comes up or repetition is required.
4. Make Yourself Available
In a fast market, there isn’t time for waiting around on an offer or flipping back and forth between decisions. Make yourself available so that you can guide your clients swiftly, share important updates, and submit offers as appropriate. This is more than just a transaction for them but rather a huge life change, so as questions and concerns arise, it’s important that they know they can call on you.
Establish your work boundaries early on so that your new clients know what to expect. If you’re stepping away from work each night by 8 pm, let them know initially that if they reach out after that, they’ll hear from you in the morning. If you’re planning to step away from work for more than a day, set up a system with a trusted colleague to make sure there’s someone there to field questions or complete time-sensitive paperwork. With clear communication and careful planning, it’s possible to enjoy work-life balance while also putting your clients at ease and providing excellent and timely service.
5. Guide the Way
Once you’ve laid the groundwork with clear expectations, plenty of communication, and solid education, it’s time to get started by setting up a home search or preparing your client’s listing!
In this stage of the process, it’s important to act as a guide as your clients navigate the tricky waters of buying or selling a home. There are inconveniences that may come up on both sides: listing cycles can be very quick, so buyers might struggle with scheduling showings in time to meet offer deadlines. Staging and showing a home can be time-consuming and jarring for sellers. Demonstrate patience and give gentle reminders at every step along the way, and your clients will be reminded of the expertise they’ve got on their side. Especially for buyers, the process can take longer than anticipated. Stay the course and be a steady presence, and be ready to offer advice when asked.
With these crucial steps completed, you’ve laid the groundwork for a successful client relationship. Once you’ve tackled the market with your new client, don’t forget to ask for referrals and testimonials!