Real estate agents have one of the most critical jobs in the world – helping people find their perfect homes. It’s a job that requires patience and skill but also an understanding of the importance of building solid relationships with buyers and sellers. By creating strong relationships with your clients, you’ll be better equipped to understand their unique needs and match them with the perfect property.
According to a study conducted by Satista, 97% of homebuyers in the United States started their home-buying search online in 2021, and more homebuyers use online resources to do everything from signing contracts to sharing documents. Real estate agents can get lost in the sea of digitization, so it is even more critical for agents to focus on cultivating strong relationships with their clients, so they remain top-of-mind.
Why is the Client Relationship So Important?
Your clients look for your guidance as they embark on one of the most important journeys of their lives- buying a home. To you, they may be just one of several purchase contracts, but to them, you are their financial steward during a pivotal time in their journey. As they work with you, they need to know that you value them and see value in working with you. As the transaction ends, your client must feel they have trusted the right real estate agent.
Why Does Trust Matter?
Simply put- clients who trust you and feel that you are more than just a provider of services will be more inclined to return to you when they need a real estate agent. Moreover, clients who felt satisfied with their experience and developed a connection with their real estate agent will tell all their friends and family about you.
In fact, a recent report from ReferMeIQ revealed that 82% of real estate transactions came from referrals, while 42% of sellers found their agents from referrals from friends and families. If you provide their friends and family with the same exceptional service, they will tell their friends and family. What you have now built is a perpetual funnel of referral leads!
Where do I begin?
The concept of building relationships with your clients is simple to understand, but the application takes time, practice, and honesty. Here are some key factors to consider as you work to develop stronger relationships with your clients:
- Integrity trumps profit– If clients get the vibe from you that they are just another opportunity for you to make money, your ability to gain their trust will become infinitely more complex. They need to feel that no matter how much money you make on the transaction, you will do everything possible to put them in the best home for their needs and financial position.
- Spend time getting to know your clients– As you start the contract process and your clients share information about their needs, remember that they are vulnerable. Everyone has different preferences and priorities when it comes to buying or selling a property. Take the time to understand your client’s unique needs and tailor your approach accordingly. This could mean offering specific property suggestions based on their interests or lifestyle, providing additional research or data on specific neighborhoods, or simply adjusting your communication style to match their preferences.
- Walk them through the whole process – Effective communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, which is no different in real estate. Keep your clients informed throughout the entire process, from initial meetings to closing day. Be transparent about any updates or changes, and ensure they feel comfortable coming to you with any questions or concerns. Respond promptly to emails, texts, and calls, and try to schedule regular check-ins to ensure they feel supported and informed every step of the way.
- Be honest, open, and transparent – If your client loses a bid on a home or if the home is not getting any offers, you are responsible for delivering the difficult news to them. An honest agent will be transparent with their client about why the transaction is not going as planned, but a “no” is not where the transaction ends. Quality real estate agents will help their clients find the path to “yes” with clear steps to guide them back to a position where they can achieve their goals. When the client is ready to either buy or sell a home, they will remember you were the agent to help them get back on track.
- Build a network of resources – As a real estate agent, you are likely well-connected in your industry. Utilize these connections to help your clients with other aspects of the buying or selling process. Whether you recommend a trusted mortgage lender, contractor, or home inspector, provide a list of local schools and amenities, or suggest the best places to eat and shop in the area, your clients will appreciate your willingness to go the extra mile.
- Stay in touch – The transaction has closed, so you are done, right? WRONG! Staying in touch with your clients after the transaction closes solidifies the trust and bond created during the process, and you will stay top-of-mind. As your clients’ lives change (marriage, children, etc), they will need a real estate agent again. Consider sending a personalized holiday or anniversary card, inviting them to community events, or even just checking in periodically to maintain a positive and long-lasting relationship. If you have genuinely taken the time to curate that relationship with honesty, integrity, authenticity, and transparency, they will be all too happy to give you a call!
At the end of the day, building relationships with your clients needs to be more than just looking for opportunities for future business. The best real estate agents out there genuinely work from a place of helping others, and they often are seen as much more than an agent by their clients. They are their kid’s softball coach, the volunteer at the local church, or the significant fundraisers for the town’s children’s hospital. They truly live and work from a place of servant leadership and are trusted by many. By leaning into the “give back” mindset, you can establish trust, confidence, and loyalty with your clients, leading to repeat business and referrals for years to come.