I maintain that that not all real estate customer service tips are created equal. While a priority should be placed on customer service in today’s market, there are customer-centric marketing strategies that can take your business to the next level. That said, there are a few real estate customer service tips (depending on the customers you intend to market to) that should be prioritized above others.
Customer service, at least since the onset of the latest recession, has taken center stage in real estate marketing efforts. If for nothing else, proper customer service is the one factor that could truly elevate a good company into the upper echelon of world-class talent. Nothing, for that matter, should be held with higher regard when conducting a business, and real estate is no exception.
Real estate is a people business, and — as such — it is absolutely imperative that you serve people to the best of your ability. Only once you place the customer’s needs above your own will you reach your true potential. What you may not realize, however, is that customer service is just as necessary in your marketing efforts as it is with anything else in your business. Those who market with an emphasis on customer service will find their efforts maximized.
There are a few real estate customer service tips that can go a long way in making your marketing process more efficient. It’s important to note that the type of property you acquire will dictate the marketing strategy you implement, and therefore who you intend to market to. Once you have a better idea of who your customer is, it will make it a lot easier to initiate a marketing campaign. Understand your customers’ lifecycle and you will be given invaluable insight.
Homebuyers represent an integral cog in the machine that is real estate investing. If for nothing else, they are the end game; the finish line every investor hopes to make it to. Without buyers, there are no investors, as profits need to come from somewhere. It is important to note, however, that not all buyers are created equal. Not unlike the homes themselves, buyers have become synonymous with a myriad of needs that need to be addressed. If you are marketing to buyers, there are a few real estate customer service tips I recommend.
Whereas some homebuyers may place a priority on location, others may take a greater interest in the amenities associated with a respective property. Whatever the case may be, it is important for real estate investors to differentiate the needs of their clients, as each will require their own unique approach. Marketing to a first-time homebuyer, for instance, will come complete with an entirely different set of circumstances than, say, someone looking to upgrade from a previous home.
Keeping in mind that which I have already discussed, let’s take a look at the types of homebuyers you are likely to encounter in your investing endeavors, and perhaps even more importantly, how you can market to their individual needs.
As an investor, there is a good chance first-time homebuyers will represent a significant portion of the demographic you intend to market to. In fact, first-time homebuyers are expected to make up the largest buyers pool for the foreseeable future, so it is in your best interest to know how to market to them and their particular needs.
Not surprisingly, it’s rare that first-time homebuyers won’t be confined by their budget, as they have yet to benefit from owning a property in the past and building equity. Those looking to buy their first home are, more often than not, required to work within their means, and are therefore more inclined to prioritize budget friendly options over those that are out of their price range. For what it’s worth, first-time buyers tend to have less money to work with, which begs the question: how can investors tailor their marketing strategies to fit the needs of this population?
I maintain that marketing to first-time buyers should cater to budget friendly options. In marketing to those looking to buy their first home, be sure to emphasize the price of a home. Of course, the type of property you are marketing for sale will dictate which market you are selling to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do everything you can to place the odds in your favor. I recommend setting a price point that is slightly less than the local “comparables.” That way, your price point does as much as it can to market itself.
When marketing to first-time homebuyers, the price point is of the utmost importance. The last thing you want to do is scare away your most likely clientele by setting a price too high. For what it’s worth, it may be better for you to set a lower price point, as an attractive deal could find its way onto the list of more first-time buyers.
It’s worth noting that first-time homebuyers won’t be the only demographic investors will target over the course of their career. Perhaps your target audience isn’t first-time homebuyers, but rather those looking to upgrade from their current living situation. Instead of marketing to the budget-conscious and those that don’t require a home full of the latest amenities, you will need to shift your attention to that of the move-up buyer. Fortunately, there are real estate customer service tips for this demographic as well.
Move-up buyers, who tend to be less conscious of price, are more interested in the tangible characteristics of a home. How many bedrooms does it have? How many square feet does it have? Is it in a desirable location?
Move-up buyers are almost certainly going to be more selective, as they are probably looking to improve upon their current living situation. It’s not uncommon for people to consider upgrading their home when significant life changes occur, like having children or receiving a pay raise. Either way, the desire to buy a home is founded on upgrading. As an investor, it is in your best interest to know which type of buyer you are marketing your property to. Those looking to upgrade won’t need a fixer-upper (like first-time homebuyers may prioritize), as they are more likely to favor homes that are move-in ready and already come complete with upgrades and amenities. If your home meets the needs of this particular demographic, there is no reason you shouldn’t market to them.
Not unlike the aforementioned buyers, those looking to sell their homes play an equally important role in a real estate investor’s career. However, marketing to a seller is nothing like marketing to a buyer, but rather coincides with an entirely different strategy altogether. Whereas the average buyer will dedicate countless hours to finding the perfect properties, some sellers may not even know they are a candidate to sell. For better or for worse, a lot of sellers don’t even consider selling to be an option until they actually sit down with a savvy real estate investor.
First and foremost, acquiring a property from a seller (who is no less of a customer than a buyer) will require you to negotiate from a different position. Outside of the obvious differences, any potential for striking a deal is contingent on whether they want to or not. That said, it is in your best interest to develop a genuine working rapport with prospective sellers. Remember, real estate is a people business, and sellers will favor those they are more comfortable working with. Why not place the odds in your favor buy offering world-class customer service? In fact, you could argue that great customer service is even more important in buying a property than selling one.
Not unlike selling a property, marketing to sellers will be made a lot easier if you can identify what it is they want most out of a deal. While money will always remain at the forefront of their minds, you had better believe there are other things on their wish list, both tangible and intangible. The sooner you can identify their needs, the easier it will be to market your services effectively.
One of the best real estate customer service tips, at least as they relate to marketing to sellers, is to establish a genuine connection. With a good idea of where the seller is coming from, it will be easier to strike a deal.
It’s not uncommon for real estate agents to work in tandem with homeowners at risk of losing their property to foreclosure. If for nothing else, real estate agents are one of the best solutions for financially burdened homeowners, and can help them avoid bankruptcy.
If you find yourself in a position to market your services to a homeowner at risk of losing their home to foreclosure, I maintain my position on building a genuine relationship. The best thing you can do is to earn their trust. You have to assume that they are upset at the idea of losing their home, so you must approach them with empathy and care. Above all else, let them know you are in a position to help them moving forward. Be honest about your intentions, but don’t ignore the possibility of being their best option. Selling a property for less than its worth is never easy to accept, but the fact remains: selling to an investor will help them avoid bankruptcy and similar financial burdens.
Market your services in a way that will place their needs ahead of yours. If they need to sell before the bank repossess their home, don’t hesitate to offer them a faster closing window. You may even be able to work out a deal that keeps them in the home.
Then again, not every seller you are confronted with needs to sell. You may very well come across a seller that is merely curious about what they can get for their property. These potential customers are a bit tricker to deal with, but nonetheless a viable option for your real estate business. The key, once again, is to pinpoint what is is they are looking for. If you can give them enough incentive to move out, you may find yourself with a deal that was never even on the market.
It may surprise you to learn that buyers and sellers aren’t the only customers investors will work with on a regular basis. In fact, they may not even be the most common customers. For what it’s worth, other like-minded investors may very well be your most important customers. That said, it is equally important to understand how these real estate customer service tips translate to businessmen and women within your industry. I maintain that working with other investors is a very viable business model for real estate entrepreneurs. If you aren’t content learning how to market to homebuyers and sellers alone, I encourage you to incorporate the real estate customer service tips I go into detail about in part two of this series.