By Jessie Trapp, Marketing Coordinator
In case you aren’t already aware, you, the agents, are the real deal superheroes of the real estate market. Not only do your clients look to you for advice, guidance, and as someone to save the day when they get lost in the process, but they also expect you to seamlessly guide them into the next phase in their life (no pressure). In return, you look to your clients for clarity when it comes to what they are looking to gain from your relationship and what they are expecting from you specifically as their chosen agent. Clearly, real estate is one giant tango.
These expectations can vary greatly depending on whether your clients are in the process of buying a new home or selling their current one. Buyers, for instance, expect you to be a miracle worker, taking all of their Pinterest inspired must-have lists and miraculously finding the home they have been dreaming of, all for a price far below the budget they seem incapable of agreeing upon. Sellers, on the other hand, are focused on the cold, hard cash. They expect you to not only make their neglected home look like a million dollars (more like several million these days), but to also be the expert hardball negotiator that will pull the necessary strings in order to get them an offer that is well over the listing price you initially prepared them for.
These differences between buyers vs sellers require you to constantly adjust how you go about your role as an agent. Below are a few ideas for ensuring your sales strategy truly delivers on your client’s expectations.
When working with buyers:
Be helpful. The task of buying a home is clearly daunting enough as is, which is why buyers depend on you to provide them with information that will help them make the important decisions – not attempt to make decisions for them. Avoid applying too much pressure, and instead prioritize being a source for them to turn to for guidance. Keep in mind that the word “helpful” has been found to be a leading phrase found in 5 star agent reviews, and who doesn’t want one of those to tout?
Remain calm. The median home price in the US has risen to a record high of $206,300, although values are significantly higher in urban markets like San Jose, where the median home value is a whopping $1,171,800. Buyers are very aware that they are about to drop some serious cash, which understandably leads them to become stressed, indecisive, and severely sleep deprived. Even if you, yourself are eating copious amounts of ice cream to ease the stress, your communications with clients should reflect a state calm, cool, and collected. Put the ice cream aside, you’ve got this.
Be the fire extinguisher. Inventory has reportedly decreased by 10% in the last year, meaning competition between buyers is on the rise. If bidding wars are heating up, send them a bouquet of flowers or a certificate to a dinner out to put a smile on their face and reassure them that it will all work out.
Stay in touch. We know that your personal lives are important, but the last thing you want is to watch your clients dream home slip away in front of your eyes simply because your response time wasn’t up to par. This requires you to remain constantly available to them, as well as those selling the prospective homes. 94% of agents say they prefer to communicate with their clients through email. If that percentage includes you, make sure that your notifications are turned on to ensure that you don’t miss out on an opportunity to impress them with a quick response.
When working with sellers:
Show and tell. It is quite obvious in today’s market that sellers are in the driver’s seat, and you bet your clients will be fully aware of it. Remaining transparent with them throughout the process regarding your marketing efforts and outreach strategies will ensure that they remain confident in your determination to get them the highest price possible.
Know the right people. In most cases, sellers are motivated to do anything they can within reason (and budget) to increase the value of their homes. Taking initiative in providing them with suggestions and having trusted sources on hand to get the work done will let them know that you are knowledgeable and the person to look to for related advice.
Keep them in the loop. According to NAR, homes sold in 2017 were typically on the market for three weeks. That is likely three extremely stressful and life altering weeks for your sellers. As their agent, you should be sending them regular updates throughout regarding the status of prospective offers to keep worries minimal and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Go above and beyond. Sellers want to work with agents who they are confident will get them the best offer, period. That’s likely why 67% of sellers claim that they would use an agent that they previously worked with again in the future. This means celebrating the closing in a memorable way is a must and staying in touch even after the sale is long over should be an ongoing priority.
Although your experience has likely already proven the importance of these points to you already, it can be easy to get caught up in the fast-paced industry that is real estate and forget that sales strategies are not one-size-fits-all. The “tomato, tom(ah)to” mindset isn’t one that works well when it comes to buyers vs sellers, so be sure to constantly be reminding yourself of the differences!