It started off completely innocently.
We were planning a move, a big one, from California to New York. My husband was transferring to an office across the country and while he was busy arranging all those details, I was saddled with the task of looking for another home. Like most people, I sought out the internet. I knew the approximate area I wanted to live in after doing some research and began searching for houses online like any couch-realtor would. I was clicking around, putting in different filters, and was searching for a place that would fit what we wanted and needed.
Some houses needed too much work, some were too expensive, some were too far out of our desired location, some were definitely haunted… well, probably haunted…, and some were just plain ugly.
And then I saw it.
The perfect place. There were enough bedrooms for our family, it had great square footage, it was close to my husband’s new job, it was in a good school district, and it had a decently sized lot. I clicked through all of the images, checked the property taxes, and scrolled to the bottom of that listing page to see who I needed to contact in order to get into this house. Max Miller was the listing agent. So, I called him directly.
We spoke for a bit and set up an appointment for the next week. I was so ecstatic. I booked a flight out to New York to see the house and perhaps a few more in person. Before I left, I made a phone call to Joselyn, the agent that sold us our home. I let her know that we would soon need to list our property due to my husband’s transfer. Joselyn was audibly surprised, but excited to help. I then told her about all the research I had done and how I contacted the listing agent out in New York to show me the Warwick property. Supportive still, but a bit more reserved, Joselyn told me that she could have helped me with all of the steps I had already taken. Additionally, she told me that she is part of a network of realtors where she could have found the right person, not just the person attached to property that interested me, to help me in New York with my home search. I told her that I had no idea that agents did anything like that as well as had no idea that there a network where realtors can connect throughout the United States.
In this day, most buyers are like me: a person that is going to do their own research and home search. However, at the end of the day, I and other clients need someone who has experience to help us through these intensely life affecting processes. As much as we want to think we have expertise from clocking hours of watching HGTV, the common buyer or seller doesn’t have a profound knowledge of the industry with which agents and brokers deeply interact on a daily basis.
3 Things Most Of Your Clients Don’t Know About Referrals:
1. Most clients don’t know that referrals are even a thing. I mean, we know that we can refer friends or family to you on a person-to-person basis, but we don’t know or understand how you make referrals between agents or that it changes things to contact another agent before we speak to you, our past realtor. We don’t understand the nuances of a referral agreement or that you may be overlooked through contacting another agent.
2. Most clients don’t know that agents can refer a buyer to someone else and stand to make a commission. It is probably a hairy thing to mention or talk about at all, but most clients do not understand how the internal, behind-the-scenes work goes between agent to agent. We don’t know that you can stand to make a profit off of the relationship that you have with us. Should that be a positive relationship, we would definitely want to support you.
3. Most clients don’t know that we should even seek you out to help us with a relocation. Clients do not understand that you may have vetted contacts all over the globe or that you may belong to a network like REALLY that allows for you to directly communicate, research, and refer to someone out of your area/region.
3 Ways to Change My Eagerness to Call you FIRST:
1. Maintain a Relationship with Me. Check in. Ask how things are going with our lives or what changes we have made to the house. Send me texts, cards, letters, postcards, etc. Be a strong communicator in all regards. Be responsive and proactive with communication.
2. Convey Your Craft. Explicitly tell me what you need me to know about your responsibilities as an agent, how you want to help me, and what areas you can help me in the present and the future.
3. Be Authentic. All people want to feel as though your interest in them is genuine. Clients want to feel as though your contact and responses are real in terms of your desire to maintain a relationship. Maintain an honest and earnest relationship with your client so when we have times of transition or question, we want to contact you first.
I think if I had to boil it down to one thing, it would be that communication is key. Clients cannot understand your value implicitly if you do not explain to them and remind them of it. So, be sure to maintain those relationships and your clients will be more apt to remember you before reaching out to someone new.