It’s no secret: your clients are online and, more often than not, that’s where they find your business. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the home search now begins online 95% of the time.
Where does that process begin, where does it end and what are the steps in between? Throughout this journey there are many points where agents can find the opportunity to be an asset for the information they seek and offer brand differentiation.
As you know, working with a client is as much about building a relationship as anything. In that light, here are three things to think about in getting that relationship started. This even before you’ve had the chance to meet and in order to have that relationship continue, as well as feed into new opportunities, long after you’ve closed their business.
Go straight to the source
The average customer now reads seven reviews online before forming an opinion on a business; and 68% of those customers trust the opinions they find. Chances are your first interaction with a client won’t be their first exposure to what you have to offer.
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and conduct your own search to see what these prospects see. Reviewing comments and reviews on sites like Yelp, Foursquare and, of course, Google will help you better understand what your client’s understanding is of your business before you’ve had your first conversation.
Bottom line is your online presence matters and finding out where that influence is greatest will go a long way in building your online reputation and preparing yourself for when the conversation moves to in-person.
Be your own social media influencer
The power of social media can’t be ignored. Second only to Google in reviews is Facebook and the likes of Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all can have a significant impact on people’s opinion of what they find in a business, or whether they find that business at all. This is a simple way to promote the content you’re interested in sharing and to a broad audience. Including eye-catching media such as immersive visuals and video is a valuable way to drive traffic to where you want while giving your brand differentiation.
These platforms offer the unique opportunity to engage directly with the searching public. Rather than simply allowing others voices to dominate these spaces, take control of your own messaging. Join or initiate the conversations as they take place to help ensure your business is viewed the way you want, and as potential clients who are viewing ought to expect.
Become a Resource that Repeatedly Reaps Benefits
Despite advances in technology and the virtualization of agent services, the truth is clients value their agents now as much as ever. What’s more is that, just as the newest generation of homebuyer seeks to research their agent, they also come to expect the expertise of who they choose to alleviate some of the many areas they find particularly difficult about the home buying process.
Finding expertise in these areas will help these clients feel most confident in choice their making and the massive investment that comes with that decision. Already a stressful process, providing that expertise that’s sought after will be immensely valuable to your client and, in turn, their perception of your relationship that may be shared with others.
Referrals are nothing new to real estate agents as it already accounts for 14% of their business. However, as technology advances and these forums develop further the online review and reputation culture further, the opportunity and need to take advantage of them becomes even more critical to an agent's ability to close with clients.