The pandemic has forced the business community and consumers to change the way they sell and buy goods and services, interact with clients and co-workers, pay their bills, order food and just about any other business transaction you can think of. And while some have struggled to adjust to this new style of interpersonal communications, some of the introverts in the house don’t mind quite as much.
But even some of the “people people” will agree that before the pandemic, having a digital connection as a consumer plays an important part in determining who they buy from, how they buy and what they buy. That’s true whether you’re talking about cars, household items, insurance, homes and many other things they purchase.
Moxtra, a firm that offers digital solutions, recently surveyed 1,500 small business personnel and 1,500 small business customers across industries, including real estate, about digital offerings. Here’s a few highlights:
- 30 percent of consumers say digital capabilities are a “primary requirement” when looking to work with a business.
- 84 percent of consumers said they’d look to other companies if a business was lacking in technology use or did not offer a good experience.
- 48 percent of consumers said they prefer to engage with businesses digitally as much as possible and only conduct in-person business when necessary.
- 89 percent of small business customers agreed that it was important for them to be able to reach out digitally to small businesses instead of scheduling an appointment or phone call.
You get the main point – sometimes, we don’t want to talk to or see anyone when we’re trying to buy something. We don’t necessarily want a salesperson hovering over us while we browse for just the right item. If consumers have a question, they’ll find you. But don’t miss this other important point: While consumers prefer to interact digitally, they want it to be fast, easy and not, well, annoying.
Granted, as an agent, selling homes is easier if you can physically show potential buyers the home in person. If it’s an awesome property, it practically does the selling for you. But with the pandemic and because consumers’ preferences are changing, your success relies more and more on your ability to offer digital interactions with clients. And these interactions shouldn’t require them to jump through too many hoops or provide too much personal information just to get details about a home that’s for sale.
So, consider these simple, but engaging digital tools that consumers are more likely to embrace:
Live Chat or Facebook Messenger
Real estate firms should consider setting up a simple live chat feature on their website to allow visitors to get quick answers to simple questions without having to call the office. Is property XYZ still available? When is the open house on property 123? Where should I go to get a home loan? Can I view a home virtually? You can have an agent manage the chat during regular business hours or into the early evening to provide quick responses to questions like these.
Videos/Virtual Home Tours
In our recent blog series – Part 1 and Part 2 discussed the importance and benefits of providing buyers with the opportunity to tour homes from their computer or other device. Make sure these videos showcase the same home highlights you’d show them if you were physically walking them through the house and try to speak during the video tour and answer questions about the home that you’d expect them to be asking if there in person.
Yes, we’re always getting hit with email. But the fact is: people still open and engage with emails that they’re interested in. The key is understanding who the audience is and what stage of the buying process they are in.
They are great for keeping your clients and potential buyers up to date on what’s up for sale, what you’ve recently sold and the local real estate market in general. They can quickly consume the information at their leisure, and if they’re not interested, they can just hit delete. One important consideration: When you collect prospects’ email addresses, it’s a good idea to tell them that you’ll be sending them information from time to time, so they aren’t surprised. And in the emails, provide the opportunity for them to unsubscribe or opt out if they no longer want to hear from you. The last thing you need is for people to feel like you’re spamming them.
Texting has become a major mode of communication because it’s easy and fast. Some clients prefer to be reached by text, rather than email or a phone call. You’ll want to provide this as an option for those who want to communicate with you. Set up a business cell phone for these texts, so you aren’t mixing business with pleasure. Again, don’t abuse the 24/7 access to clients or potential buyers – only text during business hours or early evening (or whatever preferences each individual expresses). Be professional in your tone and message. Just because they text in abbreviated words (Thx, Ttyl, Ppl) or use a hundred emojis doesn’t mean you should. Got it? 👍
You’ll still have clients who prefer to be reached the old-fashioned way – by phone or face-to-face. But giving clients digital options to use if they desire is an easy way to build a reputation as an agent who is willing to communicate in whatever way clients prefer.
*Not all borrowers will qualify. Contact us for more information on fees and terms. Not intended as legal, financial, or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.
Study: Bad Digital Experiences Drive Clients Away. (2020, December 10). Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2020/12/10/study-bad-digital-experiences-drive-clients-away