image

How to Get Prospective Homebuyers to Remember Your Name

As a recent first-time homebuyer, I can attest that the entire viewing and purchasing process is a whirlwind of information. My inbox quickly filled up with correspondence from realtors, lenders, insurance reps, and attorneys because I researched my options like a savvy little shopper; there were days when I couldn’t remember my own contact info, let alone the info I received from dozens of other businesspeople.

In the end, I had to sort through the correspondence and select my representatives. What could my real estate suitors have done to get my attention and propel themselves to the top of my list? A lot, actually. Even if your business isn’t related to the housing market, pay attention anyway; you just might learn something you can apply to your field as well!

Here are 6 things you can do to get prospective homebuyers to remember your name:

1. Make contact when you say you will. Self-explanatory, right? You’d be surprised. Of all the places I contacted, only two of them bothered to get back to me within 48 hours with the initial information I requested. Chances are, your potential clients will be psyched about the idea of buying a new home, so it doesn’t hurt to respond to inquiries as soon as you get them. That promptness may differentiate you from competitors and gain clients’ trust in the process.

2. Pick up the phone and call your buyers. There are many things in this world that I’m perfectly okay with purchasing online (including a wedding gown and rings, believe it or not), but a new home isn’t one of them. Email is wonderful and convenient, but don’t forget about the benefits of an old-fashioned telephone conversation! It may take a bit more effort but you’ll make an impression on your clientele. When buyers have a zillion questions, it’s just easier to ask and receive instant answers than it is to play the waiting game with emails. Plus, it’s refreshing to match a voice to a name (especially when dealing with such a large purchase). There’s a level of trust that goes along with it…

3. Always include your signature in email correspondence. When you do have a conversation via email, always include your signature at the bottom of your replies. This will keep your name visible at all times and give clients the means to contact you if they’re on the go. Email signatures make the transaction smoother for smartphone users, too. For example, one realtor emailed a couple of times but never included his signature – only his first name – which made it difficult to find his phone number or website on my iPhone when I needed it. I’d much rather have that information readily available every time than scroll through 18 emails to find it!

4. Have a functional website that matches (or exceeds) the quality of your competitors’ websites. It’s not necessary to have an expensive web design in every case, but your site should rank among the sites of your rivals. Is your website easy to navigate? Do you give users the option to search for what they need and to contact you if they need additional help? Are your prices or fees clearly outlined (or at least mentioned somewhere)? Also, make sure that your website displays on primary web browsers (Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari) as well as on mobile devices. It’s unfortunate, but you’ll be at a disadvantage if your site looks horrible on a tiny smartphone screen.

5. Give them a free gift. Granted, this one could be tough if email correspondence is the only point of contact, but it works wonders for in-person appointments and meetings. One agent was thoughtful enough to give away a folder/notebook combo with her name on it, which came in handy to make notes on various properties. She even provided a small tote bag for me to store my copious stacks of paperwork! These freebies, in addition to her thorough service, branded her name into my head pretty quickly.

6. Practice what you preach. You won’t get far with buyers if you have a picture of your smiling face plastered on every square inch of your site and then you’re rude and unresponsive when someone contacts you. This scenario actually happened to me! The representative decked out his website with beaming mug shots and catchy slogans, but he seemed more than inconvenienced by my initial questions and was quite short with me on the phone. Needless to say, he wasn’t the rep I chose in the end. Back up your claims or else people will run the other way!

Let’s face it, homebuyers are stressed out and they have dozens of questions they’d like answered. They’re not likely to wait around for you to get back to them whenever you please—there are plenty of alternatives they could turn to instead! If you want the business, then you have to work for it. Answer emails and phone calls as lightning fast as you’re able, check that your website is up to par, and demonstrate that you’re the best man or woman for the job. And please, please, PLEASE be patient with first-time homebuyers. Chances are they won’t know their you-know-whats from holes in the ground, so take the time to respond to every “stupid” question that comes up. You’ll be amply rewarded if you do…trust me!

What else could mortgage lenders, insurance agents, lawyers, or realtors do to keep their names at the top of the list? Can you think of any other industries in particular that could benefit from these tips?



Jill Tooley

Jill has been obsessed with words since her fingers could turn the pages of a book. She’s a hopeless bibliophile who recently purchased a Kindle after almost 6 years of radical opposition, and she loves stumbling upon new music on Pandora. Random interests include (but are not limited to) bookstores, movie memorabilia, and adorable rodents. Jill writes for the QLP blog and assists with the company’s social media accounts. You can connect with Jill on Google+.

Comments

  1. amy

    Great post Jill! Some of your tips cracked me up that you should even have to suggest them (i.e. make contact when you say you will). That shocked me, but for some people I’m sure it’s a good thing to be reminded of.

    • Jill Tooley

      It shocked me as well! I had someone cancel an appointment 10 minutes after the appointment was supposed to start, and get this: I was the one who had to call her to verify whether or not she was coming, and it was only then that she remembered the appointment and said “Oh my gosh, I totally forgot to cancel that!” If I hadn’t called, she would’ve been a no-show and who knows how long I would have been twiddling my thumbs! It was extremely unprofessional and I was ticked because I had to drive 40 minutes to even get to her office.

      Some people just DO NOT care about getting business, apparently!

    • Amanda

      I agree Amy. I’m always shocked by the number of professionals that don’t keep their word on when they will get back with you. I know that things come up, but come on! It seems to me that people in general are getting worse with this as time goes on, which is sad because we’re more connected now more than ever.

  2. Doc

    I couldn’t agree more with this article, Jill!!! I encountered some of the same experiences when I recently purchased a home. We met with quite a few different realtors, but it was the person that best understood what we wanted and her willingness/dilligence toward finding the best house for us that made us work with her. Every realtor has the same resources, but it’s the one’s that use those resources to benefit their customer that truly make the process easiest on the home buyer.

    Most of the people we worked with were constantly pushing things on us that had nothing to do with what WE wanted. They were showing us homes that were not in the areas we liked or WAY out of our price range. Then, they tried to push us toward using their mortgage lenders for our pre-approvals. Working with customer service, this especially turned me off to them. All the points you made put the customer’s needs first. After all, isn’t the customer’s needs the basis for the business relationship?

    • Jill Tooley

      Totally! You’re so right, Doc. Any realtor can get to that database and schedule showings, but apparently not every realtor can return calls or fully answer questions. I thought long and hard about my prospects before I chose them, and it was always the resourceful people that won in the end!

      Vendors should never push buyers into anything, either. That’s not right! I feel like many lenders and agents cash in on customers’ ignorance of certain terms and they’ll exploit it to make an extra buck or two. Do you know how many times I asked specific questions and got canned responses that didn’t actually address the issue? A lot. I mean, how much time does it take to type a reply or return a phone call to someone who’s giving you money? Unbelievable.

      And YES: customer needs are the basis for a business relationship! A long-lasting one, at that. :)

  3. Amanda

    Nice post Jill. You gave some super helpful tips here that can be of value to almost anyone. Our realtor went above and beyond always, and that’s why we would never switch. Quality makes such a difference, especially when it comes to real estate–it’s a world full or jargon and paperwork.

    • Jill Tooley

      Thanks, Amanda! There’s nothing worse than real estate jargon (except for maybe law jargon), and buyers get confused easily unless they’ve purchased in the past. It pays to be patient with clients and meet their needs!

  4. Joseph Giorgi

    Excellent tips here, Jill! :)

    Any half-intelligent realtor or insurance agent would be wise to heed your advice. Actually, when the day comes that I’m in the market for a new home, I’ll be sure to seek out your expertise on the matter, as I likely won’t know my “you-know-what from a hole in the ground.” ;)

    Tip #3 is actually my favorite — it goes without saying, or so one would think. I can’t imagine sending a correspondence email without including a detailed signature at the bottom. Seems almost silly (and incompetent) not to. I can’t believe a “professional” realtor wouldn’t include that info in his emails to you.

  5. Crystal

    Hi Jill! I just came across your blog site, and feel that I will be referencing it often. As a realtor myself, I cannot understand why people insist on not calling others back. The inventory is there, every realtor has similar advantages to their competition. What creates our business is the ability to differentiate ourselves from the pack. Those who don’t communicate make the job easier for the rest of us, not to mention that it makes us look even better to our client base. I personally do not believe in wasting the time of someone who is purchasing. Often I find myself asking the person if they want to see something above budget just so they know what their money can get them. There always has to be a reason, and you should let them know up front. Anyhow, enjoyed the blog and I will hop off my soapbox for now. Best of luck in everything you do, and I’ll be back to read more.

Leave a Comment