I have been thinking a lot about how we communicate, not only for personal communication, but in business communication as well. Each of us has a certain expectation when it comes to communication but in the real estate business it can mean the difference in how a client views the overall performance when buying and selling a home.
Communication used to be simple, we used the telephone, email or notes and letters to communicate with friends, clients and co-workers. Now with smartphones, mobile apps and social platforms, most of us are always plugged in and connected. Author Brian Solis refers to this as Generation “C”, the connected generation.
Over the weekend, I decided to unplug for some much-needed quiet time. Monday morning I received a phone call from a friend of mine who had been worried about me because I had not answered an email a text or a message on Facebook. I thanked my friend for his concern and assured him that I was just fine and had just chosen to unplug.
Being connected all the time has created an expectation of instant communication and with all of the various communication channels, we never know exactly where the communication will come from. Of course, we can set up alerts for the various channels but with all of the alerts dinging and bonging and the reminders popping up, it’s a wonder we can get any work done.
The real estate industry seems to have a heightened sense of priority around communication. With online consumers, we are told if you don’t respond in 3-5 minutes, the potential client will move on to the next person. In a hot real estate market with multiple offers, your buyers are expecting you to respond quickly. Sellers want to have feedback as soon as there has been a showing on their home.
According to the National Association of REALTORS ® 2013 Profile of the Home Buyers and Sellers, 86% of homebuyers considered communication skills very important when choosing an agent.
So how do you manage your clients’ communication expectations? When you begin working with new clients, are you asking them what their preferred form of communication is? Are you setting expectations about the way in which you will communicate the details of the transaction; paperwork, responses during negotiations and during the closing process?
Having a communication agreement when working with clients goes a long way towards a smoother transactions and building better client relationships. All too often I have read agent reviews in which home buyers or sellers were unhappy because an agent did not communicate with them during or after the transaction. Real estate is a people business and good communications skills are essential when guiding buyers and sellers through the complex home buying and selling process.