What’s the No. 1 complaint that people have about real estate agents?
Lack of communication.
“He convinced us to list with him, walked out the door with the signed contract, and that was the last we heard from him until two weeks before the listing expired. Then, he called and pressured us to reduce the price and extend the contract.”
If you’re feeling a pang of guilt right now, here is the two-part permanent solution to massively improve your communication with listing clients and – major bonus – sell more properties and make more money.
Part 1: The Market Watch System
Set up every listing client on an auto-notification system to notify them whenever there is a new listing, a price adjustment, a conditional sale, a firm sale and so on. Make sure they can see all the information on every listing, including all the pictures.
If you’re in a large market, set up a broad set of criteria, so there are at least 50-100 active listings within a specified price range and geographical area. Your clients should be receiving relevant emails at least two to three times every week.
The main objective is to provide a big picture view of the market. Your clients need to be informed whenever a new competitor enters the market, drops their price or successfully sells.
The most relevant factor is the price – more so than home style, size or age. As for the geographical area, if you need to add more surrounding communities to get your numbers up to 50-100 active listings, go ahead, even if the home styles are significantly different.
Use your best judgment on the price range. For example, on a $500,000 property, I might start with a range between $450,000 and $600,000. Then, I would fine-tune based on the results. For example, if there were a ton of clearly superior properties between $550,000 and $575,000, I might adjust my upper limit down to $575,000 because $600,000 would be overkill.
On the other hand, if the inventory just above $450,000 was total garbage (comparatively), I might adjust that lower limit a bit higher. We don’t want our clients thinking we’re comparing their property to junk!
On the contrary, we want the majority of the comparables to be superior to the subject property. I would justify this by stating, “We’re priced at $500,000, but it’s important to be aware of what a buyer could purchase at a moderately higher price. If buyers can get significantly more for a price that’s only 10 per cent higher, that’s important information for us to know.”
Think about what information you want your client to see that will help them to make intelligent decisions. (For example, it should be obvious if a price adjustment is needed.)
Providing your clients with the correct information allows them to make intelligent decisions.
Here’s the most crucial advice for setting your Market Watch criteria: Take the time to look at the results and think about it from your clients’ perspective. Is this the most relevant and helpful information for them?
The more you practice this method, the better you’ll get at it, just like any other skill.
Setting the exact criteria takes practice, and you’ll use a different logic set for each property.
Part 2: The Weekly Client Report
Every Monday morning (set this up as a recurring appointment with yourself), send an email report to each of your listing clients, based on the activity recorded in their Market Watch from the previous week.
Here’s an abbreviated version of what you might report to your clients:
a) New Listings – “There were two new listings over the past week. I’m not overly worried about New Listing #1 because it’s priced only slightly lower than your home and I think it’s inferior for these reasons…
“As for New Listing #2, this one concerns me. It’s only $10K higher than your home, and it’s newer, larger and has these superior features…
“I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one, but I’d be surprised if it doesn’t sell quickly.”
b) Price reduction – “This listing dropped its price by $20K, making it much more competitive. I’ll be watching this one, also.”
c) Sold listings – “These listings sold, and in my opinion, here are the reasons why…”
Don’t worry. At least 99 per cent of the time, there’s an easily explainable reason. It’s bigger. It’s newer. It’s less money. It has these features that yours doesn’t have. One per cent of the time you might need to dig a little deeper and craft a more creative response.
d) Conclude with an honest summary (what you truly believe). For example, “Based on this information and the current activity we’re getting, I’m a bit worried that we may have been overly optimistic on our list price. I’m not suggesting that we make an immediate price adjustment, but if we don’t get any strong activity before the end of the week, this might be something we need to discuss.”
Why go to the trouble of writing this report every week?
Part one of this two-part solution means that your clients automatically receive the information on each new listing, price adjustment and sale. But they have not received your professional interpretation about what each new development might mean to them.
Your clients will feel more informed and cared for (by you). After all, they have an expert watching the market on their behalf.
At the same time, you are forcing yourself to closely monitor what is happening and what advice you should be giving to your clients. This is a good enough reason on its own.
Ultimately implementing this two-part strategy means more sales, happier clients and more referrals.