When it comes to winning new clients, many times it comes down to a buyer or seller making a choice of who they want to work with. So how can you give yourself the best chance of being chosen over your competitors?
The process of how we make choices as consumers has changed drastically in recent years. With so much information at our fingertips, we can easily consult many different sources in just minutes. In times past, when someone decided to buy or sell a home, they’d ask their friends and relatives if they knew a good real estate agent to work with (or they had a friend or relative who was a real estate agent). Maybe they flipped through the yellow pages. Maybe they just walked into a real estate office. Or, maybe they pulled out the business card they’d been handed by an ambitious agent doing some good-old-fashioned, door-to-door “shoe-leather” work, canvassing the neighborhood.
At least I think that’s what used to happen. To be honest, I’ve had the Internet and Google in my life since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.
Today, when we want to find or research a product or service, we search Google, visit websites, read online reviews, check out social media profiles, and the list goes on. We can check all these sources immediately, right from our mobile devices.
So how do you use this new decision making process to your advantage? Let’s look at three keys to making sure you’re the agent potential clients choose.
1. Get found
To have any shot at being chosen, obviously you have to be present. The dodgeball captain can’t pick the big kid with a strong arm who isn’t in gym class today. Regardless of how great you are, if you’re non-existent in someone’s Google search, your chances of being found are slim to none, and slim just rode out of town. When it comes to online search, getting found means using SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click ads). Each of those could be their own series of blog posts, so I won’t dive too far into them here. That being said, here’s one of my best suggestions: Update your website regularly with useful content that’s focused on your local market. You also want to make sure it includes keywords you’d like to rank for. The best way to do this is to blog…a lot. It seems intimidating, but you just have to force yourself to develop the habit of blogging at least once a week. It’s one of the best ways to get love from search engines, plus it’s the perfect opportunity to provide the answers that potential buyers and sellers are looking for. In a recent interview, serial startup entrepreneur and marketing master Hiten Shah was asked if his website’s traffic was suddenly all gone and he had to rebuild it using only one markting tactic, what would he do? Shah responded:
“I would start blogging. I’d set a goal of blogging at least 2-3 times a week and writing posts that the audience loves.”
A Google search is one of the most likely ways a client might find you online, but it’s not the only way. It’s also important to be engaged where your potential clients are active - for example, social media. Again, it’s the idea of being present (and active). With the number of people on social media, checking it often, and being in the mindset to consume information, doesn’t it make sense to be there with them, providing the information they’re looking for?
2. Provide the right content
The ‘right’ content means something that is helpful and timely. Content can be in nearly any form - an eBook, a blog post, website page, infographic, e-mail, video, etc. The idea here is to provide the information people are searching for. For example, first-time buyers might be looking for some information on how to get a loan, what to expect when buying their first home, or potential pitfalls for first-time buyers to avoid. If they get this information from you, you’re showing them your expertise. You’re showing them you’re more than equipped to help them through the buying process. You’re showing them you have the answers to their questions, and that’s a huge boost to your chances of being chosen as their agent.
It’s also important to make this content easy to access, while still using it for lead generation. For example, a simple form on a landing page on your website that allows someone to download an eBook is a good balance. You’re getting something of value (a lead) and so is the prospective client (helpful information from an expert).
3. Put your best foot forward
Since we’ve established there are many ways for potential clients to find you online, you have to make sure that when they find you, they see someone they’d love to work with. One huge key to this is communication. Bad communication is one of the top complaints clients have when it comes to their real estate agent. With that in mind, good communication could be a great way to win a client in the first place. Respond to inquiries as quickly as you can, and use the channel preferred by the potential client, whether it’s e-mail, phone, text message, or carrier pigeon. The key here is to show them you’re reliable and they’re important to you.
When it comes to social media, keep your profiles clean, updated, and full of client success stories. Have a testimonial page on your website with glowing quotes from your best customers. Make sure your online reviews are good (if you’re doing your job well and treating people right, you shouldn’t be afraid of online reviews, you should embrace them!). It’s smart to use this ‘social proof’ in all of your marketing. It’s one of the strongest ways you can show potential clients that they too can have a great experience with you.
Making sure your professionalism shines through is incredibly important, but so is your humanity. People like to work with other real people. Connecting with someone based on common interests like sports, kids, food, or hobbies, gives you a leg up on your competition who they might see as “just a real estate agent.” You can weave these topics into your social media, blog posts, and more.
Being mindful of the things I’ve discussed in this post, and making an effort to address them will put you ahead of your competition when today’s buyers and sellers are choosing which real estate agent to work with. Now go win some new clients!