The most common complaint from homebuyers when reviewing our internal bi-weekly surveys is that home buyers do not receive timely call backs from real estate agents and are left wondering. Slow follow-up can occur because of several different reasons all of which can be easily corrected. From the real estate agents point of view, they are caught in the Catch 22 of being too assertive and appearing desperate and in the worst case scenario being perceived as pushy. Home buyers and real estate agents are all different as everyone is human. The convergence of these differences can create misunderstandings and the very real concern of appearing to be either rude (contacting the home buyer too often) or disinterested (not calling the home buyer often enough). As home buyer (X) feels that they should be contacted via email every day, home buyer (Y) may feel they should be phoned once a week. This dilemma leaves real estate agents on slippery footing not knowing which buyer desires how much communication and what type of communication they prefer.
The easy way around this unfortunate situation is for the real estate agent to ask how the home buyer wishes to be communicated with and how often before the first conversation is over. After reviewing the responses from home buyers in the most recent survey there were no homebuyers that replied that they had been contacted too often by their real estate agent. By contrast over 68% of homebuyers indicated that they were not responded to in a timely fashion. This problem is relatively simple and it is easy to correct. Even after the answer is provided, few if any real estate agents will practice the solution. This low adoption percentage works in the favor of those that are willing to take the corrective actions. Regardless of how basic it requires creating a new habit and new habits require a degree of dedication and persistence which only a minority of humans possess. Another possibility is that this could be a holdover from our collective time as single people when our friends reminded us of “The Three Day Rule” which was also a great scene in the 1996 film “Swingers” starring a young John Favreau and an even younger Vince Vaughn. In the scene John Favreau’s character (Mike) calls a woman the day after meeting her. He leaves her several voice mail messages in quick succession as each message leaves out some detail that he wanted to include. Finally she calls back and says “Mike?…You are sick and never call me again”. Of course he is devastated and crumbles into a ball of self-loathing.
This is the same fear that many real estate agents have when approaching clients. They are afraid of being perceived as hard up or desperate for business. Like dating, realtors think home buyers don’t want to work with an agent that has no other takers/clients. After all the real estate agent can’t be any good if they don’t have any other clients or so the thinking goes. This is an unfortunate mindset that many of us are guilty of having and agents are no different. We all have pride and self-esteem and when someone damages these emotional shields it doesn’t feel good.
In order to overcome this entire issue before it becomes an issue we just have to ask a couple of questions.
1. “Do you respond best to emails or phone calls?” followed by
2. “I try to provide my clients the best service possible. I think that too often is better than you wondering what I am doing…if that is okay?”
By reviewing the options and how they are stated above, it is highly unlikely that a client will reply with “No, I prefer poor service” and this provides the real estate agent with the permission to call as often as needed; which should be at least twice a week. This constant and dependable communication allows the client to feel that someone is looking out for them and reduces the likelihood that they will seek services from another real estate agent.
NOTE: Notice that texting was left out of the options provided. Texting is not felt to require the same degree of response by most people.