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The Consumer Experience- Real Estate

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Mapping the Consumer Experience

You as a real estate professional know an understand that you’re great at what you do. The knowledge you bring to the table is invaluable in your eyes, simply because you do what you do, every day. Add to the top of that your ability to reach out online to the consumer- you’re a superstar agent.

Now, lets think about all the ways in which you touch your client before they’re actually clients (Vendors should take notice as well.) We begin with your message to the broad consumer. You’re attempting to reach out to as many people as you can with a solid message, or are you? Are you trying to say to many things to to many people? Or are you clean and concise in exactly what you can and will do for them? Look at all levels of marketing when doing this.

Next would be your website. Again, are you all things to all people? Or are you clear on your area of expertise? Are you delving into so many areas that you are confusing the consumer at the first experience?

Next look at the mechanics of your site. Is the copy easy to read, is the site simple to navigate, and have you defined your product or service?

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Do the mechanics work? Is your idx program the best for the consumer? Is it buggy, is the data on time, does the program really work the way it was intended now being blended into your site? Would you use your site in a demonstration to sell this idx feed if you had to? Would your idx vendor use your site as a demonstration to a crowd to sell their service? Are the controls within it easy to use, simple to navigate, and does it function properly? Last but not least, do you ask for the sale?

Once the buyer attempts to reach you, what is your response time? Are systems in place to allow for the consumer to ask questions, talk to you, or at least reach a human when the mood has struck them to respond to your advertising and marketing? What about problems with the site? Is assistance easily reached while avoiding the tendency to sell?

Lastly (but only for this post), are you willing to test your answers with real time consumer response? Have you asked a client to take the experience and asked for constructive feedback at the time of closing? Are you everything you cracked yourself up to be? Or could you improve the quality of the consumer experience?

The experience doesn’t end with your marketing and advertising, it begins there. It actually ends with you. The same efforts we put into marketing and branding should be put into the service we as professionals deliver. Do you have a comment line? Do you have an impartial consumers complaint department? Do you have your own professional standards policies in place on your site? If you don’t, why not?

Defining your business is part of being in business. Remembering to elevate the consumer experience in your practice keeps you in business.

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Larger brokerages need to take heed in what I’m laying out here. I realize that agents are not your employees and that distinction is very important. However, having standards as part of the practice and releasing those agents that do not rise to the level of those standards is important and practical. Selling is not the most important thing to a selling business, the client is- we all live this reality every day, employed or unemployed.

The excuse of being an independent w/little budgets is no longer an excuse. These questions are answered easially within yourself. Are you willing to realize the consumer experience you offer and shine a light on it? Does it pass the test? These are some basic ideas on places to look where problems may be presenting unknown to you. I hope that you’ll begin a personal and or corporate map of the consumer experience you offer.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Daniel Rothamel

    February 27, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    This is very good advice for agents and brokers everywhere. The things you are talking about evaluating are things that we have recently put more emphasis on, in order to do a better job in measuring in our business.

    Even doing simple things like asking the question, “how did you find out about me” (or something similar) can open the door to a meaningful discussion and increased understanding of your business.

    I think that agents in general (myself included), even the best ones, might do an excellent job of serving their clients and customers, but could do an even better job by taking the time to ask questions and gain input from those same clients and customers.

  2. Teresa Boardman

    February 27, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Nice post. i know that sounds lame but you hit so many of the basics. i remember when I first started as a Realtor, the biggest mistake I made was trying to be all things to all people every where. I am much more focused on my market and so are my web sites. Most agents are afraid to do that becasue they think they will lose business. if I am losing business it does not matter becaause I am getting the business I want.

  3. North Georgia Homes

    February 28, 2008 at 6:19 am

    It’s always a good idea to put yourself in the customers shoes when evaluating how your business is doing along with customer responses can help you best to only improve on what you have already implemented and remind one to stay on task.

    Customer service and finding your niche in the business and hard, honest work can only bring wealth and success.

  4. Benn Rosales

    February 28, 2008 at 9:22 am

    You’re absolutely correct, and for anyone reading, customer service isn’t what we’re talking about evaluating- what we’re talking about is an evaluation of the actual servicing you’re offering. Low tech or high tech, a service is useless if the consumer doesn’t like it, and generally tweaking those services can make all the world of difference.

  5. Will Barnard

    March 9, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Great post! Just to take it one step further, it is not only important to market your services in a multitude of fashions in an attempt to “get the word out” about and you your company, but to be in a position to follow through with the promises made to the clients or potential clients. In my business (real estate investing and marketing), it is imperative that we deliver on the promise and execute “the little things” not only during the sale, but long after. This encourages repeat business and referrals which is the backbone of all service related businesses.

    My company, Nationwide Property Investments, LLC, goes to great lengths to insure customer satisfaction, not only during the sale, but many years to follow. On the investment side of real estate, you are either a company after a “marketing commission” or a company willing to stand by the investment and services you provide in order to acquire a long-term relationship with that client.

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