We’ve all seen and heard the statistics about responding quickly to leads. The faster you respond, the more likely you are to convert a lead to business. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, responsiveness is the second most coveted quality in a Realtor, next to honesty and integrity. Knowledge of the real estate market and purchasing process came in third and fourth, which means that clients care more about how fast we respond than they do about our knowledge. Additionally, NAR reports that 72% of homebuyers and sellers will complete a transaction with the first agent they speak with. Thanks to smartphones and the advancements in technology, the expectation from a consumer who submits an online inquiry is a response time of five minutes or less. I know what you might be thinking…that seems crazy! But is it?
I was recently at a holiday party and was speaking to a young couple I just met who had recently purchased their first home. I naturally asked, “who did you use as your Realtor?” They went on to tell me her name and explain that she was fairly new to the business. They also commented on several mistakes and issues that had arisen during their experience with that agent. So, I finally asked them how they had found this agent and why they chose to work with her. Their answer was simple.
She was the first one who responded to their online inquiries and always answered them quickly.
They went on to tell me that most agents would get back to them 2-3 days after they had originally submitted their online requests to see a property or to simply ask a question. Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve heard this from consumers. In addition to that, I have also had several agents who have attended one of my training sessions make the argument that “I’m too busy to call people back that quickly” or “what if I’m driving or with a client?” This is the attitude that a lot of Realtors still have and this is why so many consumers are left waiting hours or days to hear back from anyone. In today’s world, it takes seconds to text or e-mail someone and tell them when to expect your call.
I think one of the fundamentals that agents have to understand in today’s world is that the game has changed. It used to be that consumers needed a Realtor because they had access to the listings and to information. That is no longer the case. In today’s world, the consumer has access to almost all the information they need. Yet, the majority of consumers still value the services that a Realtor provides. This is because they want and need someone they know, like and trust to guide them through the process. The shift in our industry is that consumers are more focused on the experience you’re going to provide, than they are on knowledge and the information you have access to.
Considering how much the consumer is relying on their experience with a Realtor, a great first step is to respond to their inquiry as quickly as possible. They say you only get one chance to make a great first impression, and that could not be truer than when it comes to responsiveness in real estate. All the experience and knowledge in the world is not going to impress someone as much as when you call or respond to someone quickly.