In a perfect and ideal world, the buying process for a potential client’s new home could go something like this: through your website, a portal or word of mouth, you can capture the attention of a contact. O leads (do you want to know how to turn leads into customers? Here is the link); you talk to this potential customer for just 5 minutes, already offering him some solutions that you will realize through the visit of two or three properties; and close the deal in a few simple steps.
Unfortunately, in real life, it’s not all that quick and easy. In most cases, in fact, you find yourself dedicating a lot of time and effort to cultivating a relationship with a potential customer before they actually buy a property. More importantly, the needs of buyers in today’s real estate market are changing faster and faster. Precisely for this reason, today more than ever it is important to understand the purchasing process of your customers (or customer journey ) to follow them adequately, from the first contact to the actual purchase (to get advice on how to sell more quickly homes of your customers, this article may also be useful !).
Stages of the customer journey
The customer journey can be defined as the process followed by the buyer, which begins with the first phase of awareness, and then moves on to consideration, up to the final decision. The customer journey of a customer in real estate lasts approximately from eleven to twenty-seven months, so it is an extremely long process. From this, you can understand how important it is to build a solid foundation for a long-term relationship.
When it comes to the customer journey, it is important to emphasize that it is a problem-oriented process, that is, it is focused on a problem that your potential customers have, and not on the product. For this reason, we advise you to focus not so much on exposing the properties that you can offer them, but on defining a solution suited to their needs. So, your potential customers are not pulled into a real sales process, but they become part of a structured mechanism that will lead them to find a solution to their problems.
Also, keep in mind that the entire customer journey is buyer-driven, meaning focused on the potential buyer. Therefore, your focus should be on your potential customers: only in this way will you really be able to understand your customers’ needs, as well as their problems, and therefore will you be able to provide them with the most appropriate solution.
Here are the various stages of the customer journey of a potential buyer in real estate, with suggestions on how you should behave to strengthen relationships with these customers, thus maximizing your earnings.
Step 1: Consideration
In this first step, the potential customer usually asks himself a series of questions, such as: what kind of house would I want? Which neighborhood would I like to go to live in? Is this the right time to buy?
Judging by the type of questions, you can easily deduce that at this moment there is still no deep-rooted interest in buying a house, but only ideas that are whirling in the head of a person who does not yet know what to do in his future. .
For this reason, we advise you to have a soft approach towards those who are in this first phase of the purchase process: simply let them know that you are ready to respond to any request, without pushing them to make decisions.
Remember, as in the proverb “the first love is never forgotten”, also in this case the first agent is the one who has the greatest probability of success, so your first approach can really leave its mark!
Step 2: Search online
Having arrived at this second step of the customer journey, the main questions that your potential customer asks may be: what can I afford in the area/areas where I would like to live? What can I find in this area/areas (schools, restaurants, etc.)?
At this stage, therefore, your contact really begins to look around for a first general analysis, even if he is not yet ready for any type of purchase or stipulation of contracts. Right now the web plays a really decisive role: 90% of buyers in the real estate market start their research online. For this reason, the real estate portal tool becomes fundamental.
Also, make sure that your website is up to date and that it adequately communicates your brand and the value you offer. Only if your site is able to arouse the right interest, users will be willing to leave you their data for any future contacts.
Once they join your contact list, send them relevant and useful information that allows you to build relationships based on trust.
Phase 3: Active research
At this point, the prospect is ready to visit some properties together with his agent that is you. The main questions it asks itself are mainly related to you and your skills: How many properties have this agent sold since the beginning of the year or in the previous year? How well do you know the area of interest? Could he really be able to find my dream home?
The potential buyer at this stage is aware of what he wants and what he can afford, so he wants to carry out more detailed and concrete research. As an agent, you should make yourself available to show him potential solutions and give him appropriate advice, based on his needs. Having the right answers at the right time is crucial in this step, so develop active communication.
Step 4: Purchase
In this customer journey phase, your customer needs an agent who is able to negotiate a contract, thus guiding them through the actual purchase process. Its main problems can be the following: how much do I have to offer for this house? What alternatives do I have? Am I competing with other buyers?
This is your chance to shine. Provide excellent service, with adequate guidelines and advice. Your personality and negotiation skills are essentially your calling card for the future.
Usually, the time it takes to negotiate a purchase is around 20 days, so try to move as quickly and efficiently as possible to increase your customer satisfaction. Thanks to the trust that comes from the relationship between you and your customers, you give them a reason to work with you again, or you are simply laying the foundations to start a positive word of mouth mechanism between family and friends.
Phase 5: After-sales
In this last step, most of those who have bought a house would like to be updated on the trend of the real estate market and more precisely on any changes in the value of their property.
Keep in touch with your clients by sending them always current and updated information on the local real estate market. This helps you keep the relationship alive so that in case of future needs, your old customers can come back to you (for example, if they have to buy/sell/rent a house).
Contact them via social media or via newsletters. 84% of customers say they would like to have the support of the same agent they referred to in the past, so maintaining the relationship is essential for the future. This is perhaps the most neglected phase by real estate agents, but we believe it is crucial to building over time an excellent reputation among its customers and in general in its community.
At this point, you will surely have understood the importance of including effective management of your prospects in your marketing strategy. Make yourself part of the customer journey of your customers: only in this way can you create a stable customer base, and ensure a growing income over time.