In today's Agent Insights, Karen Fiddler, a Broker and Realtor in Laguna Beach, California - shares a story that dramatically illustrates the importance of exceptional customer service. As we head into the new year, consider scheduling more networking time into your weekly schedule to accomodate referral opportunities.
3 years ago, I wasted an afternoon. At least that's what many real estate agents would think.
I took out a young couple who had not talked to a lender... did not have a prequal... and had no idea what they could afford. Frankly, they were not ready to buy at all.
We spent the afternoon looking at a few homes and talking about the home buying process. After a couple of hours, they had a solid understanding of the process and the costs of buying a home.
I sent them away with a few homes on their mind and the number of my lender. The next day, they called to tell me they were not quite qualified to buy, but now they had a good plan and they would call me when they were ready.
It was a waste of an afternoon... or was it?
A week or so later, I received a call from the father of the young man that I talked to about the home buying process. He thanked me for my time with the "kids" and expressed his gratitude for helping the couple understand the process. He said they were very focused and he appreciated that. Then he asked, "Do you also handle listings?" Why yes I do! I listed the parents' home a few months later, and sold it.
Still think it was a waste? Wait... there's more!
A year later, I received a call from one of the couple's friends.
Also a first time home buyer - this young woman was qualified, but nervous about buying. My original young couple (who I "wasted" time with) suggested she call me because I made the process seem so easy. Shortly thereafter, I helped this young woman buy her first home.
Last week, I also closed on the beautiful new home for the original couple. You see, they planned well and were eventually able to buy a nice house. They paid off some debt and saved more money. Their new home is perfect for them....and for little one on the way. :)
So did I waste that afternoon 3 years ago? I think it's fair to say no - I did not.
It's important to remember that the real estate business is not about instant sales. Instead, agents need to be focusing on excellent customer service. You never know when dedicating an afternoon to first time homebuyers looking for answers will turn into a solid referral network with commisions abound!
When you speak with first time homebuyers, be mindful of the fact that they are most likely friends with other locals who may be considering their first home. By letting them know you are willing and able to discuss the ins and outs of investing in real estate, you're setting yourself up for referrals.
Karen is a real estate agent specializing in Laguna Beach, California and surrounding areas. She prides herself on a strong customer-service centric approach to running her business and it's definitely paying off! To learn more about Karen, visit her website - www.Search4OCHomes.com.
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