Viewing the closing as a starting point not a finish line

Great agents know that their job isn't over when the transaction closes. After you've achieved the sale, closed the deal, cashed the commission check, and spent the money, it's time to start fortifying your client relationship. Sure you need to get on to the next income-producing activity. But, as you cultivate your next deal, don't make the mistake of turning your back on the clients you just served.

In fact, your clients could need you more after their closing than at any previous point in your relationship for any of the following reasons:

i After moving into their new home, the clients may have discovered repair issues that need attention. They may need the name of someone who can fix their roof, or they may want names of service providers that do quality work and are honest, trustworthy, and fair.

i Their home taxes may have shot up substantially and they may need you to evaluate the marketplace, research comparable properties, and complete a report of your findings that they can use to contest the increase in their property's taxable value.

i Your clients' home purchase may have sparked their interest in building wealth through real estate investments. They may be thinking about how to secure their retirement or how to create a nest egg for their children's college educations. If your clients view real estate as a piece in their build-the-wealth puzzle, they may seek your advice about how to acquire and retain properties as a key step toward wealth creation.

i Your clients may simply be interested in how the market around them is doing. When you call these clients to chat, you're likely to get the question, "What's happening in the marketplace?" Now that they're homeowners, your clients are vested in the local real estate marketplace. Become their resource and you'll be first in line when they're ready to make the next physical or investment move.

After reading this list you may wonder why an agent needs to be told that the closing must be viewed as the first step toward securing a long client relationship and countless service opportunities. The reason is that research shows this is an area of agent deficiency.

jjtiMlEfl The National Association of Realtors completed a study over a series of years to gauge the public's perception of real estate agents. They found that 69 percent of consumers rate the service they received from their agent as satisfactory or better. However, only 24 percent of clients used the same agent on an upcoming deal that they used on their previous transaction. The fact that fewer than one out of four clients went back to use the same agent, even though the majority of clients felt that their previous transaction was handled satisfactorily, is a shocking testimony to the fact that agents aren't developing long-term relationships. And from here, the figures get even worse. In 2004, the total number of real estate transactions hit an all-time high, resulting in 6.8 million sales in a single year. Of those 6.8 million sales, 21 percent, or approximately 1.4 million deals, involved experienced buyers and sellers who conducted investment or second home transactions. When asked whether they used an agent they had previously worked with, only 13 percent, or 884,000 of these experienced clients, said yes. A full 87 percent, or 5.9 million sales, were handled by an agent the consumer had never used before.

These stats reek of poor after-the-sale communication and woefully short relationship development. The only logical conclusion is that, in general, after-the-sale service in the real estate industry really stinks. The next section helps you break the stereotype.

Creating After-the-Sale Service m

If you don't plan for it, after-the-sale service won't happen. You'll get so consumed with the next deal and with the task of earning the next commission check that you'll overlook the opportunity to create long-term revenue through your past clients.

An after-the-sale service program is like many things in life: difficult to start and difficult to maintain. People get derailed before they take the first step and if they don't take the first step — the step that involves establishing the program they commit to follow — they can't begin to meet the objective.

Use this section to guide you as you create your own after-the-sale service plan. It helps you define exactly what you need to do in the first 30 days after the sale, and shows you how to maintain the plan on an ongoing basis.

What You Need to Know About Real Estate

What You Need to Know About Real Estate

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