Relationship or Transactional? A tale of two agents

Sales volume or best customer service?  That is what splits the real estate industry today.

Most conferences, training and coaching focuses on how to drum up new business and leads with very little devoted on how to build long-term profitable client relationships.  Most agent budgets are spent on marketing which comes with no guarantees and often no way to measure returns.  Age-old gimmicks like “I’m number one” or offering free home evaluations no longer get as much as a wink from even the most naïve clients.

Most agents can be split into two camps.  The transactional agent and the relationship agent.

When top agents were asked what they wished they had done earlier in their career, the most consistent answer was focus on building relationships with their clients and not just chasing transactions.

The reason why is pretty simple.   Chasing transactions is like living in a hamster wheel.   You could be doing it for a decade very successfully, but eventually the 80-hour workweeks catch up with you.   You’re not building anything sustainable and with every transaction, you’ll start at zero.

A relationship agent can wake up on January 1st and know that over half of their year is already accounted for through repeat and referral clients.   A well-mined database of 200 past clients who you’ve left a lasting impression on, converting at 20% a year makes for a very solid business.

But those referrals don’t happen accidentally and they most certainly won’t happen if all you’re focusing on is the transaction.

The most successful relationship agents are the ones who spend most of their resources on serving clients and delivering an extraordinary experience.  Put yourself in a client’s shoes for a moment.   Say you just bought a new home and are about to close.

The transactional agent disappeared shortly after the deal was signed and was nowhere to be found.   On closing day, you drive to your lawyer to pick up the keys, get delayed by 3 hours, overpay the movers for having to wait and arrive at your new place, which has been left filthy by the previous owners.

The relationship agent has been in touch every week since taking the listing.  They’re always offering to help and make sure the entire process goes smooth.  On closing day, your key has already been picked up by your agent (instead of you schlepping down to your lawyer’s office).   Your place was left a little dirty by the previous owners, so your agent made hired a cleaning crew to make it sparkling.   A locksmith has already dropped by and changed your locks.  Your kitchen counter has a fresh bouquet of flowers and there’s a bottle of champagne chilling on the counter.

Which agent would you do business with?  Which agent do you think build extremely profitable business and eventually stop working evenings and weekends?

If you’re thinking this makes sense, but think you cannot afford to do this, let me ask you this.   What do you think would get a better return on your investment?  $1000 in marketing, or spending $500 on delivering this type of experience to every client you have?

It is never too late to drop the transactional mindset and build relationships that will give you longevity in the business.   It takes commitment, investment and vision, but in the long-term, you’ll be thankful you started now.