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Communication IS the Lubrication

100% Guaranteed

Catchy headline, yes?  But I have been reflecting lately on how we can improve the “client experience”, and I was reminded of something I heard mortgage icon Greg Frost say way back in 1994.  From a stage in Palm Desert, California, Greg proclaimed that “Communication is the lubrication of a well-oiled transaction.”  I, like the hundreds in attendance, giggled at the mention of the word lubrication, but as the concept started to sink in, I saw the genius in the words.

Clients, whether they are buying or selling a home or obtaining financing, are largely in the dark about the process.  They understand the broad strokes, but are unsure of the specific steps, the work flow, and the role of all the people who have an impact on their transaction (like home inspectors, lawyers, title companies, appraisers, homeowners’ and flood insurance professionals , as well as the mortgage processor, underwriter, and closing agent).  Heck, they don’t really even know all the things their real estate agent and loan officer do for them.

Yeah, I have seen books at the bookstore; I have surfed the net for vague explanations; but, how many people feel hungry for a higher comfort level that there is a TEAM of professionals, dedicated to the clients’ best possible outcome?   My point is how can we better educate our clients, while positioning ourselves as a valued resource (and simultaneously building efficiencies into our time management systems)?  So here are some ideas that I think might help:

  1. The use of video. We are working on a library of videos with all our partners to help explain what they do, give away some inside information, and tell them what questions the consumer should ask before hiring someone in their field.  Through these 10-20 minute videos we can give away excellent content.  Whether it is “insider tips” or “secrets” from the agent, loan officer, lawyer, insurance professional, title company, home inspector or whomever….video is inexpensive and easily distributable and accessible.
  2. The use of Online Workshops (aka Webinars). We should be migrating away from seminars which cost too much money to promote and aren’t convenient for our clients.  Doing Online Workshops where people can watch from their own home is much better.  You can receive 20-90 minutes of content with or without Q&A….free of charge.  Beyond the “First Time Buyer” class, we have them on a number of topics (the FHA 203K Renovation Loan, Credit Score Optimization, Reverse Mortgages, Real Estate Investment Strategies, and more).
  3. The use of e-mail. Yes, sending e-mail for status of a transaction can work (though a phone call is better).  Moreover though, e-mail can be a more impactful branding and educational tool.  Presently, our prospect, client and past client databases receive two-to-five e-mails a week, chock full of real relevant content.  On Mondays, they get the Mortgage Market Guide to educate them on interest rate movements.  On Tuesdays, they are invited onto the week’s extensive webinar schedule.  On Wednesdays, they get a five minute semi-goofy video that teaches them some little-known nuance.  On Thursdays, they get a copy of this blog.  You get the idea….free information on a regular basis.
  4. The use of surveys. Clients want to have the ability to give and receive constant feedback; and, they want to know what’s going on.  We are working on surveys for everything (post-listing appointment through closing).  We have targeted 12 different survey-able points.  We send simple 5-10 question survey via e-mail (using surveymonkey.com) and have found our customer service levels rising and our phone calls decreasing.  Better communication, more structured delivery of feedback for everyone.
  5. The use of Skype. It’s free and powerful.  It’s a face-to-face meeting without having to drive anywhere.  It’s a complete sensory connection- audio AND visual.  It’s better than a phone call and way better than e-mail….and did I mention that it’s free.  Some agents are even installing it for the seller as they get the listing signed.  One five minute conversation a week on Skype drives the communication level way up.

When picking an agent or loan officer, understand “what they charge you” is only part of how you should pick them.  Communication is very important.  How they communicate, what content they communicate, and how often they communicate will determine your experience almost as much as the results you get.  It IS the lubrication of a well-oiled transaction!

1 reply
  1. Alex Cortez
    Alex Cortez says:

    Dean, great information. Although I have put together some first-time buyer seminars, it had never crossed my mind to do a webinar (more convenient for all parties and much cheaper). Have any of your clients been unhappy with using Skype? Although it’s free, I can see how it could be a bit inconvenient (not being able to do while mobile).

    Reply

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