Like many businesses, Estate Agents alike focus most of their efforts on ways to bring in new customers. However, instead of establishing a basis of (?) from the offset, we descend directly into marketing and social media strategies with 'just sold' social media posts, leaflet drops, cold calls and email blasts. Understandably so, it is the lifeblood of business. But these strategies are only short-term and draw on low-hanging fruit.
Second, and often thought of as the most challenging aspect in business, is keeping a competitive edge. With constant market shifts, the common misconception is that it is just too hard to keep up with what is working and what is not. But keeping an advantage is easier than you might think.
Consumers today are more hyper-aware of whom they do business with, and loyalty goes beyond who presents the best service and instead towards individuals and companies that care about being transparent, authentic, and focused on building genuine relationships over making the next sale.
This one single word will help your Estate Agency grow and thrive in even the most competitive and volatile times.
- Meaning: firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something. ("relations have to be built on trust")
- Similar: confidence, belief, faith, freedom from suspicion/doubt, sureness.
Building trust with your market will bring you long-term success and is essential for longevity, so why are so many businesses pushing it aside?
When you build trust;
- You enable evangelists ready to advocate your business, increasing brand visibility, attracting more customers, and increasing your revenue.
- Building trust establishes a solid foundation. As a result, you receive a more substantial customer base and cultivate business for continued growth.
According to a recent survey, 57% of consumers are willing to forfeit more of their money on a trusted brand to appreciate the benefits of being a loyal customer. Whereas 21% of consumers say, they are willing to leave a favoured brand because they feel they need to be more valued.
Not only that, it will instil a company culture of trust (essential) and set you apart from your competition. Estate Agents that put more time and effort into establishing long-term relationships will eventually prevail over the ones that don't.
Where do you begin?
I am sure you could recall a myriad of situations where a company or person you wanted to work with was difficult to contact, leading you to take your business elsewhere. You want your market to go through a different experience. How available you make your Estate Agency to your potential customers and clients will either increase the trust they have in you or diminish it completely.
Most of you know this already, but I will regurgitate for context: you should answer calls and emails promptly during office hours. However, when it is out of hours, what do you do?
I'm not saying you, or someone needs to 'man' a phone 24/7; that is one of the many technological joys of the 21st century where we don't have to think about staffing a 24/7 call centre so that reps can provide generic responses to common questions.
There are more efficient, accessible and cheaper ways to be available these days. So instead, look to chatbots, social media, automatic responders, and the elusive marketing automation.
I will refer directly to Lifesycle for this example. Specifically, Marketing automation and AI (Artificial Intelligence) within the CRM. By combining traditional Estate Agency CRM with Marketing software in one, Lifesycle allows your customers to update their details directly into your CRM and receive automated responses and new or updated property matches. In addition, new customers can automatically qualify themselves and receive custom messages based on their answers - turning enquiries into listing opportunities without your input and when it suits them. I don't know about you, but that sounds 'available' to me.
If you have yet to learn this, I suggest you book a demo with one of the team so they can take you through Lifesycle's unique marketing features. You can use Hubspot or Salesforce if you are looking for an equivalent. Both are industry-leading; however, they are three times the price of Lifesycle and not focused on Estate Agencies.
In addition to making your Estate Agency available, we recommend making your resources easily accessible. Including blog posts, online guides and videos.
Remember to keep these resources up-to-date and relevant. Outdated information will be little help to those seeking it and may even damage the trust your community was starting to build with your Estate Agency. Regarding resources that don't need updating, add the date you last reviewed them, so readers will know it is still current.
These are great tools because they can be accessed whenever and wherever they want. But this means more than just having them available on your website; they should be able to access them on your social channels and through an email or newsletter. In addition, this also encourages your community to read your emails and follow you on your social platforms. You can achieve this with little effort (provided you have the Martech) while harbouring excellent yields because features like email marketing, social media and newsletters should be readily available.
Knowing what is trending in the market will also help you build trust with your community. Again, I'm not talking about cultural or political issues or topics, but we (as consumers) are increasingly becoming more value-driven and therefore want the people and companies we deal with to be genuine and speak candidly and honestly, as I eluded to earlier.
When it comes to business, conventional wisdom has consistently said that it's best to steer away from controversial topics like politics and current events. However, taking a stand on the day's issues can help you build trust with your audience, whereas If your brand seems out of touch, it'll be more challenging to trust and connect with.
In an article by Kelly Jacobs, Iceberg Digital's Customer Experience Director, Kelly discusses Digital Conversations and how most people today don't want to call in to get answers and instead obtain them through their research. To further elaborate, it eludes to the fact that people are building trust with us (people, brands, and businesses) without having a single conversation. Food for thought!
Every interaction your market has with your brand, either through your website, social media, email or messaging, builds trust. If you are not building trust, likely, you are not building your business and will continue to depend on low-hanging fruit.
As a final thought
Building trust with your market is similar to building trust with anyone else, whether a new acquaintance, supplier or future in-laws.
Start slowly, but be consistent with what you do to establish a foundation of trust, and always look for ways to strengthen that trust and avoid anything that might weaken it.
If you find it beneficial, together with Estate Agency X, we are hosting another Live Session on the 18th of January 2023 around an Infinite Marketing Strategy. This session is open to anyone and will cover what processes you can put in place and how forming your identity, content marketing, newsletters, and email nurturing will help you achieve ongoing success and build trust. You can register for the event here.
With no universal secret on building trust, remember always to have your customer in mind whatever you do. Provide them with outstanding and personalised customer service. Stay honest, transparent, and contactable. Communicate your values, share your knowledge, and ask for feedback.