Relationships, The Consumer Buying Process, and Real Estate!
By Shawn Sturges Infinity Property Ventures, LLC
The process to purchase real estate whether for personal or as investments for the future can be an important decision. In order to ease the purchase decision real estate companies should build a relationship throughout the process as well as the post purchase. Real estate is not usually an impulse buy therefore a relationship development between company and client is a crucial part of the sale of any property within the portfolio of the company.
Problem or Opportunity Recognition
The first step in the consumer purchase decision is problem or opportunity recognition, and is where the development of a relationship can be forged. Homebuyers realize that they have a need to enter the market for any number of potential properties to add to their lives. One reason for their entry into the market is the attractiveness of the real estate environment which in turn allows real estate companies to meet the needs of these consumers. The realization by the consumer for a property places the real estate companies in the driver’s seat to help the consumer find the most appropriate property that meets their needs. The relationships that these companies have developed with past clients can become the key ingredient to capture the attention of the new consumers that enter the market.
The second step in the buying process is the search and the amount of time along with effort that the consumer places upon this very important step. Consumers begin their search with the identification of all potential companies that can meet their real estate needs. This is where the relationship development process is perhaps at its peak in terms of attracting clientele. This does not necessarily mean face-to-face relationship building in the beginning, but can instead be the advertising or social media interaction that the company is involved in as part of their business strategy. Advertisements can help build brand recognition in the hopes to become part of the clients’ evoked set. The evoked set is the alternatives that the client can easily recall with minimal research at the beginning of the purchase decision. The real estate company does not need to spend large amounts of marketing dollars to become part of this evoked set if they have great relationship skills. Many times clients may turn to friends, family or business partners to help identify some alternatives that they should look into during the process. This simply means build relationships with all of your clients whether or not they end up purchasing a property from the company portfolio because they might just refer future clients to your company.
Evaluation of Alternatives
The third step of the process is the evaluation of all alternatives that are in the evoked set of the client. This can truly make or break the real estate company when closing the sale. If clients are considering a potential company because they have a desired property in their portfolio then they will spend some time with that company. The relationship skills of the agent on behalf of the real estate company can help the process move to the next step, but if a relationship to ease indecisiveness of such a large decision is not met then the result may be the loss of a sale. One way to build the relationship and solidify your company as part of the evoked set is develop a genuine interest in the client’s needs and be part of their home buying experience. People are very perceptive to others emotions, so if the agent only sees them as just another sale this could negatively impact the current as well as future sales. This ability to build a relationship with the current client can lead to the ability to become part of the evoked set of future clients due to the fact that a satisfied client will be more apt to share their experience with others.
This is the step in the process in which the client will purchase a particular property that they are interested in at that point in time. The relationship that the agent and company have cultivated with the client can not only close the sale, but help continue the financial health of the company. Prior to the purchase decision the client would have done their research since they will potentially spend somewhere in the six figure range for most properties, so the ability to develop relationships can truly ease the decision to close the sale.
Post Purchase Decision
Although this step varies depending on the product or service that will be purchased this step is still important to real estate companies. This is the point in time where buyer’s remorse begins to set in especially as a result from high priced items. In regards to real estate purchases this can be mitigated by follow ups in order to see how the new owners are with their purchase. Another way to help out with the post purchase is the ability of the real estate company to refer their new client to other companies that can help them with the client’s home such as plumbers, electricians, and landscapers. These added value options can not only help the client turn their property into greatness, but help with the future referrals by the satisfied client to others that are in the market for a property.
Every client in the market for a property will eventually navigate the consumer buying process whether or not they are aware of the process. The real estate companies themselves should be aware of this process along with each step in order to better serve their current and future clients. One great way to nurture these clients’ business is through the development of relationships. There are various ways to foster these relationships throughout the process and will vary depending on which step a particular client is in at that point in time. The ability to develop relationships along with the knowledge of the purchase decision process can truly help with the future success of the company through the development of a growing network of clients that will not only share their experience, but return to the company for any future real estate needs.