Mortgage, real estate industries get creative to aid clients

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Current housing market conditions are sending the real estate and mortgage industries back to the drawing board to craft strategies ultimately in support of customer acquisition and retention at a time when competition is tight.

Loan officers and real estate agents are leveraging connections, whether through social media or human interaction, to nourish relationships, while institutions are building better brokerages from the inside-out to support productivity.

Some real estate agents have even gone so far as to add "people pleasers" to their teams, in addition to the more traditional transaction managers, with the sole purpose of keeping clients content.

"Literally I'm saying, here's a credit card, go spend money and make people happy," said Jena Turner, owner-agent of Found Realty, describing the role of a new team member hired to care for customers by taking them to lunch, offering gift cards and maintaining communication.

Turner said she's experienced considerable increases in referrals with such help, and notes that upfront costs don't necessarily have to be an issue as workers can be paid on a transactional basis. She was among panelists speaking at Inman Connect New York 2019 on Tuesday.

In terms of acquiring new business, professionals can leverage social media as a tool to not only connect with potential clients but also to evaluate customer needs.

While housing market conditions certainly shift, "what's not going to change is the need for people to tell you their business all the time," said Marki Lemons-Ryhal, speaker at Marki Lemons Unlimited. "People are telling us their needs and wants in real time; sit and listen."

It's the era of the consumer for housing-related industries, and in the same way institutions aim to engage clients, they're looking to acquire and retain talent.

"If you focus on their bottom line, it'll impact your bottom line, and that's really our secret sauce," Paul Aslanian, BloomTree's realty director of business development, said when referring to nurturing agent relationships.

Similar to the way real estate and mortgage industries approach consumers, creating a pleasant work culture means treating workers like you would family and supporting them in times of need, according to Jeff Owens, president of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Big Hill.

"You're going to win agents, and keep agents, in those moments where they have problems," Owens said.

And before new members even sign on, brokerages should ensure they aren't selling what they can't offer.

"There's this idea of selling them hope, hope in our brokerage, hope in themselves, and during that process, it dawned on me that false hope is really going to create complacency," said Penny Nathan, president and CEO of Ascent Real Estate.

"There's a balance between giving hope with real, tangible, actionable critique, but don’t sell false hope; you have to believe in it and you have to have a plan," she said.

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Customer experience Mortgage brokers Real estate Housing market