The Power of Empathy and Trust
For people in real estate, in this digitally disrupted world, the ability to form deep connections with people will matter the most. Kylie Davis, Head of Content and Product Marketing at CoreLogic says, “I heard a great quote that ‘In the future, efficiency will be for the bots, but relationships will always be for the humans’ because that’s what we excel at as people.” Now more than ever, Kylie believes agents have to develop their emotional skills and empathy.
Recent extensive research CoreLogic conducted on both seller and buyer perceptions of real estate agents confirmed this. Kylie says, “Buyers and sellers actually want the same thing from a real estate agent. They want someone who’s trustworthy, someone who’s going to guide them through the process, someone who’s going to be a good communicator, who’s going to flag things that they need to deal with at the time that they need to deal with them. They want basically to be coached and mentored through that whole buying and selling process. That’s not different. What was really different between buyers and sellers is that a seller is more likely to receive that from an agent. That makes sense because in Australia real estate agents are paid for by the vendor.”
“Twenty six per cent, I think, said that they were going to list their property next time straight away with that person.”
Further Kylie says that the research also revealed, “…how much business you can win as a real estate agent if you look after buyers. In fact, buyer care is one of the most neglected assets that a lot of real estate agents have. We know that because I think 14% of buyers had an excellent experience with the real estate agent that they bought from, but that number is like 31% for vendors. What happens as a buyer when do you have a great experience with a real estate agent is that, that is such a rare thing that you tell all your friends and you recommend that person to them. You get referral business straight away from the person that’s bought. They remember you. They will want to do business again.
A double dip occurs if you look after all buyers. Kylie says, “What happens when you execute great buyer care is that you are putting clients into your funnel, for a couple of years down the track sure, but in the meantime they’re referring you to all of their friends and family. A very small proportion of people are delivering that kind of service that gets them that kind of referrals. If you want to stand out from the crowd, start looking after your buyers.”
The research also showed that one of the major sources of irritation for the consumer is pricing. Kylie says, “Consumers hate not being told what the price is. There’s lots of research out there already that shows that if you don’t put in an address on something, you just lose people straight away. Pricing is important because of trust. If the pricing is dramatically wrong, people feel that they are being tricked or cheated which means that they feel that they have to be really careful and cautious with you. Modern buyers don’t actually like that.”
Kylie says that the research shows that people will make, “…200 data points before they actually contact the agent. That might be look at the bedrooms, look at the kitchen, look at the photos. What happens is when they have the information that the agent gave them independently verified by their own searches, that immediately reflects well back onto the agent and becomes kind of like an echo chamber of trust. It becomes, ‘Well, you know he wasn’t lying to me. He or she told me the truth. All these other stats are kind of in the same ballpark or marrying to say the same picture’.” Once a consumer has completed their research therefore, and the agent affirms their research and concerns about price, the consumer thinks – okay I can trust you.
If computers are taking away all the boring and repetitive work from real estate, what’s left are the human skills. Agents will be successful if they convey trust and authenticity. Kylie says, “We’re moving completely away from this idea that it’s just a transaction. It’s not. It’s not about product. It’s not about a transaction. It’s not about just buying or selling. It’s not about the agent just playing in that buy/sell negotiate space. It’s about a relationship. It’s about trust. It’s about that human contact and empathy. It’s about guidance and support.”
In terms of what CoreLogic can offer clients, Kylie says, “Where we feel that we have real value is around that whole concept of smart growth. It’s about how the data becomes the analytics and the analytics become the insight and then the insights help you understand, ‘Oh, so this is what I do next. Now that I know this, obviously I have to do this’. What we are doing increasingly is getting behind the, ‘Here’s all the stuff that you need to know, but actually that means that you now do this and this is how you do it’. We’re guiding our clients to grow their business using our insights and analytics so that they’re making decisions based on reality and facts as opposed to just what kind of feels right, but also at the same time being able to align what feels right to the data so that they know they’re going in in the right direction.”
From CoreLogic’s research
Sellers really quite like their agents
66% of sellers had a good or an excellent experience with an agent.
Sellers expect agents to know what the house is worth, to know about the neighbourhood, to be good at open for inspections and they expect marketing to be absolutely on par.
What really gives agents gold stars are:
- Great communication skills.
- Timely rapid response.
- Being ahead of the information curve
- Highlighting if something feels like it’s about to go off the rails, but pre-empting that.
- Empathy – sellers value thoughtful, caring agents who offer reassurance and empathy about what sellers are going through.