In an age of intrusive technology and the ability to do business with people without ever seeing them, the real estate industry benefits greatly from keeping it mostly “face to face”. Of course, there are plenty of deals being done from across the country (especially after the REO business became so huge), but for the most part, that sense of wanting to do business with people you know and trust will never go away.
As an agent, I’ve always been adamant about meeting a prospective client in person before even talking about their investment. It gives us an opportunity to gauge each others motivations and style of doing things. For instance, every agent will tell you about at least one client who rubbed them the wrong way when they met in person and as it turned out, their gut instinct was totally correct and that client ended up being a waste of time or a headache. Some people handle these things differently depending on their circumstances, but more often than not, we tend to go with that intuitive decision we make about people when we meet them.
Clients on the other hand, are given the opportunity to have a little “job interview” type session. I would never list my property and trust my real estate investment in the hands of somebody I couldn’t get along with personally. Nor would anybody who’s smart enough to have property to sell. If you can’t sit in front of me and answer my questions in a straight-forward manner, why would I want to do business with you?
Now, with technology catching up to the industry, there’s a lack of balance. People either start their search for their real estate needs online and end up meeting someone off the internet that’s a bit weird, or they use their personal network and find someone via word-of-mouth. Either way, they’re looking for that trust. On the other side of the scale, I think it’s safe to say that most agents aren’t trained correctly. Natural talent aside, knowing how to immediately build rapport and follow the natural flow of decision-making isn’t common in real estate professionals. What ends up happening is a trial and error type of game that costs people time and money and ultimately slows down the volume of real estate transactions.
How can we find the perfect medium between “face to face” and “hi-tech”?