Let’s face it. The holidays are a stressful time of year. Between baking treats, attending parties, fighting crowds, wrapping presents, mailing cards, decorating, and dealing with relatives you likely don’t see much during the year – it’s a lot to handle. A 2008 holiday stress poll by the APA showed that more than 8 out of 10 Americans anticipate stress during the holiday season. If this sounds like something you can relate to, you might be able to use this experience to help your business!
One the best things you can do for you business is to understand the psyche of your clients. 76% of first time homebuyers and 54% of homebuyers overall describe the home-buying process as extremely stressful. So likely, your leads, prospects and clients have the same type of stress you’re experiencing right now when they come to you looking for a home.
So as you walk through this holiday season, take note of your stress levels, where they are coming from, and how they could be diminished. Use this knowledge as an opportunity to make some adjustments to your website experience.
Show them the butter
You’re at your local grocery store at 11:00 PM buying another four sticks of butter for cookies your kid needs the next day for his school party. Note what a difference it makes when the worker shows you where the butter is instead of just pointing to it. They went out of their way to make your life easier and to showed you exactly what you were looking for rather than simply sending you in a general direction and forcing you to fend for yourself. How can you apply this to your business?
Apply it to your website – Is your site optimized to bring people to the butter or does it only show them the general direction? If an online visitor is looking for a home in a specific neighborhood or school district, having a site that allows them to customize their search can make a huge difference. By supplying this, visitors are directed to not only ask questions, but understand which questions to ask. Then, your site will automatically show them only the homes most most compatible to them with the option to receive automatic e-mail updates when similar homes become listed.
Check in with them
You’ve placed an order for that one-of-a-kind, must-have-but-impossible-to-get doll for your daughter, which you’ve promised Santa is bringing. The company you ordered it from sends you a confirmation number, an e-mail when it shipped with a tracking number, a notice when it’s delivered and a thank you e-mail upon receipt. You know the entire time that the package will arrive in time, giving you peace of mind and saving you from the stress of not knowing. Doesn’t that make a big difference?
Apply it to your website – Stay in contact with your clients through your website. Even when they don’t appear to be active, you know they’re likely thinking about their new home. So send them automatic updates on properties that come on the market that match their search criteria. Remind them that your company is there for them when they need you and that you represent a trusted guide in this process. A lot of this technology can be automated, so it provides a stellar experience for your customers while saving your agents a lot of time.
Make them feel welcome
After the fifteenth holiday party, you can spot a good host with your eyes closed. A good host greets you at the door, makes you feel welcome, introduces you to others at the party, checks to make sure you have enough to eat and drink, and generally creates a festive atmosphere with lighting, music, and perhaps decorations.
Imagine coming to a party after a long day. You knock on the door, but no one answers, so you let yourself in. You know the host, but she’s nowhere in sight and so you’re forced to interrupt people’s conversations to ask where to put your coat. The lights are bright, there’s no music playing, and the party-thrower forgot to let you know you were responsible for providing your own food and beverage. Sound like fun?
Apply it to your website – Buying a home is intimidating. So make visitors to your site feel comfortable, like a good host. Give them one thing to do or search for that starts their process off slow. Don’t immediately show them every property you have on your site or all the testimonials, press, or other accolades you’ve received. Those components are great to have on your site, but presenting everything to a first time visitor can be overwhelming. So keep it simple and walk them through the process. Start with small steps and let them expand their search organically.
As you enjoy this holiday season, notice what people around you did to alleviate some of your stress. Perhaps you can use this knowledge to improve the experience of your prospects and clients in the coming year.