Setting up a closing process can be transformative to your business. It will help you retain agents, be able to handle more transactions, and increase repeat clients due to the ease of the process. This week, we held a webinar with the Closing Wizards over at Open to Close where Andrew and I discussed the mindset and strategies to use to create a closing process, and below are some of the takeaways. The full recording is below for your viewing pleasure.
🧐 Assess your Current Closing Process
- Take stock of what you are currently doing to establish a baseline.
- Using feedback from your clients, agents, and Transaction Coordinators (if you have them) take stock of where your friction points are.
- Questions to ask might be: Where does the work pile up? At which points do your clients have lots of questions? What are items that are regularly missed? Are there any commonalities for transactions that fall out of contract? And can we be proactive in preventing them during the closing process?
- Another great source of information is your closing attorney. Meet with them regularly to discuss how the closings are going with your clients and get information about ways you can improve the process or coach your agents to approach the closing process or contract differently.
📐 Solve for Friction
- Take the answers to the questions above and begin solving each one and documenting the new SOP for which the process should be executed.
- If your clients are sending in questions at a certain point, send a proactive email educating them on what to expect at that point in the process and why it is important.
- If items are regularly missed, set automatic reminders for that item to be completed or the information gathered from the client.
- Coach your agents at a high level on the contract and any other items that your closing attorney recommends based on their experience with them.
- Introduce your newly licensed agents to the closing process so that they understand their role along with what the Transaction Coordinator and Attorney’s office are responsible for.
📋 Establish Clear Lines on Who Does What
- Having a written checklist that denotes what the agent is responsible for and what the Transaction Coordinator’s responsibilities is going to be a great resource for you. It will create a repeatable process and each person will know their role and feel secure that the other is doing their part.
- Remind your agents that, even though they have assistance, as the license holder they are ultimately responsible for the collection of those items and the satisfaction of the client. They still need to be very involved with the process and communicate with all parties at a high level.
🤝 Create a Team Culture
- Be proactive in cultivating a team culture between your agents and operations staff. Ensure that each role understands the experience of the other parties to create empathy so that you can avoid any Us vs Them mentalities.
- Coach your agents and staff on how best to interact with different personalities. Often we find that those crush it in an admin role communicate and like to receive information differently than those who excel in outside sales. The more we learn about how one another operate, the smoother the behind-the-scenes transactions will go.
- Offer opportunities for Sales and Operations to have social interactions with one another. The more we see one another with similar items of interest and cultivate relationships between the different legs of the organization, the better our systems will run.
- Ensure that the each party is on the same playing field. A Transaction Coordinator is not above the Agent on the organizational chart and vice versa. The agent could not produce as much as they do without the operational support and the operations staff wouldn’t have a career without the agent. Seeing this as a partnership also helps to foster strong positive relationships.
🧰 Utilize Tools to Create Efficiencies
- Use software (cough, Follow Up Boss, cough,) and other tools that will allow you to communicate at a very high level internally which will both save time and create a seamless experience for everyone involved: Transaction Coordinator, Agent, and Client.
- Utilize Custom Fields within your CRM so that you can scale to other types of business and other geographic areas with ease.
- Automate, but keep the human element. There are certain points in the process where it is acceptable to have an automated email and those that require a phone call or other personal communication. Determine which are which and automate what you can so that you can focus on serving the client at a high level.