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Real estate agents: Your zero moments of truth

A Moment of Truth is when the customer touches your process. The term was popularized in 1987 by Jan Carlzon, CEO of Scandinavian Airlines in his book titled “Moments of Truth.” One of his secrets to delivering a “wow!” level of service is to manage your zero Moments of Truth. What does the customer experience when they see your yard sign or newsletter, when they ask a friend about you, when they come to your office, hear your voice on the phone, explore your website, or meet you face to face? Elevate each of these moments to deliver a memorable experience.

In 2011, Google coined the term Zero Moments of Truth in their ebook “ZMOT.” These are the critical moments in the process when the customer makes a decision, or partial decision, to buy your product or service. In real estate, there are three critical ZMOTs, that you need to manage.

Zero Moment of Truth #1: The customer is introduced (or reintroduced) to you through advertising, personal interaction or a referral. Most people, on average, know 12 Realtors. Your goal is to be the Top of the Mind Realtor through your Frequency of Interaction (we call FLOW), and by building relationships, which lead to referrals. This is a critical moment when the customer is making a preliminary decision on which of their known 12 Realtors to consider. They decide you may be the one and they move to the next step.

Zero Moment of Truth #2: This ZMOT is relatively new, as it was introduced with the invention of the internet. It is a game changer. Pre-internet, there were only two Zero Moments of Truth. Customers simply went from top-of-mind awareness (ZMOT #1) to an appointment with you (ZMOT #3). Today they go through this important intermediate step: They check you out online first.  What do you look like? What’s your track record? How do you market homes? Based on this due diligence, they decide to contact you and go to ZMOT #3. 

Zero Moment of Truth #3: How do you handle the appointment? Customers are looking for the “three Cs” – competence, confidence, and connection. Do they feel you are competent to do the job? Do they have confidence (trust) in you? Do they feel that you’re personally connected, that you care about them and that you’re there to help them move to the next chapter of their lives? 

In my experience and research, Realtors need to pay more attention to ZMOT #2, and here’s why: Most of the decision about buying a home or hiring a Realtor to sell one is made in ZMOT #2. Here are two telling statistics from the 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, which is published by the National Association of Realtors.  

1. For buyers: Buyers looked at an average of nine homes before writing a contract. Interestingly, five of those nine were “virtual viewing” on the internet. Only four homes were physically inspected. How your listing shows up online (ZMOT #2) will determine if it makes the finals.  

2. For sellers: A whopping 77% of sellers chose to only interview one Realtor. Basically, they made their decision in ZMOT #2. If the Realtor does a reasonable job in the interview, they have the listing. If the Realtor or the Realtor’s marketing materials don’t show well online (ZMOT #2), they never even get the appointment.  

What does this research tell us? How you and your listings show up online is critical in ZMOT #2. Are your listings presented with staging, professional photography, video, and floor plans? Or are you “cheaping out” because the hot market doesn’t require you to invest in quality marketing to sell the home?  

Remember this real estate axiom: “Your greatest expense is the money you don’t make.” Your next listing is embedded in your current listing. Sellers are checking out you and your marketing online right now. How are you showing up? Will you be the one? This is your most important Zero Moment of Truth.

Larry Kendall is one of the founding partners of The Group, Inc., a real estate company that is owned equally by its sales associates and staff. He is also the author of “Ninja Selling.”