How to Use Surveys to Grow Your Real Estate Business

Get More Real Estate Clients by Using Surveys

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas


Are you surveying your real estate clients?

If not, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to grow your business.

Surveys are used by every major industry, from restaurants to real estate. They identify pain points, improve marketing, and encourage referrals.

That said, there’s a right way and a wrong way to survey your clients. Asking generic questions without a plan can do more harm than good. Poorly conducted surveys can annoy participants and damage your reputation. Plus, if you don’t actually act on the feedback, your survey will have been a waste of time for both you and your survey participants.

In this post, we’ll discuss the right way to survey your clients and build a stronger real estate business. Let’s get started.

The Benefits of Surveying Your Real Estate Clients

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Before we get into the how, let’s talk about the why. Here’s why you should use surveys:

Deeply Understand Your Clients

Surveys allow you to get to know your clients, including who they are, what they care about, and what they need from you. While you may ask the same questions face to face, survey answers tend to be more honest and reliable. You can use these insights to improve your client care and develop a stronger sense of empathy.

Understand Your Client's Experience

Beyond understanding your client’s motivations and identity, surveys make you aware of their experience with you. Did you know that most clients who leave an agent do so because they don’t feel heard? While it may be painful, you must understand how your clients feel about your service in order to improve and be better for future clients.

Target Your Marketing

If you ask the right questions on your surveys, the answers you receive can give your future marketing strategy. For example, if the majority of your clients are first-time home buyers, that may reveal a niche that you didn’t know you specialized in. You can use that information to target even more first time home buyers in your next marketing campaign. Their feedback, especially if you include long-form “essay” questions in your surveys, can help you write future ads. You can use their exact wording in your ads to attract similar clients who share the same real estate needs.

Identify Small Problems Before They Destroy Your Business

You’re too close to your business. You need the perspective of your clients to help you see exactly where your real estate business succeeds and where it may fail. Through a survey, you can find opportunities for improvement.

Gives You Another Reason to Check-in

Because real estate is all about social connections, you need to stay at the top of your client’s mind. It can be challenging to stay in touch with past clients, but a survey gives you a valid excuse to pop up in their inbox. Open the door with a survey and then follow up based on the answers they provide.

Schedule Open Houses

Not sure when to host an open house? Ask your clients. Use short surveys or polls to determine the best time to host open house events. You can also use this idea for other events, such as a client appreciation mixer or an online Q&A session with house hunters.

Discover How Clients Find You

Use surveys to discover your top client acquisition sources. This information allows you to target your marketing and optimize that channel to get even more clients in the future.

Improve Your Website Design

Because your website plays a role in your real estate business, it’s also a good idea to ask your participants about their experience on your website. Is it easy to navigate? Did they find what they were looking for on your site? Those questions can help you tweak your website design for the better.

Predict Business Growth

You can also use an NPS (short for Net Promoter Score) survey with your clients. This type of survey allows participants to rate your service on a scale from 0 to 10. It’s used to gauge the client’s sentiment and willingness to refer your service to others. One of the benefits of NPS is that it subtly encourages participants to recommend you to their friends.

Generate More Testimonials

Surveys are a great way to get testimonials. Who wouldn’t like more testimonials? A testimonial is the most influential statement on your marketing because it provides irrefutable social proof that your service works.

How to Survey Your Real Estate Clients

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Now that we’ve discussed why surveys are crucial for your real estate business, let’s talk about how to conduct them effectively.

Express the Importance of the Survey

Let’s be honest. Completing a survey isn’t at the top of anyone’s to-do list. You can get your clients to participate by appealing to their sense of importance. Explain why you need their involvement, and also share how you plan to use their feedback. Be specific with your explanation. Your survey participants will appreciate your transparency.

It’s also a good idea to incentivize your surveys. Give each participant a token of appreciation for their time, such as a Starbucks or Amazon gift card.

Time Your Ask

Don’t constantly ask your clients to participate in surveys. You’ll get more buy-in if you limit the number of times that you ask. A few good times to ask include:

  • At the beginning of your relationship to learn more about them and their real estate goals
  • During their website visit to tweak your website’s user experience
  • After you’ve successfully helped them purchase/ sell a property (this is also the best time to get testimonials and referrals)

There are also times when you shouldn’t extend a survey invite, including:

  • During a holiday or the weekend
  • Before finalizing a transaction

Have a Specific Objective

Don’t just survey for the sake of saying that you survey. Instead, create each survey with a mission. Maybe you want to improve your website design, maybe you want to identify professional weaknesses, maybe you want to generate new testimonials, or maybe you want to jumpstart your marketing campaign.

Be clear about what you hope to learn before developing any survey. Then, make sure that every question aligns with that objective, even if that means only asking two questions. It’s better to have two specific answers that will help you with your goal than 10 generic answers that don’t.

Develop a Quick and Easy Survey

When asking for survey participation, you will meet resistance. That’s because surveys can be tedious. Instead of asking a ton of questions, reduce your survey to 10 questions or less. This will be easier if you practice the above tip and design each survey around a specific objective. The last thing you want is to ask so many questions that your participant gives up halfway through. Not only would that be a waste of time and a source of frustration, but it would also be a loss of data that you can never get back.

Instead, keep your surveys short, sweet, and to the point. You can always follow up if you need more clarity.

And if you incentivize your survey, you may be able to ask more questions.

Ask Unbiased Questions

Never lead participants to your preferred answer. This creates a bias in your survey which means that you won’t get accurate feedback because you’re skewing the results.

Here are two examples of biased questions:

How much did you love the service that I provided? (This assumes that the client loved your service) What problems did you experience while working with me? (This assumes that the client experienced a problem)

Avoid setting up your questions in a way that suggests your preferred answer.

Ask Hard Questions

Include difficult questions in your survey. Note that “difficult” doesn’t mean these questions are hard for your participants to answer – but they may be hard for you to hear. These include:

  • How can I improve?
  • How was I to work with?
  • Did you experience any problems while working with me? (Different from the biased question because it doesn’t assume that there were problems.)

Thank Participants for Their Time

Always show your appreciation. Even with incentives, no one is obligated to participate in your survey. But those who do provide valuable insight into how your real estate business serves them. Don’t take this for granted. Show your thanks with a personal response to every submitted survey.

Also, use this opportunity to ask participants to refer others to you.

Final Thoughts

When used as a tool for professional development, surveys can help you understand more about your clients and build a stronger real estate business. Use the above tips to create engaging surveys that meet your business objectives.

For related resources, check out these posts:

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