I love technology. I really do. I love the way it has simplified my life and my business. There’s no doubt we’re lucky to live in a time when technology has played a dominant role in our lives.
But many agents seem to be so caught up in technology that they have forgotten some ideas from the good old days—ideas that still work brilliantly. Most agents don’t think they need to do these things anymore, but they’re absolutely wrong!
For example, let’s talk about that ancient device that allows you to talk to somebody even if you’re not in the same room with them. Remember it? It’s called the telephone.
Sure, we all use telephones. We use them to take pictures, to send email or text messages, and to download music. But we seem to have forgotten that we can actually still talk to people on them.
Particularly when it comes to past clients, the telephone is your best friend. Many agents rely on email to be their complete follow-up system, reporting system, and contact system.
Yet email is not the most effective form of communication when re-connecting with past clients. I know this because I’ve actually tested the power of email as compared to the power of the good old-fashioned personal telephone call.
Recently, I asked some of the agents I coach to look at their database and make a list of thirty past clients they would like to reconnect with. Thirty is a manageable number, right? After all, that’s only one call per day for a month.
Initially, the agents were reluctant to make the calls. I could see it in every fiber of their body language. When I pressed them to explain their reluctance, the agents told me that the number one reason they don’t pick up the phone to call past clients is this: they simply don’t know what to talk about! So, I told them to put together a really good report about what’s going on in the market right now.
Once the report is complete, I asked them to call their past clients and say:
“Hi Barbara, this is Jen from Highland Realty. How are you? I’m glad to hear that! I’m just calling to let you know that I put a report in the mail for you that I know you will find helpful. The report talks about what is really going on in the real estate market right now.
There is so much competing news about the industry that I wanted you to have the real facts at your fingertips. The report focuses on our area and how it relates to a number of real estate issues, on both the state and national levels I hope you find it helpful.”
Now, isn’t that a fantastic icebreaker? It’s a perfect reason for the call—much better than “How are the kids? How is the dog? How are things going?”
Calling up just to ask ordinary questions raises a red flag. It makes them wonder: Why is this agent calling me? It can’t be just to find out about my kids and my dog.
But when you have something to offer—something that is helpful, informative, and reaffirms the value of their investment—your call makes much more sense and is no longer greeted with suspicion. When you offer service first, you create trust and connection with people.
So, my test team made the calls and I was pleasantly surprised at the results. One agent told me, “Denise, I have two listings that came directly from those thirty calls!”
That’s pretty substantial. Two out of thirty is a great ratio. Most of the time, agents send out hundreds of emails and may not even get one response back.
Another agent told me that one of her clients said, “I’m so glad that you called me. I always worry that you’re busy and that I might be bothering you. My husband said we would actually probably be doing you a favor by using a neighbor across the street who is a real estate agent. We do want to sell our starter home and move up to something nicer. But we figured you wouldn’t want to work on an inexpensive home like ours. You want better stuff to work with.”
Of course, the agent was shocked to hear this. The client wasn’t unhappy with the agent’s past performance—they just didn’t want to bother her.
Another agent told me, “Denise, I have four people who told me they want to list in the next three months.”
Performing this exercise really opened up the group’s eyes to the power of a personal call via the good old-fashioned telephone. While email is a great communication tool for dealing with day-to-day transaction details—your “now” business—it truly isn’t the best tool for keeping in touch with your past clients and building (or rebuilding!) your business.
Just the sound of your voice on the telephone can re-establish a past connection. That connection is only made stronger when the client realizes you are calling to offer something to them, not ask something of them! At the end of the day, a call is so much more personal than just a series of pixels that form an electronic message on a computer screen.
I challenge you to put this concept to the test. Call thirty of your past clients and see what happens!. And I want you to email me with the results. I’m willing to bet that you’ll be surprised at just how positive the experience can be!
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI