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Chairman’s Message: Personal Contact Wins the Day over Email Efficiency

Quincy Virgilio: MLSListings Inc 2018 Chairman

Quincy Virgilio
2018 Chairman, MLSListings

How often are you able to carve out time to talk with clients and prospects by phone or meet them for lunch or a drink? Probably not very often, which is why client relationship management (CRM) tools are so invaluable for busy real estate professionals. These systems do much more than store your contacts in a database: they enable you to regularly “touch” them through push emails in a very efficient way.

We couldn’t be nearly as effective or successful without CRM tools and today’s software is highly sophisticated in the ways it can be used for managing our client and prospect relationships. These systems are intuitive and easy to learn and navigate, and their cloud-based technology enables you to save and access your contacts and files easily and quickly.  They work with virtually all smart devices and we can customize them to engage with our contacts in the ways we want.

So what’s the problem? In many ways, we’ve become too reliant on this type of automated contact and we’ve lost the benefits that come from genuine, authentic human connection. Direct communications with clients and prospects is the way we get the valuable information and insights we need to win the business and to build the personal connection that ensures a long-lasting relationship. It’s how we develop and earn trust so the client comes back for repeat transactions and equally important refers others to us.

Personal contact is also key outside the parameters of the real estate transaction. It helps to sustain the quality of the relationship and through real conversations we can learn a lot about where someone is in their buying and selling life cycle, and what real estate ideas or issues they may be turning over in their head.  We may even uncover new business opportunities with them or people they know.

Automated emails and other CRM tools are just that – a tool. However, they are most effective when paired with person-to-person marketing and relationship-building. A few ways to incorporate more direct contact with your clients and prospects:

  • Use the holidays and personal milestones (a job change, a new baby,  or a graduation) to reach out and simply express your best wishes and let them know you are thinking about them.
  • When you have news or information to deliver, pick the phone up instead of defaulting to communicating through email; use email as a follow-up to your voice mail if you are unable to reach someone by phone.
  • With a new prospect, always initiate contact by phone first to learn more about them, then follow up with your marketing pieces; set a quarterly schedule to check in with prospects.
  • For existing or regular contacts, maintain regular contact with them through phone calls, lunch or cocktails, social event invitations, and other opportunities for engagement.

When you speak with your clients and prospects, it is important to show interest in them. It may seem intuitive but it bears repeating. Pay attention to what they say and ask questions about their interests, their business and their lives, and keep good notes in your database. Like any good friendship or personal relationship, remembering and referencing something you learn about someone creates a greater bond and demonstrates your approach to client service and attention to detail. Business is more than the transaction – it’s the relationship you build with a client and that happens through real connection.

 

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