I commonly refer to my
smartphone as the “magical Internet box” that I keep in my pocket. Think about
it — this device is constantly sending a signal to space that connects my
magical box to a satellite that can then connect me to any other magical box in
the world. That is, of course, when it’s not connecting wirelessly to an
electronic database that contains the wealth of human knowledge and all the
adorable cat videos I can stomach. Plus, it just notified me that today is the
birthday of an old classmate I haven’t talked to in 14 years ... like I said,
magic (and relevant). So please don’t take this blog post as someone bashing
your smartphone because I’m practically the poster boy for the stereotypical
“tech nerd,” glasses and all.
Yet, even though I love
technology, right next to my iPhone is what author (Burn Your Portfolio) Michael Janda refers to as a “lo-fi PDA” — or simply a
fancy way of saying a notebook with a pen.
So, in our modern age,
why should a REALTOR® never leave home without their notebook?
It’s a great way to
empty your psychic RAM — As
David Allen points out in his book Ready for Anything, your mind is sort of like a computer and, like
a computer, it has RAM — simply put, short-term memory. As your brain tries to
remember too much of your day-to-day tasks, it can start to bog down, just like
opening too many applications on your desktop. That’s why it’s important to
unload or “close” applications you’re not currently using. Do this by writing
down ideas, reminders and lists in your “Lo-fi PDA,” and then get in the habit
of checking it. That way you don’t have to worry about remembering everything
(which is impossible). You’ll simply reread your notebook and to see what you
need to do next.
Saves You Time — I am a texting wizard on my phone, but
when it comes to scribbling down a note, I can still do it faster with a pen
and paper. Full-size keyboards are great, but you don’t always have one in
front of you. And hunting and pecking with your thumbs on a tiny phone keyboard
is a nightmare, especially if you’re trying to take notes in a meeting.
You’ll Look More
Attentive — Let’s face it — when
you see someone typing away on their phone, your first assumption is that the
person is texting or trying to get the next high score on Candy Crush.
The same can’t be said for a person with a notepad. People will assume,
probably correctly, that you’re working on business. Taking notes with a pen
and paper is also a good way to practice active listening and show interest in
the conversation you and your colleague or client are having.
If you’re like me and
you write notes on everything, from notebook paper to the back of an envelope,
you need a place to keep track of it all. Programs like Evernote keep
track of all your ramblings, allowing you to backup your lo-fi PDA with just a
simple picture from your smartphone.
“Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!” Is probably one of the most memorable lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but what can this scene do for those of us who work in the real estate industry? Well, besides provide us a good laugh?
I find that a commonly overlooked but good practice in business is to examine your dead -- and by dead, I mean past transactions. Often, by the time the check hits the bank, we’re so excited planning what we’re going to do with it that we fail to look back on the transaction and ask ourselves how we could have made it even better. That’s why writing postmortem reports is a good practice to get in the habit of. Traditionally a postmortem report relays the findings of an autopsy, during which a doctor dissects a body and its organs to determine the cause of death.
Luckily, as a REALTOR®, you don’t have to deal with anything quite that macabre. Yet, after each closing, you should take the time to don your metaphorical white lab coat, grab your scalpel and dissect your last client interaction. Ask yourself, “What went well? What went poorly? What can I do to improve? What did I learn?”
To get the most out of your reports, you need to be honest with yourself and dig deep -- this isn’t a time to simply pat yourself on the back or assign blame. If you’re an awesome REALTOR® and knocked this transaction out of the park, don’t stop at that. Instead examine how you knocked it out of the park so you can use those methods again next time. On the flip side, if this was the client from hell and everything ended in a burning ring of fire, don’t just place all the blame on the client. Stop and ask yourself, “How did we get here? Were there any warning signs that things were heading this direction? Could I have steered things in a different direction? What can I do to make sure my team avoids this with future clients?”
Write down your answers, and keep a record of all your postmortem reports in a log. Put this log in a place where everyone on your team can easily access and read it. That way your team becomes stronger by growing from the experiences of others.
The Personal Marketing Company recommends you including the following in your postmortem reports:
- Client’s Name
- The Success Rating (1 = disaster, 10 = heavenly)
- Listing price of the house
- Closing price of the house
- What your office did right
- What your office did wrong
- What your office will change
- Your office’s plan for Client Follow-Up
“I’m not yet dead! I’m not yet dead!”
The most important part of a postmortem report is to ask yourself, “Is this client truly dead?” If you rated the transaction a 7 or higher on your Success Rating, then this client is definitely not dead! You’ve worked hard to land this client, and your last closing with them appears to have been a smooth one. So why let all that hard work go to waste by falling off their radar? You need to stay in touch. And now, thanks to automated Client Follow-up programs, staying in touch makes this easier than ever.
In today’s fast-paced work environment, it is easy to get lost in the daily grind. This is a heartfelt post discussing the importance of winning the hearts and minds of clients. There are so many ways for letting clients know that you are grateful for their patronage. However, you can always rely on the basics when it comes to showing that you care. The following describes 6 ways to deepen your client relationships:
1. Demonstrate genuine concern for your client’s needs. A personable real estate agent not only works with a client to handle transactions but, also, demonstrates genuine concern and compassion for each client’s unique situation. Tailor your exchanges to work with a client’s personality.
2. Capture unique information about your client. Take the time to ask thoughtful questions that will allow you to get a clear portrait of your client. Ask questions that will allow you to discover their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, expectations, experiences, preferences, and other details. The more you seek to understand your client will help you and your company provide them with the services that will serve them best.
3. Every client has different needs; don’t script engagement. There is no magical sales pitch with a client. When you regurgitate a memorized sales pitch, you tend to come across as insincere. It is important to have an authentic conversation that expresses your genuine concern.
4. Be an active listener. It is important to listen when appropriate. Make sure to verify that you have received their message by rephrasing what the client communicated. Listening and restating the message tells the client that their needs are being heard and allows any misunderstandings to be recognized and corrected.
5. Be responsive and keep your clients interested. The way to a client’s heart is by serving them with valuable information that gives them food for thought. Understanding, listening and responding is a continuous process that should be combined with an effort to deliver thoughtful, relevant information.
6. Keep your relationship fresh by holding a VIP event. Let your clients know that they are valuable and you appreciate their business by holding a special event in their honor. A VIP event requires a little planning. A thoughtful email written to invite clients is essential.
Genuine actions of appreciation combined with marketing methods that incorporate email and complimentary content are effective ways to deepen your client relationships. The most important area to factor into these methods is sincerity. Clients will know if these messages are not coming from the heart. Some final things to keep in mind, include:
- Give your clients something valuable in all of your sales and marketing activities.
- Always have an open door policy with communication by including easy ways to contact you and provide feedback. They need to know you are around to listen when they have questions or are facing challenges.
- When you make a promise to a client, make sure you and your company backs up that promise.
Clients need to know you care. All good business practices require the ability to nurture relationships. Your clients want more than just your professional services; they want to know you are looking out for them. Repeating these six actions will bring them back to you and your company.