Tuesday, May 02, 2006

You don't need bigger magnets

There have been many articles written on how to work with Internet consumers. We know that they need a quick response, we know they expect instant service, we know that effective email communication skills are key, we know that they expect access to a lot of information on their own, etc.

What no one discusses, however, is the fact that we need to take the time and make the effort to convert these Internet relationships into personal relationships. Real Estate is and always will be a numbers game, but it's also a people business. We can use technology to work with more people than ever before possible allowing us to make more money in less time.

Technology, however, is only a tool. Technology opens the door to help us meet more people and helps us begin to create that relationship, by quickly providing the information requested and consistently staying in touch to earn their trust.

To build that relationship, we need to establish personal contact – phone or drop-bys. Following up with a phone call, using a script like, “Hi, this is _____, with ____. I am calling to make sure you received the information you requested (state where they made the request, i.e. from my website) and were able to view it.” This is an effective service call. That is WOW factor service. When was the last time you requested something online and someone actually called to make sure you received it?

As a whole, agents tend to be call reluctant. However, most consumers actually appreciate the follow-up.

Or, if you have an address, drop off a hardcopy of some information. It provides you with the opportunity to meet face to face. The agents who have worked extremely successfully with Internet leads know that personal follow-up yields results. Their conversion rate from leads to transactions skyrockets as soon as they make the time to build that personal relationship.

Awhile ago, I spoke with an agent who was frustrated about working with Internet leads.
He told me he had been working the leads for about 1 month and they hadn’t converted to listings or sales. I explained to him that Internet consumers take a little more time up front, but when they are ready to go, they choose an agent quickly. I told him that research tells us 62% of consumers select their agent in 1-3 days. And NAR mentions that 73% of consumers work with only one agent. That means if you provide service, personalize the relationship and stay in touch, you have a distinct competitive advantage.

I asked him how he was following up. Calls? Drop bys? He told me he didn’t like to call or drop by. He told me that he sends out magnets.

I asked him if he would consider making the follow-up phone calls or doing drop-bys, since most Agent CEOs have had great success with the Internet leads once they made that personal contact.

The agent told me he was a top producer, and closed almost everyone he worked with. He told me he didn’t want to make phone calls or drop by. He had a better idea. He would just send them bigger magnets.

So, real estate is a contact sport. If you would like to experience great success, personal follow-up is essential. If you schedule time to do that, you can then treat it as an appointment with yourself to grow your business. If you don’t schedule it, you probably won’t do it. It is not just about time management. It is really about self-management.

Don’t just send out bigger magnets!