Old School Manners for a New World: Communication
With so many ways to communicate nowadays, it’s important to home in on best practices and use them consistently.
Nowadays, myriad ways of communicating exist, but more often than not, we’re not communicating properly. In an industry that relies on transparent, regular and respectful communication, it’s important to get it right.
If you’ve found agents aren’t communicating well with clients, that important things are being missed or they could do a better job communicating with the brokerage, consider these tips to share.
Commit to Communicating
Believe it or not, communicating takes commitment. How many times have you ignored a text message, deleted a voicemail without listening to it or left an email unread?
The reality is distractions are abundant, and because there are so many pulls at our attention, communicating effectively takes concerted effort.
Communicate more than you think you should—with clients, colleagues and your broker. Lack of communication is the number one complaint of recently closed real estate clients. Remember that clients don’t know the ins and outs of the business in the same way you do. Create a communication environment that feels comfortable. Invite them to ask questions. Answer questions with promptness and sincerity. Make sure you reach out often to keep them informed. When prospects and clients aren’t hearing from you, they generally don’t think good things, or worse, they assume you’re too busy for them.
Let Them Choose
Remember many people are still navigating varying degrees of precariousness when it comes to mental and physical health and wellness. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we can adapt. Some of your prospective clients might still prefer communication over Zoom or the phone, rather than in-person.
If that’s the case, respect it. You never want to lose a client over something as silly as pushing an in-person meetup versus a Zoom call. The bottom line is that we never know what others are dealing with and it’s important to respect one another’s decisions.
Answer the Phone
Unless you’re with a client or in a situation that requires your mindful presence (like in a movie, at a performance or with family), pick up the phone! Even if you must answer the phone only to tell the caller that you need to call them back in a few minutes, it’s much more efficient, professional and effective to answer.
Make sure you take detailed notes in your phone or a notebook and follow up when you say you will. Speaking with someone on the phone is superior to texting when it comes to clarity. It also shows your client that you have the time for them and want to help them. Answering the phone can also save time, because it’s easier to ask questions and make sure everyone is on the same page when on the phone.
Set Up Your Voicemail
Not only do you want to set up your voicemail, but you want to check it often. You might think of voicemail is a generational thing (meaning you don’t need it), but the reality is that colleagues, brokers and clients span the generations, so in this relationship-led business, meeting people where they are is important.
It’s happened to the best of us: You have an appointment in your calendar for 10 a.m. on a Thursday, but you didn’t confirm it, and the client has the appointment in their calendar for 11 a.m. You completely miss each other. You’re frustrated. The client is frustrated.
Make sure to confirm appointments to avoid this mishap. It’s the polite, professional thing to do, shows respect for the other person’s time and sets you apart from your competition.
Make sure you’re giving the right impression with your voicemail message as well. Record it in a quiet place to eliminate background noise, and make sure it’s professional. Also, clear out your voicemail regularly so that a caller doesn’t get the dreaded “the mailbox is full” message.
Tips for Social Media
Communicating on social media is the norm, but as a professional it’s important to do it well. Whether answering on a professional page or a personal page, there is etiquette to follow.
Answer Messages and Comments Promptly
If a message or a comment requires an answer, see to it that you answer quickly. You don’t want to leave someone hanging if they have a question.
Even on your personal pages and profiles, it’s important to answer courteously and with professionalism. In this industry, your reputation surpasses your website and business profiles. Even in your personal life you represent your business.
Lead People Away
Away from social media and to your email, website or phone, that is. Start the conversation on social but continue it somewhere more professional. After building a bit of rapport, offer a Zoom or phone call to connect in a more personalized way.
Own Your Mistakes
It’s easy to place blame or avoid a tough conversation. It’s also important to remember that mistakes happen and if you’re human, you’re bound to make a few. Apologize when you screw something up. Own it. Admit the problem, why it hurt someone, promise not to do it again and create new energy with your commitment to excellence moving forward. When you do so, you foster trust, and you also give others permission to be human as well.
Source: REALTOR® Magazine