Today, we have a fascination with remote controls. The TV, DVD, CD, video, lights, garage door etc – we can manage these all remotely, no need to get up, just push a button.
Unfortunately many agents have the same philosophy on managing prospecting and buyer management. Sending an email, a drop card or introduction letter may provide a level of response. Most direct mail experts will tell you to expect a 0.5% – 1% response rate to a purchased mail list. So if you send out 5,000 direct mail pieces, you could expect 50 responses.
The greatest dependency is the quality of your database and the detail in it. The Government has made it more and more difficult for us to be ‘remote’ managers by introducing the Do Not Call register and the like. The good thing is that this allows us to (God forbid!) actually talk to prospective buyers and sellers face-to-face. We should never forget that buying/selling is a relational business where parties need to feel that they are engaged in the process and are getting a good return for their investment.
I recall a story related by a US sales trainer at a course in Melbourne in the 1980s, and he told of one of the top insurance sales people in the US, who in those days were making in excess of $1 million US annually. He lived and worked in a small mid west town, not a major capital city. The insurance companies would send sales people to be mentored by him and he believed his success was directly related to his ability to know the territory!
He knew what was happening in his area, he was well versed in local gossip and he was very predictable. He placed a great deal of his success on ‘whittling’ (carving soap stone or light wood). You see every week he sat on the same bench for an hour and whittled (he confessed he actually was a terrible whittler), but people would ask him what he was whittling and he would say a dolphin or muskrat etc. After a time people got to know that he would always be there and then got to know what he did for a job. Any new person into the town who talked in a cafe about insurance was always told to go to the bench at this time and there is a guy there whittling who is an insurance broker.
Now I don’t advocate taking up carving, but don’t undersell the fact that being predictable, accessible and engaged locally does provide returns. Genuinely be a part of the community that you work in, because frauds are easily seen through.
If there is an opportunity to email/mail or call then call, if there is an opportunity to call or meet then meet… the more personal the contact the higher level of trust and engagement which leads to stronger (business) relationships.
If catching a buyer or seller was as easy as sending a note remotely then as real estate agents we could get rid of sales people, employ a good direct mail person and an administrator to do the paperwork and sales would just happen.
Direct mail and what I call ‘remote communications’ are a great start and support but there is no truer saying than ‘people buy from people’, so we need to let buyers and sellers know that we also are people.
Regular contact, quality information delivered with genuine interest in a timely fashion will create a reputation of dependability and value; and inadvertently generates a credit in the reciprocity balance sheet.
The Law of Reciprocity means: to give and take mutually; to return in kind or even in another kind or degree. You may have heard the Law of Reciprocity expressed as: “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine-The law of reciprocity simply explains that that when someone gives you something you feel an obligation to give back.
Stay focused on the fundamentals, meet and greets heaps of people and success will be your result.