One of my childhood friends is a Communications Professor. Because of this, the assumption would be that she is always the first in our group to respond to texts and emails and be open to new forms of communication.
But you’d be wrong.
She is always the last person to respond to our group texts and emails. She doesn’t do Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or any other form of social media. The best way to talk with her is by picking up the phone.
We laugh about it all the time. How can someone who teaches communication be so out of touch with modern forms of communicating?
But then I got thinking… Maybe WE are the ones who are out of touch with effective communication.
With my kids, I get a Remind about tomorrow’s test or today’s cross country meet. I can log into PowerSchool and see their grades at any time. I get an email if my kid is missing an assignment, and I get an automated call if he has a failing grade.
All of this is great. But you know what I really want? A real person to pick up the phone and call me. Why? Because there is a lot of room for interpretation with this technology.
For example, last year I got the robo-call saying my son had a failing grade. I was furious. He pleaded ignorance, and after a rough evening with mom, I called the teacher. She explained that he was missing assignments from when he was sick, but “no worries” because technically his assignments weren’t considered late yet. She just had them as zeros until turned in. And I think, wow, I just screamed at my child for no reason. Thanks.
This happens in our job as well. How many times has automated showing feedback been misinterpreted by your seller? How many times has an issue gotten blown out of proportion because of someone’s “tone” in a text? Here’s some advice: If you are sorting through problems via texting or emailing, Stop. Things get very heated and very irritating very quickly with technology. While the agent is responding to one question, the client sends off another question, and then before you know it, there are questions and responses all over and the whole conversation is undecipherable. PICK UP THE PHONE.
I called a soon-to-be-seller a couple weeks ago. I didn’t hear back, so after a couple days, I called her again. When she answered the phone, she sighed and told me how happy she was that I called again because she was having a rough week. She went on to tell me that her son just got diagnosed with late stage cancer and things were on hold for a little bit. That 20 minute conversation was the most important call I had all week.
Why? Because now I understand her time-frame, her mindset, and our future course of action. She never would have told me all of this in a text or email. There are times when a text or email is okay, but a lot of times, your clients need to hear your voice. They want to hear your reassurance, your expertise, and your encouragement. They deserve to know that you are in this together, and sometimes the only way to show that is by calling them.
I want my database to be full of people I’ve built relationships with. Those are the people who will send me more business. If my database is full of names with whom I’ve merely done business transactions with, I will always have to keep looking for more business. By building friendships, the stress of seeking out my next client is gone, and my career is more meaningful as a result.
When I’m with my friend, the communications professor, she makes you feel like the outside world has stopped and her complete focus is on you. She’s warm, caring, compassionate, and completely engaged with the person sitting in front of her.
So now I think that she has it right, and we have it wrong. Because isn’t that the way we want all our clients to feel? Don’t we want to make them feel important and connected? Forget the trendy ways of reaching out to your clients. Do what means the most and has the biggest impact… pick up the phone. Technology can never replace YOU.
Amy Gilpin, Realtor, Associate Broker, Manager, ABR.
Fourteen years of helping clients. Six years of helping agents. All for this crazy thing we call real estate.
Production Realty 517-879-4141 Jackson, MI Amy@ProductionRealty.com