- Giving a handshake or a hug…
- Hearing the other person laugh at a funny joke…
- Giving and seeing a smile…
- Having the person you’re speaking with see the sincere look in your eyes…
These are all things that are part of the human element. They are essential to keeping relationships with your past and present clients alive and thriving.
But the human element can not be accomplished solely using technology.
Don’t get caught in the trap…
In this day of social media, social networking sites and fast internet access, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of only communicating with others by sitting behind a computer screen or cell phone. At first glance, it seems easier and cheaper to send your past clients an email, a text, an IM or write on their wall on Facebook rather than to pick up the phone, send a card or take them out to coffee, lunch or happy-hour. But in the long run, it may be costing you money.
If you don’t combine the human touch with technology, you may slowly lose the connection you previously made with your clients while looking at properties, sitting at their kitchen table looking over comps, meeting them at the local coffee shop to get their initials and signatures on the contract, going out to celebrate after the closing was done, etc. If you lose touch with them, you may lose a repeat client and/or their referrals.
Ask yourself this question…
Even if your past client found you online and sent you an email saying, “I want to buy a house and would like to use you as my agent”, would they have actually hired you and signed a Buyer’s Agency Agreement with you before they met you in person?
Personally, I can’t say “yes” to that question. Every single one of my “online” clients made their final decision to hire me only after they met me in person. When my clients met me in person, I went from being a screen name to being a human – just like them.
My point is this…though “web 2.0” and “RE 2.0” are great tools and should be used in today’s day and age, don’t neglect the human element. The human element is a very powerful way to connect with your clients and people in general so don’t forget about it.
With the holiday season coming up and the market the way it is, it’s the perfect time to reach out to your clients on a human level and help solidify your relationship with them. Send them a Thanksgiving card, call or hand-write them saying “hello”, take them out to lunch or coffee. If you share similar interests or hobbies such as bicycling or going to the local vineyards, ask them if they’re interested in riding together one Saturday morning or checking out a local vineyard an upcoming weekend. Whatever the activity may be and whatever level of “personal” you’re comfortable with, just do it!
October 24, 2008 at 11:59 am
October 24, 2008 at 12:05 pm
SO true!! I was just thinking about this the other day. Web 2.0 may give you an advantage over other agents, but it isn’t enough on its own to secure business. Most people have a certain emotional aspect in their decision making, and unfortunately a blog or email doesn’t evoke the emotion required to convince someone to work with you.
October 24, 2008 at 5:05 pm
I’m having a hard time getting my existing clientele to embrace the 2.0 experience, and unfortunately, I’ve spent far too much time going after new business in the online world.
Great reminder to stay connected with existing base via calls, notes, and face to face time!
October 24, 2008 at 6:16 pm
At the end of the day, business is transacted by people. Real, live people! Connect with them on a personal level and you might have just won over a client who’s willing to evangelize you for life!
Seriously, it’s a great feeling when you sign loan docs on a purchase loan and 3-4 months later, your clients are inviting you over for a weekend barbecue or sending you Christmas card with their family portrait!
October 25, 2008 at 7:39 pm
Danilo – This is a timely reminder for me. I have not been consistent in keeping in contact with my past clients. While email and newsletters are great tools, the personal phone call and hand written notecard makes a personal statement to our clients. Like Benn says, it’s web 1.5.
October 26, 2008 at 12:38 am
Brilliantly useful. I was beginning to think everyone had lost their minds. 😉