Business Marketing

Meet Where They Are: Communicating With Consumers

279804967_668397cde9An important part (it could be argued the most important part) of the consumer experience is good communications.  The bad news is that communications is one area where we are told we, as REALTORs, fall short of customer expectations.  The good news is that communication “issues” it is not difficult to correct.  Simply find out the how, when and why of your consumer’s preferred communications MO and do it.  Do it preemptively.  Don’t let them chase you down but be the one in front of them with the information they need in the manner they need it.  A commitment as simple as keeping them informed and in touch can completely change their experience.

Just a few key questions in the initial meeting will allow you to sort out most of their preferences :

  1. “What is your communications preference?” (email, phone, text, etc.)
  2. “What time of day is best for you?”
  3. “Mr. and Ms. Seller – how much do you want to know about how we market your property, market updates, showing feedback and how often?” Some sellers want to know everything you are doing and some couldn’t care less or don’t want to be bothered with “details”.
  4. “Mr. and Ms. Buyer – do you want to be sent everything so that you can sort through all of the options or do you prefer me to hand select the ones I feel meet your requirements the most?” One person could think you are being selective for selfish reasons and one could think you are spamming them, by finding out if they want some hand holding or are more DIY, you will give them exactly what they are looking for, no more, no less.
  5. “Mr. and Ms. Consumer these are the hours you can expect to hear from me and these are the hours I am not available.  You can expect to hear back from me within X hours.” This sets the parameters of when they can and cannot expect a return call, email or text.

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You can make your own list, but you get the point… Everyone’s desired communication method, timing and material is different and the more you match what you do to what they expect and want, the happier their experience will be.  One person’s spam is another person’s gold.  Those who get annoyed by texts might only want to speak one on one and vice versa.

Once you sort out their preferred communication MO, be ahead of them.  Send them the updates, listings, news before they ask. If you anticipate what they want/need and get it to them without having to be asked, they will really feel that you understand them and are looking out for them.  If they have to chase for listings, appointments, feedback, etc. they might feel that you simply don’t care or are too busy.  No one wants to feel that their REALTOR is too busy for them when they are buying or selling such an expensive asset, it’s the most important thing they normally have going on at that point in their life, let them know you appreciate and understand this.

Most of us can use some polishing in our communications skills, but thankfully, it doesn’t take much to go from appearing to ill prepared and uninterested to showing that you really care about them, their needs and their interests.

Word of caution: Try not to assume you know their preferences, everyone has their choices and they aren’t always obvious, make it a point to find out those for each of your consumers and they will think you are da bom!

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Jay Ferguson

    February 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    That is why we have 2 ears and one month, we should listen twice as much

  2. Ken Brand

    February 3, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Boom! Fantastic advice, not every now and then or when we remember – EVERY TIME.

    Street Smarts squared:-)

  3. Brandie Young

    February 3, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Awesome, Janie! So true. “Try not to assume you know their preferences” … great advice. Always ask.

  4. Bobbi Hughes

    February 5, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I find that how they communicate to you is how they want to be communicated with. If someone texts me, I text them back. I also find that the different generations want to communicate differently. Great advice! Thanks!!!

  5. Toni Labrum

    February 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    always…always ask…great advice…I’ve worked with people in the casino industry, you cannot second guess their schedule! Thanks for the reminder!!!

  6. Cara Pearlman

    February 6, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Janie – so true! I have been asking my clients what their preferred form of communication is for a while now. Most seem to rely on email, a few text and I normally don’t friend them on facebook until the transaction is nearing a close.

  7. Toni Labrum

    February 6, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I say; always ask the best way to communicate with client…i’m from old school, like the phone; however most of my clients like e-mail or text…It is not as personal but the younger crowd doesn’t care, so we do whatever is best for the client! Toni Labrum Team, Temecula, CA

  8. Kevin Baker

    February 14, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I totally agree! Ask the 3 deep questions to get to what is really important to them. Listening is the key but follow up with what you promise is also of upmost importance. If we communicate what is going to happen and keep them in the loop, the clients will feel like they are your only client.
    Keep up the great advice!

  9. Marcia Gloddy

    February 19, 2010 at 10:23 am

    This should be the very first lesson that a Broker gives to his/her new licensees!!!

  10. virtual office

    June 14, 2012 at 5:28 am

    I so agree with your post! I wish every business man or entrepreneurs could read your post. This is the right attitude you should show in your clients/customers.

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