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Communication Ain’t What it Used to be

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My post title is just wrong and I am not just talking about the word “ain’t”. Communication has not changed at all.

New Tools

The tools we use for communication have changed since the 1940’s and I am sure everyone has noticed.  I remember last year when my daughter was living in France how nice it was to see her face on my computer screen and to hear her voice. It was all free to via Skype.

We can talk face-to-face when we are not even on the same continent. We can send video mail, voice mail, email, and snail mail.  We can communicate through instant chat, twitter, text messages, blogs with words, blogs with video, blogs with audio and share photos and just about everything else.

Is it about technology?

Communication is faster and easier but the communication it self isn’t about technology and we all know that.  Good communication is a two way kind of thing.  Just because communication is possible over the internet, by phone or text message doesn’t mean that it will happen.

What no Macintosh?

I have one friend who mostly uses a chat program only available on the Macintosh as his primary means of communication. I think he would be thrilled if I bought an Macintosh so we can talk again. It isn’t going to happen this year so we won’t be talking much.

A couple of days ago I called one of my sellers.  I used a phone, a land line even.  I had not talked to him in weeks.  All of our communication is via email and I got it in my head that I should call him because all email seemed too impersonal.  The phone call irritated him.  It seems that with the type of job he has he prefers email because he is on the phone all day and he can read the email while he is doing something else.  I should have asked him how he prefers his communication from me instead of assuming that he wanted that personal touch of hearing my voice.

I have another client who doesn’t like email much at all. He likes it when I send text messages to his phone.  Again I didn’t take the time to ask him but figured it out when he started responding to my email with text messages. Now I use text only with him.

It is generational ?

It isn’t generational.  My 80 something parents are usually easier to reach by email or even via twitter than they are by phone. Sometimes we assume that a persons age determines how they prefer to receive communication.  I am also an example of that.  The people who are the closest to me know that the best way to get my attention is via text message. Text messaging is not known for being a boomer generation kind of thing.

I am Cool I have Video Mail

So maybe you went to a conference or class and you learned that video email is the latest thing. You were told that you need to use it because it is more personal.  True video mail is great but like with my client who did not appreciate the phone call some of your clients and contacts may not appreciate the video email.

Ask

Communication is not about technology. There is no universal form of communication that everyone wants. The most personal way of giving clients that personal touch isn’t through video, or by phone or even face-to-face it is by asking them how they want to communicate and accommodating their needs.

To accommodate those needs keeping up with technology is important.  Being able to use video email is important too because some people really like it.

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Matthew Hardy

    January 7, 2009 at 10:59 am

    “asking them how they want to communicate and accommodating their needs.”

    Perfect. Salient and spot on.
    Asking then recording each person’s preference then looking there first is so easy… and so customer centric.

  2. Anne Rains

    January 7, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Teresa,

    You make some great points here.Skype is one of my favorite tools. I agree that you should take the time first to find out how your clients prefer to be communicated with and not just assume. I read a recent article in Active Rain about communicating better with the younger generation–the first-time home buyers. Here’s a link in case others would like to read it too:

    Have a great day,

    Anne Rains

  3. Brad Nix

    January 7, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    @tboard nails this one. Technology does not create relationships = people do. Technology is just a tool to facilitate.

  4. Anne Rains

    January 7, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Just read a great article on Agent Genius about communication https://agentgenius.com/?p=8995

  5. Ken Brand

    January 7, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Exactly. It’s not the answer that’s import, it’s the questions before the answer that Rock The Cradle and Stir The Drink.

    Right ON!

  6. Ricardo Bueno

    January 8, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Sometimes I catch myself using Twitter DM’s in lieu of email. And at first it worked out well! But soon enough I came to find that not everyone is responsive that way 🙂

    Anyway, I’m with you on “asking them how they want to communicate and accommodating their needs.”

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Business Marketing

“House has spark” – burning up the MLS with typos and other bloopers

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The year is starting a march toward its natural ending, friends…and it seems a few real estate careers may be also. This week I found some real head-scratchers in local real estate ads and the MLS.  However, I get submissions from all over the U.S., so no one is safe from the eyes of  the Blooper Scooper. Check out these blunders:

Do You Smell Smoke?

“House has spark” (Apparently your real estate career isn’t the only thing going up in smoke.)

“Big pep area in kitchen” (Is that the cookie jar where Mommy Dearest stashes her uppers?) 

“Dull Viking ovens” (Methinks there’s something in the cookie jar that will perk up those dull Vikings.)

“Large greenhose in back” (Large, naked Jolly Green Giant in yard.)

“Mush added to this house” (Was that the overflow from between your ears?)

I Think I See Flames

“Beautifully remolded guest” (Another cosmetically-altered Barbie hits the Hollywood party circuit.)

“Enjoy a drink poolslide” ( Hell, if the pool is sliding, I’ll need a whole pint of Jack.)

“Each bedroom has own bedrooom” (Hello-o-o, Alice, how are things down there in the rabbit hole?)

“Separate pod to build GH” (That should please my pea-sized buyers.)

“Play room for the kiss” (Something tells me this is the back seat of a ’67 Chevy.)

Still Smoldering…

“Ideal for gusts” (That’s great…if you want to live in a wind sock.)

“Impaccably detailed” (Incredibly challenged)

“Stylish pewder room” (Try burning a match.)

“Stone pillars flake driveway” (Flakey agent got stoned in driveway.)

Nothing But Embers (This Week’s Fave):

“From a bygone error” (You have just written your own epitaph.)

 

 

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Business Marketing

“New bd pans inc” – Making a Splash on the MLS

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I have two things to say this week: 1. When you drink, you can’t think. 2. When you drink you can’t- … uh, what was I saying? Oh, yes – the MLS.  It was so full of bloopers this week that I am led to conclude that happy hour started Monday and never stopped. Read these and tell me if it is any wonder I was driven to throw back a few martinis myself:

Booze ‘N’ Fools

“Free membership to gin inc” (It seems someone else beat us to it, Martini Mary.)

“Grab now use imagination” (That’s what Arnold said to his housekeeper.)

“House has new edition” (Agent lacks erudition.)

“Babblying broke runs in back” (Bumbling buffoon runs amuck.)

“Drop by for cocktail ho” (Oh, is the Sunset Strip for sale?)

Puff ‘N’ Stuff

“Near Sacramento airpot” (I believe his name is Jerry Brown.)

“Claw me for selling” (I’m too busy clawing my eyes out over your spelling.)

“Reduction on mid-century ner Holywod” (Another mid-sixties porn star is looking for work.)

“We can sake your home” (Can I get fried rice with my sake?)

Proof or Goof

“Nice streem” (Said Grandma to Grandpa after his diaper  exploded.)

“Nice for dog kids” (Uh, they’re called ‘puppies,” pal.)

“New bd pans included” (Thank you, Nurse Nancy – can you warm those first?)

“Good stable in neighborhood.” (Have you contacted Mary and Joseph?)

“Drawing for plasma” (Is this a blood-bank?)

And This Week’s Winner Is:

“Good school in areola” (Thanks for keeping me abreast of things.)

PROOF OR GOOF, FRIENDS – I’M WATCHING EWE 🙂

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Highlights

My secret office organization tip – Sharpies and tape

If you’re still practicing to be OCD, here is a secret I don’t typically share with anyone, but I’m willing to share with you today…

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Keeping organized

I used to be obsessed with the P-touch machine. I labeled everything. Drawers, shelves, folders, canisters, and anything that I could think of putting a label on.

But the label makers weren’t as pretty as my own handwriting and didn’t come in every color a Sharpie does, so I got the brilliant idea one day to write in light blue sharpie in my beautiful handwriting on clear tape, placed neatly on the shelves in the pantry. Visitors thought I had written on the cabinets, “what if you have to move things?” they asked. “It’s just tape, look!” I said as if I was performing a complicated magic trick.

Not just shelves!

It’s great to use this tip on files and folders so you can reuse them (especially if you have custom files or designer files), on drawers at the bottom of each section where pens and tape goes, and especially in the break room.

No more label maker, no more refill cartridges and no more mess, especially someone else’s mess! Trust me, this is an OCD person’s dream organizing tip!

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