Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Love Technology But I Ask You … What Is Happening To Us?

Because I have a lot of Realtor friends that follow my Blog and Social Media I wanted to write this article because it is very important to me. I am up right now at 3:00 am in the morning and something is really bothering me.  Grab a cup of coffee because this is a really long blog post … and I REALLY want you to read it and I REALLY want you to let me know what YOU THINK!!!

Despite the fact that Gen X and Gen Y clients are really into technology … I think we are losing our emotional connection to our family, friends, and customers. In my opinion it’s been happening so gradually that many of us do not even realize what is going on.

I am sounding the alarm to my fellow real estate agents as It is now affecting the level of service that I am able to give to MY clients … the level of service that I know my clients should have when they are in the midst of making one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives.

First we started using email which is very valuable because it lets us communicate much easier and cheaper than regular mail. It also gives us a record of what was being said and enables us to make notes that we could refer back to. We can go back and forth with our clients and not have to call them on the phone all the time; which is great, especially if they are at work and can’t talk on the phone.

Then, we started texting … which was convenient because you could send a quick message during a meeting and let the other person know you would call them back. It was also a good way to send someone a phone number or address. But lately I feel that we are losing touch and just maybe we should be more careful.

Have you noticed that real estate agents are faxing over offers and never calling you to follow up? I alone have had this happen several times just this month! Then to make matters even worse, I had one of the Realtor’s clients call me directly to ask if I had gotten their offer? I asked them who their agent was...and then after doing a thorough email search I did not have an offer from that agent.

Believe me, this was not a comfortable position to be in … what do I tell the buyer client that is checking up on their agent?  The agent then called me the next day and exclaimed that he had the wrong email?

Fellow Realtors, do you remember when we used to present offers in person so we could properly present our clients to the other agent and sellers? Sadly, this practice is going away. I know we are all busy, but how about a quick phone call to the other agent saying “I am sending you an offer, this is who I am, and this is why my clients love this home”... have you not heard of rapport building? How about a follow up phone call to see if I got the offer  … that would be good, or … just ask me for a response to your emailed offer.

Now, about using email for the lockbox codes on vacant homes; first of all, I think my fellow Realtors should be using the more secure Supra automated lockboxes that tell who has been in the home! But if you must use a code box … when you ask us to email you to request you send us the code, then please respond. When trying to set up showings for my buyer clients, First I try calling you on the phone on a Friday afternoon, if there is no answer I leave a message. I also email you because that is in the instructions you wrote in the multiple listing system. Saturday comes and goes … I still have no code....finally on Monday morning I get an answer to my email which I sent on Friday so I could show the property last weekend....this doesn’t work for either of us and most importantly … does not serve your seller! If you ask me to do something, then follow up and check your email or your phone messages.

Now, on to the texting subject … the reason you may not call me to tell me about your offer is because you are soooooo busy...so you text me instead where you tell me you are sending an offer over. Just one problem, there are over 10,000 real estate agents in our area and … when you do not have a signature on your text...I do not have a clue who you are...so I have to call you to find out...believe, me you are not scoring points if this is a multiple offer situation.

My thinking is that if you don’t have time NOW to effectively communicate with me to submit your offer, then your follow up during the transaction will be poor. Also, I spend about 40% of my time in the car and aside from the fact that is it against the law, I do not check text messages in the car. You can find out much faster if you just call me, I will answer on my Bluetooth or call you back if you left a message.

To finish up how this train of thought all started is simple. I was on the phone with a friend the other day and she was telling me how few friends she feels that she has. I am one of the few that calls her … meaning we actually have a conversation once a week for a few minutes regardless of how busy we both are, me with my business and she with her kids. Now she knows she has other friends because they will email her jokes or email her that they should get together, then they start to skip that and just text her. She may call them but they don’t answer the phone. They text her back that they can’t talk right then but will call her later, and they forget to call later. Then they text her the next day telling her to have a great day....

Potential clients email us to find out about listings and we email them back. We should also be calling them and telling them a little bit more about why that property is special. Maybe we should make an effort to make an emotional connection with them.

Once you have a client, a seller or a buyer, don’t take them for granted. Don’t just email them and text them … actually pick up the phone and talk to them. It is important that they know that you really do care and that they hear that emotion in your voice.

I guess what I am really trying to say is let me know YOU care. If you are a Realtor then call me before you send over an offer. If you don’t care enough to know if I got it, why should I care? I think you should call your clients once a week and have a actual conversation with them. They may know what is going on with their transaction, but do they know you care?

Family and friends, if I try calling you and you do not answer and you never call back, but you text all the time because you are busy … what kind of message do you think that delivers? Short texts of “I will call you later, miss you, etc.” Get old fast. Soon I simply give up. Sometimes, I call to find out what’s going on with your life and did you get that item you wanted? Was the game good? By the time I get ahold of you I have forgotten some of the important things I wanted to tell you about.

Eventually, people will tire and will reach out to people that WILL talk to them. People want that emotional connection and will be drawn to the people that give it to them. I love technology and innovative ideas and … I love social media and the fact that I have that connection with people, but I don’t want to lose my emotional connection that I forge with people by having a conversation with them.

I don’t want to sell someone’s house and not know how they feel. I want them to be happy. I want to hear my niece’s excitement about a new love in her life; I want to hear people living! I want you to call me because you want that offer to go through.

Don’t let your texting and emailing take your emotional side away. These are great tools. but people want you to care. When I was growing up Hallmark had an ad campaign slogan … When You care To Send The Very Best … well my advice is when you care about the person you are communicating with … say it with the spoken word … Until Next time … Allison Van Wig©




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