The number one complaint buyers and sellers have about their real estate agent is poor communication. This complaint seems odd, especially with the number of automated "keep in touch" systems that are around today.
Think about this: Is your client communication high-automation, high-touch or both?
It should be both.
High-automation works great for farming and moving leads from your websites through your pipeline. And, there are plenty of options for contact management automation. But when those leads sign your representation agreements and become clients, their expectations go up.
Suddenly, contracts are being written, contingencies are being satisfied, appraisals are being performed, and the lot. That is where high-touch enters the game.
High-touch communication involves conveying good news and bad news, and each requires a different approach. Remember, when you communicate good news, you get the credit. When you communicate bad news, you get the blame.
Good news should be conveyed in writing. Bad news should be handled in a brief telephone conversation with a distinct solution put in place.
Delivering the Good News
With good news, you should always write a letter. You may have a series of material you already use with your clients for various topics, like a "hooray, the house appraised" letter. Put this good news in writing, whether by formal business letter or handwritten note, and mail it to your client.
The reason to mail the letter is because it will be read once between the mailbox and kitchen counter where it will await a spouse to come home. At which time, it'll be read a second time.
It will then be placed on the home office desk where it will be read the third time before being placed in the file with the contract you wrote that is moving toward a successful closing. A minimum of three touch points is huge for a communication that takes minutes to produce.
Why will your letter be opened and read so many times?
Simply because you are in contract with your client. When you see material come from your representatives, you read them. When it’s good news, you read it two or three times. For this reason, your letter should always include some referral language too. Reading your referral language three times can be very powerful.
Fixing the Bad News
When there is bad news, and there will be, pick up the phone and dial.
Using the same example, what if the appraisal comes in low? Quickly call your client. This is important: Keep dialing until you get a live voice. Do not settle for voicemail.
You do not want to convey bad news via voicemail, text or email where your client can re-read the bad news over and over. You want your client to quickly know the problem. Tell them you are working as hard as you can to find a solution. Period, end of story. End the conversation on a positive.
Explain the solution to the problem and the steps you will take on their behalf. Ensure them that they are in good hands and you will be in touch shortly. This will relieve an anxious client.
We all know an anxious client can take up at least twice the time and effort as a calm, happy one. By keeping the anxiety to a minimum with a short, reassuring phone call, you have more time to work on the problem. Once the issue is fixed, send a good news letter and you’ll be viewed as a problem-solver. And your news will be read and re-read again.
Knowing when to use which form of communication makes a huge difference in how your clients handle good and bad news. Combining this simple, high-touch technique with other high-automation communication will have a positive impact on both your top and bottom lines.