RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

APR 2018

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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RISMedia's REAL ESTATE April 2018 29 "I'm sorry, but we're working with another agent ." Ouch! You've been diligently sending automated market updates to that prospect who wasn't quite ready to buy or sell on first contact, and have even snail-mailed reports and local information to keep the connection alive. When you're finally able to con- nect by phone, they say that they're working with someone else. So, how'd that happen? At first glance, we're gifted with those consistent, time-saving, "auto- magic" systems and platforms that keep information flowing to prospec- tive buyers or sellers 24/7. These automatic response platforms are critical to staying connected because they push out relevant information like MLS updates and various re- ports. But there's a serious missing link here—and that's the personal connection. Today's consumer isn't interested in our help until they're ready, so how is an agent supposed to know when the time is right to go from arm's length to more actual contact? Agents default to leaning on auto- mation as a means of contact and connection, when, in fact, the key is relevant information for the moment, as the preferences or needs of pro- spective buyers and sellers continue to change throughout the process. Although email is a spectacular way to document messaging auto- matically, it shouldn't be the only method and means of connection. In fact, the real connection happens when a human connection occurs. At first contact, the prospect re- quests that they receive only factual data and information. Depending on their age demographic, they may prefer not to connect with a human; however, as the relevance for the information and the timing become closer to their needs, it's imperative that other platforms for connection be considered, and a phone call can bridge the gap from automation to connection. Here are a few thoughts to con- sider when communicating with prospects: 1 Review your communication initiatives and determine if you can benefit from some diversity. If you're only using email campaigns, consider the power of using text instead. Heywire Magazine reports that where an email can get lost in an overcrowded inbox, the average text message is opened and read within three minutes. Emails can't be effective if they aren't opened or read several weeks later. When pos- sible, consider deploying text plat- forms that will best connect with a particular age group. 2 If you don't get a response after several emails, mix up the medi- um by using a video email to create a more transparent and personal connection. Ask if it's still appropri- ate to continue sending updates or if they've changed their timing or search parameters. 3 Don't rely on just email or text... pick up the phone! Studies have proven that phone calls provide a higher return on response rate than direct mail, even when used in cold calls. 4 When working with For Sale by Owner (FSBO) or expired listings, skip the email and phone call and make an actual visit. This will show initiative and make a positive im- pression that you're intentional with your services. 5 Avoid sending an email when you need face-to-face commu- nication. Issues like price changes, contract amendments and contract details may be better served face-to- face. If the client is out of town, use a platform like Zoom.us to record the conversation in the event you need it down the road. When we limit ourselves to a sin- gular communication strategy that relies heavily on automation, our chances of bridging the gap from prospect to profit can be impacted. Make a real effort to integrate a personal connection to make more sales. RE Terri Murphy is a communication engagement specialist, author, speaker and coach. She is the author/co-author of five books, and founder of MurphyOn- RealEstate.com. Contact her at TerriMurphy.com, MurphyOnRealEstate.com or Terri@TerriMurphy.com. Are You Using Automation to Abdicate Real Communication? by Terri Murphy

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