It is an eerie feeling when you have requested a prospective home buyer to return your call or to respond to your email and you don’t hear a word from them. What are you supposed to think? I can tell you from my experience that many thoughts run through your mind. You might wonder where they are, why haven’t they called, did I do or say something to offend them, are they talking with another agent, are they trying to go around me to save a commission? These are very legitimate thoughts because you don’t know these people and they don’t know you. You may have only spoken to them one time and then, for whatever reason, can’t seem to connect with them again.
Let’s evaluate our previous conversation with that particular prospective client. Exactly how easy did you make it for them to remember your name? Did you give them a business card or was that one of the prospects that you told you were out of cards? Did you give everyone, husband and wife, parents or friends, a business card or did you just hand one to the man. Did you have a meaningful consultation with the prospect so they fully understood the buying process? Let’s look at a few ways to make it easier for our prospects to remember us and to contact us.
First it is imperative to have a complete consultation with a new prospective client as soon as you meet them. You are possibly entering into a business relationship so both parties need to know what to expect from the other party. You both need to know the preferred method for communicating and make sure each has the others cell phone number. If you wish to represent a person in buying a new home, you really need to know more than the basic number of bedrooms and the amount they want to invest. Both the agent and the buyer need to know how the other person feels about certain things. This has to happen before there is any semblance of trust which is necessary to have a lasting relationship.
The second thing to consider is our name; is it hard to remember or maybe even difficult to say. I’m not suggesting that anyone change their name but if you have a name that is uncommon, the prospect may be hesitant to call. I currently have two students that have very unusual names. So much so that I couldn’t begin to pronounce them so I asked for help. I had one of them in my office and asked her to pronounce her first name very slowly while I watched her lips move. It wasn’t until our second meeting that I could properly pronounce her name. I also explained the difficulty that her first name would cause to a prospective client. My personal experience is that I am hesitant to call someone when I don’t know their name or can’t pronounce it. If someone is not native to our country, we might not be able to pronounce their first or last name and if we have met them previously, it really becomes an embarrassment to ask them how to say their name. We need to address situations like these in our initial consultation.
Third, is our email address easy to understand? I have had lots of people tell me their email address and when I tried sending them a message it was returned undeliverable. I have seen people with what they consider a cutesy email address like beachbum@……. or beachiewomen@…….. How do these type addresses relate to you as a person, or to the sale of real estate, or as a professional? Let’s examine why the address is important. An address needs to be simple. For example; [email protected] is simple and easy to understand. It’s even easy to remember. If a buyer had written this address down on a piece of paper and nothing else and then saw it several days later, chances are good they would remember who it belonged to and why they wrote it down. Why you said? Because my web address is www.JamesAnderson.org and there they see property for sale. From there they are able to search for new properties. James Anderson resonates with real estate and that’s what they are interested in. Now given the same scenario, what if the client wrote down beachbum@…… does it resonate with real estate? Very doubtful and they don’t have a person’s name or a website to use if they want to contact them.
Is our web addressing a professionally designed website that is user friendly? This is very important. We are in the computer age when most people search for property on the internet and don’t talk to an agent until they want to see a property. You need to have a site that attracts the web crawler so you can be found on search engines. Your website represents you so it needs to be very professional, helpful and easy to maneuver around. If it’s not, they may never call you again; nor accept your phone calls either.
Do we have a phone number that is easy to remember? We can’t all have a phone number that can be remembered as an acronym for our name, real estate or company name. The mistake I see so many people make is moving from one area to another, that has a different area code, and they don’t want to get a new number. Since I live in a resort area I see lots of real estate agents that move from other states to Alabama but keep their old cell phone number. They don’t want to lose any contacts and they don’t want to notify all their contacts about a number change. This may seem minor but it’s really a big issue. People don’t want to be represented by someone who is simply licensed. They want to work with someone who has lived in the area for a long time and knows the local market. If I were a prospective buyer for property in Alabama, why would I call an agent with a Texas phone number? I would think that they don’t live in Alabama, or they haven’t lived here long, or they have homes in both states, or they aren’t sure if they are going to stay in Alabama so they aren’t going to change numbers until they decide. It may even leave the impression that they are part-time agents.
All these things are ways we are branding ourselves. We want to make it easy for people to remember us as real estate professionals. We want to make it easy for them to contact us by whichever method they want to use. We want to make ourselves available to prospective clients at all times. Lastly, we want to impress them enough that they will welcome any type communication we use to contact them.
Should you have specific questions concerning various issues, please let me know and I’ll research the answer for you. I also want to encourage you to subscribe to our “News & Updates” weekly report so you can stay abreast of issues that might affect you when buying or selling real estate. If you haven’t visited my website, please go to www.AlabamaRealEstateInstitute.com and view previous articles.