If I could mention one thing that defines success in the real estate business and one were to count everything else that would be, “staying in touch”. Success in one’s personal and professional life both boil down to “Staying in Touch” Staying in touch with our friends, family, past clients, past prospects, current clients etc. At Gupta & Sen, we believe that anyone whose email id we are in possession of must be stayed in touch-with. In fact to be successful as real estate consultants, we would say that this is all you need to be successful. I personally like to ensure that my name, my phone number and my smiley face is right in the front of people whom I interact with regularly and I know that if I maintain to do only that, business will continue to pour in!
As part of our prospecting plan, we believe that staying in touch with all our former prospects and clients is an integral part of our business. Because if others forget that we exist or they are not able to find our phone number, they will not go out of their way to get in touch with us. It is up to us to ensure that neither of these situations happen.
Why Stay in Touch
I believe that it is important to understand why we must stay in touch with those in our sphere of influence. Any young real estate agent reading this must first of all try and understand why you must stay in touch and once he / she internalises it, then it will come naturally and even become a fun thing. Let us look at why real estate consultants must stay in touch with past prospects and clients and what you are hoping to accomplish by that. A lot of people tend to communicate with us on a regular basis and we do not forget them but here’s the moot question – Do we look forward to their communications? For example, your mobile company and your power company sends you bills and reminder regularly! But do you look forward to their communications? Hardly!
The purpose of staying in touch is not just to be remembered but rather to be remembered fondly. You have to remembered as someone whom your audience likes, trusts and would be highly likely to feel comfortable hiring or referring to. The majority of people or programs that attempt to stay in touch do not accomplish that. Email marketing companies just send your brand or your name or number out there regularly without paying any attention to whether or not what you are providing is enhancing your image or your likeability and making you appear more credible.
How Often Do you Stay in Touch
I recently had a very interesting conversation with my husband. He happened to mention that many years ago in his bachelor days when he moved into the city, he happened to meet a very pleasant and cheerful real estate agent who offered to help him find a 1 BHK in Bandra and over the course of a month of searches and inspections, they had become good friends. So eventually when he did happen to find the apartment that he liked, the estate agent refused to take his commission! The agent just helped him out free of cost. There was no compensation and no obligation. It was just a helpful gesture on the part of the agent.
So a few years later when my husband decided to buy a flat, he naturally called up the same agent and decided to use his services. It is human nature to pay back a helpful gesture. Since the agent gave freely his time and expertise then, he ended up with a good commission when my husband had paying business to give. I was curious to know the name of the agent because I would have surely liked to work with a helpful person like that. But it has been many years since the last transaction and my husband could not come up with his phone number and could barely even remember his name. He did mention though that he would recognize him if he happened to bump into him but he just didn’t have enough information to locate him now.
It is obvious that my husband had not heard from the agent for the longest time. I asked him if the agent had tried to keep in touch with him after the sale of the flat and he replied in the negative. So I asked him again that if he had heard from the agent say 2 – 3 times in a year during the last five years, would he have atleast clearly remembered his name? The answer was yes of course. In fact he said that even if the agent had touched base with him even once a year, he would have been able to recollect his name and address.
This time I asked, “What if he had been in touch with you every month?” This time he said that if the agent had tried to be in touch every month then he would have been annoying and off-putting.
Which leads me to the more obvious question. How often must you stay in touch with people? Actually there is no one answer. I think the best answer comes from you. If you need to remember someone, how often must you hear from them to make you remember them favourably and not grudgingly.
At Gupta and Sen, we like to believe that people like to receive information that is of value to them. If we manage to stay in touch with former prospects and clients by sending them interesting information and research about the real estate market, news etc., then we believe that people will not mind if they happen to hear from us more frequently. Which is why we invested very early on in a newsletter system and an e-mailer service so that whenever we make an effort to communicate, it always adds value to the life of the recipient and more importantly it makes our clients remember us fondly and not with irritation.