Tag Archives: contacts with clients

Care and Feeding of the “Ten”—Making Sure You Contact the Really Important People in Your Practice No Less Frequently than Once a Week

In a way, I am torn. I have totally “bought in” to social media, and I do not miss a day when I do not log in to Active Rain. I must admit that my ActiveRain experience would be truthfully designated as one for  “fun and profit”,  because I have only been on ActiveRain since last March, and I have developed a lot of friendships on the blogging site, quite unexpectedly,  I might add. I tweet once in a while and sort of keep up on Facebook and Linked-In, but not as much as I probably should. As one person aptly put it at the recent New York Rain Camp, which I attended, “There are only a certain number of hours in the day when I am awake!!!!!”

Having said all the above, I remain a traditional guy, with traditional values. My connections with the real estate industry in Massachusetts for the past forty years has taught me one thing. There are approximately TEN people in your professional life who make a difference to you, and you need to be in touch with them on a frequent basis, no less frequently than weekly, in my circumstances. These are the people who send you referrals; these are the people who are your “raving fans”. These are the people you cannot miss “connecting with” at least once a week.

My procedure for the TEN is quite simple. Every Monday morning I write their names down on a sheet of yellow legal paper. I look at my Outlook schedule and put in a contact with each of the TENsome time that week. I usually vary the approach. Sometimes it is an email just saying “hi–anything doing?”. Other times it is a call to their cell phone. Once in a while it is a handwritten note. I try to throw in impromptu visits “because I happened to be in the neighborhood” which, at times, is a small exaggeration since my intention was to drive “to then neighborhood”.

Anything to get into communication with these important people. Why, you ask? Because once the dialogue begins, good things almost always start flowing from it. “Gee, do you do that work?” “Oh, you know this person.” “Can you introduce me to Susie Jones? I really have been dying to meet her”. All of these “openings” can lead to “closings” and closings is what makes my world go around.

Like me, you will find that the membership in the TENis a shifting constituency. People who used to be sources of ideas and business are no longer as enthusiastic. Domestic problems and health issues can distract people. They may be losing interest. You can stay their friend, but they gradually shift out of the TEN. Compiling the list, and then reshuffling it from time time time, is a worthwhile exercise. If you are a record keeper like me, you will be amazed at how view these people are the twenty percent of your client who produce eighty per cent of your business. Treat them with the deference that such standing deserves.

Eliminating the Emotion–No job that we do as Real Estate Professionals is more important

I recently wrote a Featured Post about negotiating. I stressed how important it was for people to “walk” at some point in negotiations, either before the property was placed under agreement or at the closing table.

The consistent sentiment from those of you who responded was that you worked hard in the beginning of the engagement to develop a set of expectations from your client , and then tried as heard as you could to keep  that “wish list”, if you will, in front of the client, at all stages, with the objective that  the client would not change course and start to ask for new concessions, normally late in the game.

This approach appears commendable. Almost everything in our business improves with preparation and diligence. I would suggest another important element when you are speaking with your client early in the game. Tell the client that emotions should be “left at home” while they are negotiating for their home. As much as they want the home, or want to sell the home, they need to maintain a “poker face” throughout the process.

In my experience, any  significant show of emotion by Buyer or Seller opens up the doors to the other side. A client needs to  be comfortable with his or her goals for the transaction. They may change somewhat after the home inspection. Perhaps, they need even to be put down in writing. But, I have found that we do out best for our clients if we remind them, gently but firmly, that they should not lose sight of what their goals were in the transaction and what they really expected.

Sometimes the best way to remove emotion is to remove the client. Urge your Seller not to attend the cllosing. Nothing is added by the Seller’s presence, and the chance for an emotional flare-up is increased by the Seller’s presence. The  parties do not need to like the people on the other side; they just need to accomplish what they originally set out to do, purchase, or sell, the property, on terms which they have assessed as fair. If we can keep them focused on that course, we are doing our job,

System “5/25”—A Proven Way to stay in touch with your Players

Over the years, it has become more and more apparent to me that sales involves connecting with people who know, and appreciate, what I have to offer, not at my convenience, but, realistically, at theirs. One way I have found to stay in touch with these important contacts is to utilize the “5/25 System” on a consistent basis.

The System is simple. Pick out your 5 most important clients, or customers, and put them on a schedule. Then, analyze the rest of the important people in your business and pare that list down to 25 people. Obviously, the list of 30, as I call it, can change on a dime. The best way for it to change is for some new player to arrive on the scene to supplant someone else, who is marginal. The worst way your list can change is for a “favored 30” player and you to have a falling out, or disagreement, which makes continued contact with that person difficult, or maybe even impossible. If the latter happens, be decisive!!!! Excise that person from the list and find an acceptable substitute.

     1. The “Favored Five”.  You need to get yourself in front of the favored five at least once a week. Since these people are so important, it probably makes sense to vary your contact. Some weeks it may be a long email or a meeting for a cup of coffee. Other weeks you might invite them to a play or ball game. Whatever the excuse, you MUST be in front of these five people every week, without fail. At some point, your “Favored Five” are going to see what you are doing. None of mine have every held against me my elevating them to this favored status. Most understand that I am making a commitment to ============-][frequent communication with them so I can acknowledge how important they are to me practice.

     2. The “Terrific Twenty-five”.  These people are very important to me, but they have not achieved “Favored Five” status. In time, they may reach that level. For the time being, the “Terrific Twenty-five” need to be contacted at least once a month. Obviously, you can get with them more than that, but under no circumstances, should you let a month go by without an email, telephone call, visit at their office, or other contact. You need to stay on the “Terrific Twenty-five” radar screen. You do not need to make them a weekly contact, but they need to know that you are “around” and you care.

The results of this rathered structured approach have been impressive for me. My “Favored Five” people have generally been the ones who respond to new initiatives and proposals. When I am in front of them, they “remember” things which they wanted to discuss with me and thus new opportunities arise. The “Terrific Twenty-five” are in a slightly different category. They have not lost touch with me, but I am not a constant part of their business life, in most circumstances. That can sometimes be a good thing. Sometimes, the “Terrifics” want to change their role. Many times this is justified. The group of thirty is not static; you will see changes evolve as you move ahead.

There is nothing mystical about the 5 and 25 numerical selections. What is important is that you identify your “real players” and your “might be real players” as soon as possible, and then make sure you find ways to have continuing interaction with them. For me, this has been an incredible “practice builder” and also a way for me to develop lifetime friendships. What is better than those two results?