Chapter Eight from the book Less Blah Blah More Ah Ha – How social savvy real estate agents become trusted, preferred, referred — and rewarded. By Ken Brand
On-Purpose and In-Person Contact and Conversations
“You are the only person on earth who can use your ability.” ~M. Kathleen Casey
If you somehow manage to get six hours of sleep, you’re left with eighteen mostly awake hours to do all the bajillion things you need to do in the day. Eighteen hours sounds like a lot, but it’s not. It’s only 1,080 minutes. With your 1,080 minutes you have to take care of yourself, take care of others, make money, run errands, pay bills, love, laugh, cry, play, and plan. Because your time and energy is finite, it’s important that your real estate efforts are keenly focused and highly leveraged. You don’t have any time to spare, right?
Your Most Important Activity Isn’t Hoping
Unfortunately, the real estate business is a hotbed of hope, and our industry is overloaded with agents who hope that they can advertise, direct mail, and e-mail their way to success. They mistake monologue broadcasting with in-person contact and bombard friends, strangers, and neighbors with postcards and e-cards, hoping for a call back. They shoot out Just Listed and Sold announcements with no personal contact, dreaming of lucky lighting strikes. They spend hours creating the perfect and magically-hypnotic, twelve-page “Why You Should List with Me” expired listing and FSBO seller proposal — then they drop them in the mail and wait for a stranger who doesn’t know them to call another stranger (the agent), ask for their help, and throw money at them.
If their direct and e-mail blasting campaign isn’t working (and it never does), they double down on hopeless and plunk down maxed-out credit cards to buy worthless magazine and newspaper ads, chasing new strangers…and hoping harder than ever.
Earlier we talked about how buyers and sellers choose their real estate agents – rarely is a stranger chosen. Throughout the book we talk about strategies, tactics, and specifics on knowing what others don’t and doing what others won’t. All of these are ideas are pointless without On-Purpose and In-Person Contact and Conversations. Bottom line, without them you can’t be successful.
Let’s take a look a look at what happens when On-Purpose and In-Person Contact and Conversations happen.
In-Person Contact Leads to Conversations and Connection
In-person contact is the only certain path to success. When contact does not include a conversation, it’s not In-Person Contact, it’s a monologue advertising broadcast. To be clear — direct mail and e-mail blasts, print and electronic advertising, status updates, blog posts, and other forms of online and offline promotions that don’t include a conversation do not fall into the In-Person Contact category, they fall into the broadcast contact category. (As an aside, there is an important place for strategic and targeted broadcast contact, but it’s a supplement to success, not primary to it.)
There are three positive and profitable forms of In-Person Contact; I’ve listed them below in the order of their effectiveness.
1. Face-to-Face – Real Time and Online via Skype, Apple Face Time, Google Chat, etc.
Face-to-Face is best because we can use all our senses to engage, connect, and communicate. Body language, facial gestures, and tone of voice all add weight and depth to the conversation, and meaning to our mutual understanding and connection.
2. Voice-to-Voice – Cell/Telephone
This is second best because we’re missing all the visual cues, but we can respond to tone of voice, ask follow-up questions to improve our understanding and add context and detail to clarify and colorize our conversation.
3. Text-to-Text (virtual) – Social media conversations. Text messaging, online chat, e-mail and other forms of typed conversations.
We’ve all experienced the conversation-flattening effect of Text-to-Text conversations. When we read another person’s dialogue we miss out on important body language, facial gestures, and tone of voice cues. Because we can sometimes misinterpret or misunderstand what’s been written, Text-to-Text is at the bottom of this all-important list. But let’s not discount the growing importance of this form of In-Person Contact by mis-considering it a teenager’s toy. Not only are half a billion people who engaging in Text-to-Text conversations on Facebook and other online social media networks, were sending send over 4.1 billion text messages every day. (Let’s not ignore, but embrace Text-to-Text, my friends.)
Any way you Ronco Slice & Dice it, the key to success in the real estate business hinges on correct forms of contact. When In-Person Contact is made, conversation takes place, and like bees buzz, possibilities bloom. Especially if one of them (you) is listening with elephant-eared interest to what the other person has to say. This is critical because the more sincerely we listen, the better we understand where a person is coming from. The more we understand each other, the more we appreciate each other. When we appreciate each other our connection deepens, and our relationships naturally colorize and click as we uncover multiple levels of mutual interest.
Conversation and Connection Lead to Trust and Discovery
As our connection and mutual understanding grow, so does our trust. Trust leads to sharing our dreams and desires, unmet needs and challenges, likes and dislikes with each other. The more others share with us, the more we discover how we can best help, support, share with, or serve them.
Trust and Discovery Lead to Sharing, Solving, and Serving
This part is where the rubber meets the road, and is super important. Well, it all is, but this part especially so.
When I speak about sharing, solving, and serving, I’m not suggesting you focus exclusively on real estate-related sharing, solving, and service opportunities. In fact, an exclusive focus on real estate things makes us one-dimensional and annoying. The goal is to become the Go-to Girl/Giu for all things related to community, family, home, entertainment, lifestyle . . . and real estate stuff.
For example, some of my appreciated sharing has taken place on Facebook and has nothing to do with selling or listing houses. The best conversation starters happen when I talk about everyday life things, when I share personal photos and miscellaneous web links to community information for events, festivals, concerts, and positive local news.
By engaging in one-on-one conversations (on and offline), listening intently and being curiously engaged, you will discover what to share, and how you can help and best serve others.
Aside from the personal examples I shared above, yours might include: recommendations for youth sports leagues for their kids; a housekeeping service; a great (maybe new) local restaurant; the perfect hotel in the city they will be vacationing in next month; the dry cleaner who doesn’t break buttons; the lawn maintenance crew that actually shows up when they say they will; the newly released movie you LOVED and thought they would too; an interesting blog post on something they care about. The main point is, share relevant stuff, not just real estate stuff. Your ratio of civilian stuff to real estate stuff should be about 80/20.
When sharing things non-real-estate-related, you never have to mention real estate — simply deliver the information wrapped in your real estate agent wrapper. What do I mean by that? When you e-mail an article, link, or other suggestion, your real estate agent e-mail signature is your wrapper. If you snail mail something, add a couple of business cards; your business stationery and the logo printed on the envelope also double as your real estate agent wrapper. When out and about, during business hours, wear your name badge to remind the people you’re talking to what business you’re in.
Always follow-up your e-mailed or snail-mailed information with a phone call. Simply call them up, say hello, and ask if they received the information you’ve sent.
Sharing, Solving, and Serving Leads to Being Chosen and Recommended
The beautiful thing about sharing, solving problems, and serving others is that you will find that their appreciation for you, their attraction to you, and their trust and confidence in you grow naturally. Done sincerely, you will tattoo your Technicolor Top of Mind Awareness into their subconscious. When they, or their friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, or relatives need information — especially real estate information, solutions, or services — you will be the first person they think of and contact.
Now That We Understand the Importance of In-Person and On-Purpose Contact and Conversations, What Next?
The questions you should ask yourself are:
How many In-Person and On-Purpose conversations do I typically have each day?
- Do I listen with elephant-eared attention?
- Am I asking the right questions?
- Am I discovering what others need, desire, enjoy, believe, value, and care about?
- Do my conversations make others feel significant?
- Do I share, solve problems, and serve?
If you’re not having rich, On-Purpose and In-Person conversations (with civilians, not colleagues) every day, you’re strangling your success. If your daily conversations are tainted with aimless yammering, if it’s about me-me-me, and blah-blah-yada, you’re killing your success and repelling opportunity.
Relationships, financial success, and fun begin and end with personal contact and rich conversations. When you get to Stage III of this book you’ll discover dozens of way to create respectful, relevant, and appreciated contact and conversation. Pick a few and get started today; you’ll reap the rewards in short order.
In addition to all the benefits we’ve just covered, here’s another huge bonus. In-Person Conversations position you in the direct-opportunity path of least resistance and convenience. Making these kinds of contacts provides an opportunity for someone to easily and immediately share a referral. You see, people have only 1,080 minutes to get their things done. They’re way too busy to stop what they’re doing, dial your number, and share a referral. But if you contact them, they will happily share an opportunity with you.
Your New Beginning
It’s simple. Have more conversations every day. Does this make sense?
Will you have more conversations?
How many In-Person, On-Purpose conversations will you have today?
When will you start?
Let me know how it goes. Rock on!
This is the end of Stage I, the part of the book in which we covered the philosophy behind the approach that has helped me and thousands of others’ careers go from sour to sweet. So now you’re ready to apply The Golden Rule 2.0, establish all-important Top of Mind Awareness, identify and connect with compatible tribes by using that psychographic stuff I shared with you, and make In-Person, On-Purpose Contact and Conversations.
No? You’re not feeling all the King Kong confident yet? Whaddya mean, you have a few extra issues to clear up first? Well, okay…let’s deal with them next. Because to be perfectly honest with you, the biggest black-flag barrier to our success is not the economy, lack of experience, your broker…or anything else external. It’s those 101 little ways in which we tend to self-sabotage ourselves and our personal success.
Starting with that really big one—FEAR.
Thanks for reading. If I can be helpful, let me know: Ken Brand 832-797-1779. If you’d like own the book, it’s available on Amazon.com – just click HERE to get started.