Do your phones ring off the hook? You know that an office where the phones are constantly ringing is a good sign that business is booming.
You can use the phone to generate leads and convert those leads into instructions.
If you’re not generating the volume of leads and new instructions that you want, you may not be making the most of this wonderful communication device.
In this blog I’m going to share with you why you should be using the phone along with top tips on how to use the phone effectively.
Given we all have the same 24 hours in a day and there is so much that you need to fit in those hours, nothing will get you in front of a potential customer faster than the phone.
You want an answer straight away? Then pick up the phone. No need to wait for an answer or play email tennis over the course of several days or deal with misinterpreted emails. The phone stops all that.
It’s also a great way of getting through your prospect list without spending countless hours writing prospect letters.
And then wondering if they were ever delivered because you got no response from that keen prospective buyer that came into the branch the other week...
People are often sending email and instant messages whilst doing something else. Making a call means taking time out of your day.
This shows you care, you’re giving them your attention and demonstrates better customer service.
The meaning or urgency can get lost when conveyed by written words, because some things are just more effectively communicated verbally by phone. On the phone, you can clarify something there and then.
There are so many different ways of communicating and on a number of platforms thanks to all the advancements in technology but how can you be sure who knows how to use what? Instead you can make life simpler by picking up the phone.
When you meet any prospective vendor in- person, you’ll naturally put all the stops out to make a good impression. There’s no reason to treat the phone call any differently.
When you answer the phone the person calling will build an instant impression of you. You’ll want to come across as enthusiastic, helpful and efficient, not sound irritated, because you’ve been interrupted.
So to show you welcome the call, always give your name and by asking how you can help.
Yes you can smile down the phone. If you are physically smiling then you will naturally have an upbeat voice.
We’ve all been on that phone call, wondering if the other person is listening or even cares. And how often have you been tempted to ask them that?
By coming across as positive and decisive (this is what verbally nodding does) rather than vague or distracted you’ll make the other person feel instantly listened to.
Injecting some agreement tones such as “hmmm” and “I agree” and “I’m listening” and “I hear what you're saying” will make your prospective vendor or buyer feel that you really are giving them a whole heap of attention.
This is especially true when you really don’t know it all.
And it’s fine to admit this, but offer to find out the answer and get back to them as soon as possible.
If the customer has called the office and you’re really busy, take their details and let them know you’ll call back at a time that is convenient to them.
Just make sure the call back happens.
We have had homeowners tell us that they have simply instructed the Estate Agent that returned the call when they said they would.
Perhaps, it’s just a few bad apples that are ruining the bunch but please do this.
This is probably a controversial one as others may suggest you and your team should have a script, so you’re never stumped with what to say.
But one size does not fit all.
If you read from a script, imagine what it would sound like to the other person - yep like you’re reading from a script.
Don’t rely on stock phrases or replies either, these just come across as salesy.
By responding to what the person is saying it will show that your Estate Agency has confident staff and the customer will feel listened to.
This should go without saying, but we run into it more frequently than we should!
Make sure you have a professional voicemail message, not only on your office phone but also on your mobile.
Even something as simple as, “Hello, you’ve reached Jack at Agent Extra. Please leave me a message, and I will get back to you as soon as possible” is a huge improvement over an automated or impersonal – or even a too personal – message.
Attracting prospective clients is like trying to attract a new girlfriend or boyfriend.
You would never dream of attracting a partner by talking about yourself all night on a first date, would you?
So why are you just talking about the 101 great things about your Estate Agency and not asking them about their reasons for moving?
Create a story about your Estate Agency, don’t just be another high-street agent trying to sell and let homes. Give people a reason to engage with you; keep it interesting and personable.
People are much more likely to want to use your Estate Agency if there is a human story behind your service.
Think like the vendor or the buyer.
Buying property is a BIG decision and can be a BIG expense. Many (not all) customers do have concerns about making such a large purchase.
Phrases such as “trust me” (they definitely won’t if you say that) are off-putting and will likely result in them finding another Estate Agent who is willing to listen and that they do trust.
Asking, “What exactly are you looking for?” or “What concerns do you have about buying the property?” followed by really listening and using some of the agreement nods that I mentioned earlier will show the customer that you really do care.
Simply saying, “I understand, a lot of clients have similar concerns. That is why we take the time to value the property” can help to put a client at ease.
Another one of the important communication tips for you as an Estate Agent is to understand what frustrations your customers have right now.
When you know that someone is switching Estate Agents asking “How has your experience with the other agent?” or “What are you looking for in an agent?” are great questions.
If you can put prospective vendors' minds at ease you will most likely get a new instruction.
Buyers ultimately want an agent who will help them. So, find out what that ‘help’ is.
“I hate making cold calls” I hear you say.
That’s partly why I have left this to the end although my advice is to you it’s really something you want to prioritise if you want to get those leads and instructions in.
A vital part of the prospecting process.
You may argue that you can buy leads in and perhaps you already subscribe to that service. Either way, it really is the way to get you confidently talking to your potential customers.
I’m going to let you in on a secret. No - one that started out in the Estate Agency world liked making cold calls.
You don’t have to like making cold calls to be successful at them.
Another secret, I don’t like doing cardio at the gym for 30 minutes either but I do it because I know it’s good for my heart.
No wise cracks here about calling the Ghostbusters. The first thing you need is a list to call.
Why not start with people that expressed an interest but for whatever reason they didn’t progress to using your service?
Some people may argue that this isn’t really cold calling. Tell that to the people who are on your list and don’t remember you from Adam.
The logic behind this is, that these people already had a desire to sell their home, and what better lead is there to call than someone who was already interested in your service.
Why? Because if you do the thing that you least want to do first thing you are already ahead and the day can only get better for you right?
It’s been said that you're 70% more likely to get to the gym or do exercise if you get dressed in the right gear first thing.
I believe this is true and I slip into my workout gear ready to do that cardio, that equally, like your cold calling, I don’t want to do either.
Even if you are an independent Estate Agent you’re probably not a one person team. Get into the office and get motivated.
It’s going to be a lot tougher if you’re going to do this all by yourself and by trying to be the secret agent!
I know you probably aren’t going to like this one.
If you don’t want to be an amateur, then act as a professional and rehearse! By having someone act as a customer you can get all the jitters, errors and sweaty palms dealt with before you make the call for real.
Did you know that simply standing while you speak makes you feel powerful and in control? And isn’t that what you want if you are going to make cold calls?
Use this to your advantage and stand up when you make calls. Your back will thank you for it too.
Did you know that many of our Estate Agent clients come to us for their own training and 75% ask us to handle calls for them?
If this is an area that you feel you and your team struggle with, don’t suffer in silence, get in touch with me at Agent Extra.