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Managing Time for Client Communication

May 14, 2011
by Scott Levitt ·  

Stop watch image.Successful Agents Schedule Rapport-Building & Client Communication as a Priority Task

In keeping with other areas of managing their real estate careers, agents who work primarily by referral credit scheduling time for rapport-building efforts as a major factor in their success.  Following the maxim, “things which get scheduled get done,” these agents set aside time on a daily or weekly basis to ensure they stay on top of staying in touch with their clients and prospects in a meaningful manner.

Though the specific times vary, most report good success either early in the morning or after mainstream business hours, citing that an hour of uninterrupted focus time pays greater dividends than a stolen few minutes between calls or appointments.

With time set aside for client communication, agents generally opt to spend the time either gathering deeper data about their clients and prospects (or entering in data gathered “in the field”), or dedicating themselves to sending out personalized letters, emails, or handwritten notes.

List of takeaways.The incremental approach pays dividends over time.  Agents who follow this “a letter a day is 365 touches a year” mindset send out, on average, over 10 times the personal letters than their competitors.  Though the results from these drip campaigns can’t always be fully quantified or forecast, interest tends to be sustained throughout the year.

Prior to engaging in a regular, systematic approach, many agents found that managing response to “batches” or “waves” of mailings (done sporadically and in bulk) frequently caused them to fall short of client expectations due to unanticipated work load.

Scheduling rapport-building activities keeps the overall task of staying in touch manageable.  Given the time it takes to cultivate trust (and the longer cycle between opportunities), a good number of market leading agents wish they had simply started the process earlier.  Many cite personal letters as the reason they have been able to sustain their business through the real estate downturn of 2008 – 2011.

An additional benefit to blocking off time for relationship building and using a CRM system to track “touches” is the ability to plan ahead for scheduled communications while adding in a periodic mix of spontaneous “one off” messages which are more timely—i.e. framed around current community events, local news, or chance meetings.

According to agents, the key to maximizing the time set aside for personal communication is ensuring that there are ample ideas available for when the time comes to reach out to clients.  Facing a blank screen is one of the most time consuming aspects of staying in touch.

Some agents keep a “swipe file” of past letters which they can use as inspiration or templates for custom communication.  In rare cases, agents with significant cash flow and support staff employed assistants to help craft content specifically for their marketing and personal communication strategy.

[Click here for a free copy of the 26-page report from which this post was originally taken, "6 Key Findings: How Successful Agents Build a Referral-Based Business"]

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