Hope Is Never a Strategy
Mark Schnurman Sept. 10, 2014, 4:11 p.m.
The summer is unofficially over and it is time for brokers to refocus their efforts. The NYC real estate industry slows down in the summer, especially in late August, as many key players vacation. You must reconnect and build on your relationships by evaluating your clients and developing and executing a communications strategy.
Before discussing the specific approaches, it is important to realize that an intentional approach is always better than no plan. Hope is never a strategy. So when it comes to communications there is a hierarchy of impact which I will list in descending order. Face-to-face meetings are the most effective, followed by phone calls and emails.
Prioritize. It is crucial to immediately identify your most important clients. List your clients from high likelihood of transacting in the near future to lowest likelihood. As you create the list you will notice that there are a lot less who will probably transact soon versus those who will not. That is okay and merely reflects the low number of owners who actually sell in a given period. It also allows you to create a communications strategy.
Once you have segmented your client list the next step is to decide on whom you will meet with, call or email. Then it comes down to execution.
Face-to-face meetings are a great way to discuss business with your top clients. These are fabulous in the early fall as the weather is still good and people are generally focused on business. Endeavor to have at least one face-to-face meeting a day during the month of September. Schedule a meal or an early morning/late afternoon stop by but prioritize human contact.
During the meetings find out what, if anything, has changed, their expectations of the market and what their plans are. Pay particular attention not only to what they say but how they say it. Listen to hear what properties they are passionate about buying, selling, refinancing, and leasing.
Lower on the communications hierarchy but still effective are phone calls. Phones provide much greater bandwidth to communicate than face-to-face meetings do since there is no travel or scheduling conflicts involved. Pick up the phone and call all the people who are not top level priorities but suggested in the past that they would consider selling or buying after the summer. If the calls go well you can schedule a meeting. If not try to gain a deeper understanding of their timeline and motivations.
In addition to face-to-face meetings it is good practice to reconnect via email. While you may have been sending emails over the past several weeks the lazy daze of summer may have lessoned the impact. Email is a great complement to meetings and phone calls because it allows you to easily communicate to the masses.
Emails can be personalized or sent to a group. The most impactful are the personalized ones but obviously they take more time to send.
In addition to meetings, calls and emails there are a few other ideas to sprinkle into your fall plan. Networking functions abound in the early fall. This is a great way to “bump” into people and either establish or deepen relationships. Also, handwritten notes, especially in our time of technology, are very successful and a great way to foster sincerity especially with difficult-to-connect-with people.
The summer is over and it is time to create and execute a communications plan. I hope you find these tips helpful.