Stephen R. Covey, one of the great communicators of all time, said, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships…together.”
Being in the people business, one of the fundamental questions you should ask yourself is, “Am I building great relationships with my clients through effective communication?” Communication doesn’t always have to be verbal or written, but those are the two most common forms of communication. “How do you impart or exchange information with your clients?” “How do you convey your ideas and feelings with your clients?”
I would assert that if you haven’t established effective ways to communicate with your clients, you probably don’t have many clients. “How many clients do you really have?” A client is someone who uses your professional services. In the real estate brokerage business, clients are your lifeblood and since transactions with them happen over a period of years, there is probably nothing more important that effective communication. I have discovered that there are five keys to effective client communication.
- Your communication should be meaningful. You need to be clear and concise in your communication, but you need to speak their language. The goal is to build a stronger bond with your client. If you’re sending out trite information that everybody already knows, you’re wasting their time. Pay attention to the tone of your communication. Be friendly, not argumentative. Be optimistic, not pessimistic. Speak their language.
- Your communication should be consistent. Be consistent in your messaging and the way you communicate with your clients. Your client interactions will develop certain expectations. Systematically market to your client database. To build a relationship with your clients, you need to communicate with them numerous times in a consistent fashion. Find the right approach that works for you, but make sure your clients are “touched” regularly.
- Your communication should reinforce your brand. Think about your brand image, your values, your style, and how you want to be portrayed. Brand style refers to your personal visual representation of who you are. Clients are primarily visual beings. Impressions matter. In your communications, you have a short window of opportunity to get your client’s attention. Whether it’s an email, a website, a newsletter, or some other medium, make sure your branding conveys who you are.
- Your communication should generally have a call to action. What good is communication if it never asks anyone to do anything? From a marketing sense, a call to action exhorts or stimulates someone to do something. It is designed to prompt someone to take immediate action. A call to action aims to persuade a client to perform a certain act immediately. “Call me today!” or “Buy Now!” are calls to action.
- Your communication should be responsive. If your client sends an email, they want a response immediately, not in a week or two. This part of the communication process can be tricky. When you respond quickly, it conveys the message that you’re on top of things; that you care. Your clients know you are paying attention and care enough to know what they’re talking about. Being non-responsive conveys the opposite message. If a lead comes in, have a good method to capture the lead and a way to communicate promptly.
Part of every effective client communication is a balance between wanting to establish a good relationship but it is also about selling a product. Clients provide leads and opportunities. In the real estate business, if you don’t sell, you don’t eat. Effective client communication is about saying something meaningful, being consistent, building your brand, generating action and following up. If you can do these five things, you’ll be an effective communicator. In the end, it’s all about developing a trust relationship between you and your client.