We get them all day long. We get them so much that they can feel annoying and intrusive. Status updates. Fee Quotes. Questions. Problems. They come in the way of phone calls to our office or emails to our inbox. Sometimes it seems that appraising takes a backseat to just keeping up with the lines of communication (one of the many reasons I highly recommend hiring a receptionist).
However aggravating it can be to have the phone ringing and email notification whistling constantly however, it is part of the job. The alternative would be to have all communication stop and I don’t think any of us want that. It is easy when the alarms are going off constantly to forget that there is a human being (well, most of the time anyway) on the other side of that phone call or email message. We sometimes slip into a mode of robotic or even disgruntled responses. Don’t do it! This can kill your business long-term.
About 15 years ago, there was a woman by the name of Natasha who worked for the largest AMC on the planet. Despite the fact that nearly every time Natasha called it was to ask something of me, the conversation was always uplifting and pleasant. Why? Natasha remembered to ‘wink.’ What is a wink? First of all, a wink is not what you think it is. I am not talking about flirting here. In fact, I highly recommend you do not go down that road. It can be disasterous. I am simply talking about making people smile.
When Natasha would call, she would always say things such as “How is my favorite appraiser?” Now, I knew she said that to every appraiser, but it didn’t matter. When she asked me to do something that was hard she might say, “You are such a gem for doing that for me, Dustin” (notice she used my name). She might also, during the course of the conversation, ask me about my family or weekend or weather. Oh, and she also did it genuinely… like she really cared. It made all the difference. When I got a call from Natasha, no matter what she asked of me, it was a conversation I looked forward to. There have been several ‘Natashas” over the years, but they are few and far between. It is seemingly easier to just cut to the chase, get the conversation over, and move on to the next client. On the other hand, we are not just in business to “get the conversation over.” At least I’m not.
Business is all about relationships. For business to last, we must make and keep relationships that also last. In the seemingly non-personable world of AMCs, this may seem like an unimportant sidenote. I can tell you it is not. In fact, it may be the very thing that makes or breaks your business success in the long run.
So, how do you (or your employees) do it? A simple rule of thumb is to remember that in every interaction you have via email or the telephone, make them smile. It is even better to make them laugh, but making them smile – at least once during the transaction – should be the minimum goal.
It is not hard, but it takes an effort. Here are a few phrases that might help you get started:
“I see you are from Philadelphia. I visited there with my family last summer. It was wonderful!”
“How was your weekend?”
“Happy Friday to you and your co-workers!”
“It is so nice to hear from you again. How is the weather for you today?”
“I love your name.”
“Hope your day is going well. I know work can drag at times, but it is always nice to hear from you.”
“It would be my pleasure!”
Again, it does not take much. It simply takes a constant and concerted effort to be proactive about making the interaction positive. Remember to ‘wink’ at least once per interaction and both of you will have a better day for it. Furthermore, it may just be the thing that sets you apart from your competition and causes you to be a long-term success.