Without doubt, if you have built a relationship of trust with the customer, a phone call made direct to that customer can still be a highly effective way of getting results.
When I moved house three years ago, the one estate agent who dealt with me in the right way made his life easier by the way he dealt with me on first contact. When he subsequently phoned to offer me suitable new instructions in coming weeks, I agreed to view immediately, After all, I trusted him to make that judgement on my behalf. Other agents phoning me who had failed to win my trust were told to send ,me the details when they called with a potential property, In short, they were not in a position to tell me what to view given that they know so little about me!
So, assuming your staff have qualified the applicants correctly in the first instance (and our mystery shopper calls reveal that sadly the majority don’t), then the phone calls are worth making….but how should they be conducted?
There are seven key stages to an effective phone out call. The first stage is…
Applicants that you have deemed worthy of VIP treatment, such as a regular phone call or instant notification of suitable properties becoming available to them, should represent business opportunities because they are either hot applicants who are ready, willing and able to buy or rent a property immediately, or they are applicants with local properties to sell who represent brilliant instruction opportunities.
It is not practical to call every applicant with every new instruction, price reduction or property coming back onto the market. The first element of preparation is to plan which applicants are worthy of these calls and in which order the calls should be made. When stock is in short supply, it is a good idea to contact potential vendor applicants with new stock first as if you can show them that you are looking after them. That can increase your chances of getting their property to sell. If you get those properties to sell applicants out looking, deal with their viewing appointments in an exceptional manner, and show them that you are giving them priority treatment, you will massively increase your chances of securing their instruction now or in the future.
Before picking up the phone, review what you know about the applicant.. Ask yourself the key question – why would this person buy this property? Decide on your objectives for the call – is it just a viewing you want to achieve, or are there other business opportunities to aim for like a market appraisal or conveyancing referral.
The first stage of the actual call itself is the “Opening”. You must check that they have time to talk. An agenda is important. “I just wanted to talk to you about your latest moving plans and to discuss a property that might be suitable…”
The next stage is REQUALIFY
Assuming you established their motivation, ability and needs when the applicant first contacted you, these now need to be rechecked. It is important to recognise that these things change as time goes on. A great start to the call is to say “Can I just check I’ve got the current situation clear…” and then proceed to summarise your understanding of the applicant’s key information. Listen carefully and amend your records accordingly. It may be that things have changed to the extent that the property you are calling them about is no longer relevant, so you may need to do an instant match on your system to see if any other properties are potentially suitable. Once you have clarified the up to date situation, it is time to proceed to the next stage…
When you introduce the property in question, it is important to remember that the applicant can only imagine what the property is like by the words you use, but that their response to the suggested property might also be influenced by your tone of voice. Be upbeat – use positive language – smile as you speak….all these things enhance the customer experience.
Use empathy –“I thought of you when this one came available because your son’s school is just around the corner” or “I remember you saying that your partner commutes and she would be able to walk to the station from here…”
Use positive language to point out the benefits and match them to the applicant’s needs.
An attempt to secure a viewing might be “When shall I tee up a viewing for you?” or “Would Saturday or Sunday be better?”
CLOSE OF THE CALL
If you have secured a viewing, then clarify timings, dates and so forth. If not, then agree the next time for you to contact the applicant.
These golden rules can be applied to new instructions, price reductions and properties coming back onto the market. The quality and quantity of these calls will have a direct impact on your results – make sure you get them right!