Posts Tagged ‘Scripts’

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

To conclude (?) this week’s series on Drip Mail Campaigns (to drip or not to drip?) here are somethoughts on communicating with people who find you online – affectionately known as “web leads.”

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I had a nice conversation the other day with a newer agent who called me looking for help managing his web leads, specifically asking if I knew of any drip-mail campaigns that had the SWS Seal of Approval. In other words, could I recommend a “canned” approach to communicating with online leads that didn’t sound canned?

Well, sez me, not really, for obvious reasons. Drip-mails are, by definition, impersonal and yes, canned, although I’m sure it’s possible to come up with verbiage that is warmer, more interesting and more sincere than your average drip.

I encouraged my new friend to consider responding to each potential client (I hate the word “lead”) individually, with a personal reference to what the potential client seems to be interested in. For example, “I see you’re looking at homes in the Washington Park area – I used to live there and loved it.” or “I noticed you tagged that awesome mid-century modern home on Belmont – I was just in it the other day and it’s fabulous.”

“But,” my friend protested, “I don’t have time to respond personally to everyone. Wouldn’t it be better to make sure every single lead gets something from me, even if it’s a little impersonal, instead of just responding to a few?”

Eh… couple of thoughts here.

First, no, I think you’ll have a far better success ratio if you respond personally to a relative few than impersonally to a whole bunch. Considering that the other agents these potential clients are writing to either are 1) not responding at all, or 2) sending out canned crap (sorry), your personal response will really stand out in the crowd.

But second, how much time are we really talking about here? Half an hour? An hour? It’s not as if you have to write a book to each person, just a warm note acknowledging their inquiry (which, frankly, you could probably copy and paste from one to the other), along with SOMETHING personal in each that shows it’s a real human being responding.

If you’re currently using an auto-responder or other canned approach to Internet leads and aren’t thrilled with your results, give the personal touch a try! If you already use this approach and would like to share an example how you respond personally to inquiries, I’d sure love to see it :-)

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Earlier this week I posted a blog asking the question “if YOU were a potential seller, would you beimpressed that an agent took the … ahem… ‘time’ to put you on an automated email campaign?” with the promise to return and elaborate on my statement that “Professionals Don’t Need Drips.”

Let me share a personal story with you.

Earlier this year I approached a real estate agent about listing a property of mine. The property was tenant-occupied and would be for another month or so, so it was not readily accessible for viewing and obviously not ready to be marketed.

But this agent and I (I will call her Mary Beth Bonacci* since that’s her name) chatted a bit about the property and she promised to drive by it soon, do a little research and get back to me with her preliminary thoughts.

Later that week I heard from her with some comments on the location (“wow, very close to the highway but how awesome that it’s within walking distance to the pedestrian bridge,”); her thoughts on who the ideal buyer might be and an assurance that she’d preview the competition over the weekend.

“Cool,” sez  I. “Looking forward to your feedback.”

As promised, Mary Beth emailed me on Monday with the details of her previewing expedition and gave me a ball park range of where my property might fall.

The following week, she contacted me to ask if I knew when the tenant would be moving out.

A few days later she told me about a new listing that had come on the market in the same complex as my unit and promised to preview it right away.

The next day she emailed me to let me know she had previewed the property and that it showed very well. And that there were already multiple offers on it.

Fast forward a month or so. After my renter moved out, Mary Beth took a look at my property, and afterwards emailed me with her suggestions on what needed to be done to it before marketing, and offered up a few service providers.

A week later she contacted me to…

Get the picture?

At no time did she send me an email espousing the importance of hiring the “right Realtor,” warning me about the Dangers of Overpricing or even gently reminding me how much she LUVS referrals. No, she communicated with me as the real estate professional she is… and as a real live human being who actually cared about my upcoming home sale.

“But Jennifer, all that personal communication takes time! Imagine if I took that much interest in all my clients?! I’d never have time to prospect!”

Well, um…

Thoughts?

ore thoughts here: http://swsconnect.com/searchable/soul/professionals-dont-need-drips-but-what-about-web-leads/

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

A few years ago I wrote a blog called “Professionals Don’t Need Scripts” where I pontificated on my strongly held opinion that someone who is an expert in their field (or even reasonably competent) should not have to (or want to) rely on scripts when interacting with clients or potential clients.

So today, a mere 2.25 years later, I’d like to expand upon that notion with a discussion of the emailed script, aka “drip emails.” Let’s start with a definition of “drip emails.” A Drip Email Campaign (for the purposes of this blog anyway) is a pre-written series of emails that you send to someone you have met or had a conversation with about real estate. In all likelihood, you can “personalize” the emails with the person’s name (“Dear Matilda,”), but otherwise, the emails go out automatically with the exact same message to each recipient.

So, let’s say, you visit with a homeowner about selling their home. The conversation goes well, but the homeowner isn’t quite ready to make a decision. You head back to the office, knowing you will need to stay in touch with the homeowner so they don’t forget you when they are ready to sell. You add them to your “Seller Nurture Campaign” drip mail which will send them two emails per week until they list with you, list with someone else or die. And you promptly forget about them and move onto other prospects.

But your emails go out so that the potential seller doesn’t forget about you! Twice a week, they hear from “you” with reminders about how important it is to hire a Realtor (the RIGHT one of course!), helpful tips about preparing their home for market and the like.

“So what’s wrong with that, Jennifer? Aren’t we s’posed to follow-up?” Absolutely! At least, if you want a chance at inspiring that seller to want to be YOUR seller once they’re ready.

BUT… Remember the definition of “drip” – a pre-written message or series of messages (crafted by you or purchased from a marketing company) that go out automatically without any personalization other than the salutation.

Seriously?

Let’s say I’m considering selling my home sometime in the next six months, and therefore in the market to find a real estate agent to represent me. I meet with an agent and we have a productive meeting. I like her, but I haven’t committed to her yet. It’s still early in the process, but I’m looking forward to hearing from her with her thoughts on our home and updates on the State of the Market.

Do I hear from her? You bet! Every three days I get a “Dear Jennifer and Bruce” email with a fancy banner and signature block… and a canned message that has nothing at all to do with our home or situation.

Let me pause for a moment (as I see I’m coming up on 500 words already), and ask YOU… if YOU were the potential seller, would you be impressed that this agent took the … ahem… “time” to put you on an automated email campaign?

Click here to read some further thoughts on the matter…

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Seen recently on a Facebook post of a SWS-minded real estate agent (an agent who follows Sell with Soul philosophies):

WHY THE SCRIPTS!? Are we not past this yet as business owners and marketing professionals? As humans? Really!?”

Hold that thought.

I went to the chiropractor yesterday – my hands have been aching lately and I was hoping to find some relief. When I checked in, the receptionist asked me a series of questions related to the Reason for my Visit – “What would you rate the pain on a scale of 1-10?” “Is the pain constant or intermittent?” “How long ago did this begin?” etc. etc. etc. She recorded my responses in my file and then asked me to take-my-seat, the-doctor-would-be-with-me-soon.

Fine. I’m sure she asks these questions a dozen or two times a day.

So, the doctor-met-with-me-soon and asked me a similar set of questions as she was poking, prodding and twisting me around. “Does this hurt?” “Do you feel any tingling or numbness when I do this?” “Would you describe the pain as shooting or stiffness?”

Fine. I’m sure she asks these questions a dozen or two times a day.

In the hands of the receptionist, the questions are a script since she (probably) doesn’t know much about what my responses to her questions actually mean. Not a problem; it’s not the receptionist’s job to cure what ails me; simply to gather information for the file.

But when the chiropractor asks these questions, she’s not doing it as part of a memorized spiel she learned in her chiropractor training – her questions are intentional and my responses are meaningful. Because… she’s a professional. She understands the Big Picture. She knows what she NEEDS to know and how my responses fit into that Big Picture.

With me?

Okay, so back to the Facebook comment referenced above.

The comment was inspired by a training program the SWS-minded agent was participating in (“was” being the operative word here; she demanded her money back) that pushes memorized scripts for every conceivable prospect-or-client encounter. Her reaction was exactly the same as mine when I hear of this nonsense – “Seriously?? We need a SCRIPT to guide us through a CONVERSATION with someone we’re hoping to inspire to trust us with a significant financial transaction? WHY? Do we not know what we need to know… and what we need to share…? Are we, as licensed real estate agents incapable of having an intelligent, meaningful conversation with a potential client? Are we, as adult human beings incapable of having an intelligent, meaningful conversation with another adult human being?”

If you know what you’re doing, you don’t need a script to do it. Period.

When Scripts Suck

Jul
2011
02

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

I have a friend who recently got her real estate license and dutifully went out looking for her Very First Broker. She found The One and excitedly signed on. She was promised all sorts of training and support and mentoring… yee haw!script

Well… fast forward two weeks and my friend is … shall we say… disillusioned. She’s barely even seen her broker, much less received any semblance of training, support or mentoring. In fact, her broker actually said something like “Try not to bother me with too many questions.” My friend is a self-starter and is comfy taking responsibility for her own success, but geez…

Finally my friend managed to locate her broker and sit her down for a talk. The broker reiterated her philosophy that real estate is an individual sport and that most of the agents in the office (herself included) were far too busy to help a newbie. She directed my friend to a Big Book of Scripts and advised her to study and memorize them. When my friend balked at the notion, the broker assured her that scripts work, because… well, SHE had used a script during the recruiting process and look how well it worked!!!!

Okay, so… if a script “works” to accomplish your goal (that is, getting a listing, securing a buyer or recruiting a new agent), but is pretty much a Big Fat Lie, does that make it a good script? Uh, no.

I’ve seen a lot of scripts and I even use scripts myself sometimes. To me, a “script” is simply a bunch of words strung together that you somewhat have memorized in the proper order. We all use scripts every day — “Hi, how are you?” “Thanks a lot, have a nice day.” I use pretty much the same words every time I explain a purchase contract to a buyer or a listing agreement to a seller. BUT THEY’RE MY FLIPPIN’ WORDS!  I believe them, I mean them, I stand behind them!

Use scripts wisely. They aren’t a tool to fool someone into believing your services are something they aren’t, or to make you appear to be knowledgeable if you aren’t. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it! No matter what results the Big Book of Scripts promises!

posted by on Jennifer's Best, Prospecting & SOI

 

Let’s talk about scripts. I think they have a place in the human experience – we all use scripts every day, in both our personal and business lives. “Hi, how are you?” is a script, as is “Hi, this is Jennifer Allan with RE/MAX City Horizons; I’d like to set a showing…” I use essentially the same script every time I go through a purchase contract with a buyer or a listing agreement with a seller. When I finish up a day of showing, I always say “So, that’s our show for today – how did we do?

If we didn’t use the same words over and over again when performing essentially the same task or activity, our brains might fill up and explode from overwork!

But here’s where I don’t like scripts… during the prospecting process. Effectively prospecting to someone is a delicate balancing act between subjecting someone to an unwanted sales pitch and inspiring them to actually care about whatever it is you’re selling. And I think we can all agree that most salespeople err toward the side of the aggressive pitch (not you or me, of course, but everyone else).

There are probably a gazillion sales scripts out there for your consideration. Most are pretty awful, especially in the hands of an amateur, but occasionally I’ll run into one that almost sounds sincere.

Almost.

Lately I’ve been prospected to by some pretty slick operators. I almost missed the fact that the sales pitches were well-rehearsed scripts.

Almost.

But once I realized I’d been scripted to, I was annoyed and even a little bit hurt. I thought I was special. I thought that my appointment with this sales dude or dudette was the highlight of his or her day. I thought that this person really cared whether or not he or she earned my trust and my business. But no, I was just another prospect, just another sales call… on the road to the next prospect. I was a number.

I don’t like being a number. And that’s how being scripted to makes me feel.

Wanna sell me something? Leave the scripts and the sales pitch at home. Make me care about you because you care about me. Open up. Be YOU. Make me feel special. There might be a sale in it for ya!

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Found an article today on iSucceed.com about Calling your Sphere of Influence.

It’s the typical “call up your friends and remind ’em you’re in real estate” stuff that I often advise against. This particular article provides ten opening lines to help you make those calls ranging from: “I’m doing an open house in your area today; can I send you a brochure?” to “I was driving through your neighborhood today and thought of you; howzit going?”

But as I read through the opening lines, something struck me. Here are a few of the scripts, verbatim:

“Good Afternoon client this is Jim over at ABC Realty how are you? Hey I drove through your neighborhood yesterday showing another property and I just wanted to call and check in with you guys – how’s the house been treating you?”

“Good Morning client this is Jim over at ABC Realty how is it going? Hey I’m working on a couple of new marketing ideas newsletter, postcards, personal brochures, flyers, I wondered if you could give me your thoughts on what you think of them. Could I send them over to you?”

Hmmmm. Wanna take a guess at what bugs me about them? 

http://www.sellwithsoul.com/

 

 

 

 

posted by on Jennifer's Best, Prospecting & SOI

RunningYesterday, one of my readers sent me an article from her local newspaper that was a list of Do’s and Don’ts for new college graduates. In the Top Ten list of Don’ts was this gem: “Never ‘Friend’ a Realtor on Facebook.” No explanation; apparently, none needed.

Ouch.

Also yesterday, an article came out in Inman about a “sure-fire” prospecting technique that basically advises agents to accost anyone who comes within three feet of them with “I’m a real estate agent, do you know anyone who needs to buy or sell a home?” If the accosted person does not, in fact, know anyone who needs to buy or sell a home, the agent should smile sweetly and tell them they’ll give them a little time to think of someone and check back in a bit. Or something like that.

Again, ouch.

I may rant further on the Inman article in a future blog, but for today, I’ll just try to be helpful ;-] not rant-y.

So… here’s me being helpful on this beautiful Friday.

Imagine having coffee with a potential new friend who, you find out, sells life insurance. Being self-employed yourself, you realize that this potential new friend would luuuuuuv to tell you all about his products and services, and persuade you send all your friends his way so he can do some “financial planning” for them.

Truthfully, you’re really hoping he won’t, right? But, sigh, you know he will. Just as you’re tempted to do as soon as he finishes HIS pitch.

You settle in for the inevitable presentation, comforting yourself with the knowledge that it’ll be your turn soon enough (you hope).

(Now, this behavior might be appropriate, or at least tolerated at a networking event, but it’s actually rather obnoxious over a friendly cup o’coffee.) 

But what if… what if this potential new friend pleasantly surprised you by NOT launching into his elevator speech? What if… after you exchanged the obligatory “what do you do’s?” he instead launched into… a funny story about one of his clients? Or a poignant story? Or even a light-hearted PITA story? But a STORY about his insurance business, without a hint of pitch, presentation or persuasion?

And then… when he finished his story, he turned his attention to YOU and seemed sincerely interested in your reciprocating with a funny, poignant or PITA story of your own about your real estate business?

Of course, you could return with: “Wow, that’s really interesting. So, do YOU know anyone who needs to buy or sell? I promise to take great care of them, just like they’re my family, and my company is awesome and I have a 168-point marketing plan and I have a promotion I’m doing right now that for every referral that goes to closing, I’ll give the referer an iPad and the greatest compliment I can receive is your trust in me when you send your friends my way for professional real estate services…?”

And watch your potential new friend sigh, and politely disengage at the first opportunity, never to be heard from again.

Surely there are plenty of things you can share about your wonderful real estate career besides the fact that so you’re so desperate for business you must beg for it at every social opportunity? Right?

Right?