The Human Element

Once you’ve got some technology working for you to build client relationships, add in a personal touch so you don’t “look less human.”

March 4, 2014

Here are some ways you can add a personal touch to the lead information your technological enhancements are helping you to gather:

Learn More About Your Leads

When Internet leads come to you via a contact form, delve deeper into who they are so that you can find greater connections. Social CRMs are connecting the social media pages of those leads that come to you from online channels, allowing you to have greater insight about who they are, who they’re connected to, and helping you find a bond that can possibly lead to more successful, personable alliances.

For example, Rapportive gives you richer contact profiles from your Gmail account. When someone sends you an e-mail, you’ll also see their picture, their location, and their job title and LinkedIn profile along with their message. It allows you to mention shared interests and see their activity on social networks, giving you ideas of other ways to find connections with them.

Automate With a Human Touch

You can automate your follow-ups with Internet leads so it’s manageable, but do it in a way that offers more of a human touch than a robotic one, Smith says.

For example, Better Voicemail allows you to change your voicemail greetings based on who is calling, using their caller ID information, area code, a call group you’ve designated, or whether they’re a first-time caller. As such, you can have a prerecorded message that plays for first-time callers and another message that plays for contact groups you specify. You can also set it to send an automatic text and website URL to all first-time callers. It can automatically create a new contact in your CRM when you miss a call from a new caller, saving you the time to input it yourself later.

The risk of incorporating too much technology to your follow-ups is that it can make you “look less human,” Smith says. “We need to take a more human tone inside of an automated machine.”

For example, visitors to your site may fill out an online form to ask you about a home they’re interested in. Instead of just sending back a host of automated information, try to have a conversation with them over e-mail. Pose questions to them: What was it that you liked the most about the home? What are you looking for in a home?

“When we ask more questions, we understand the customer better, instead of just ‘here is the listing based on the algorithms,’” Smith says. “We can turn into robots with our Internet leads. Get a conversation started by talking about real estate.”

Send out personal handwritten notes and direct mail to your Internet leads, treating them just like you would a referral that came to you from a family member or friend, Mackin says.

Too often, real estate professionals don’t view an Internet lead as a long-lasting relationship opportunity. “We tend to expect immediate results with Internet leads, but just like any other customer relationship, Internet leads take time, too,” Smith adds. “If they don’t reply to the first e-mail, we too often just give up on them. It may be a year or a half-year before they make a move. Treat it just like a real relationship.”