Being a big fan of systems for success, I am enjoying reading a lot of posts like this one, I hope you learn something from this too!
FOR SEAMLESS EXECUTION, SUMMARIZE AND DOCUMENT
In the corporate world, business travel is sometimes viewed as one of the perks. It can be a way to see some of the world, true, but like anything else, if it is done right, it’s a lot of work, too.
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When I was an international bank executive, one of the scourges of the travel process was writing up the dreaded meeting reports after each business encounter. During a busy overseas trip, when calling on clients, that could mean: breakfast meeting, one or two morning meetings, lunch meeting, one or two afternoon meetings, followed by a dinner meeting. Clearly, homework needed to be done ahead of time regarding each individual institution. To share the proceedings with bosses and colleagues, one needed to write up a report as soon as possible after returning to the office. This was long before cell phones, laptops, tablets or emails for speedy communications. For greater efficiency, I used to dictate while still on the road and have my secretary type up the reports upon return.
In the REAL ESTATE world, Bob Stewart described a brilliant system adapted by Ben Kinney to convey in writing every little activity a realtor undertakes in the process of selling a home, of which there are many. The key is in communicating this to clients in order to a) demonstrate continuing efforts and b) stay in touch.
That same concept should be extended to verbal communications, particularly in my situation, for example, as a realtor-consultant. In this case, it is often ADVICE that is given rather than specific actions performed. Consultative conversations can be just as valuable and important and your ideas may even constitute intellectual property.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO SUMMARIZE CONVERSATIONS AND TO SHARE THOSE SUMMARIES WITH YOUR CLIENTS in order to:
document the verbal exchange
clarify everyone’s thinking
seek written confirmation from client
suggest follow-up course of action that can be tracked
Some of the definitions of to SUMMARIZE are as follows:
“give a brief statement”
“the main points of [something]
“put in a nutshell”
“give the gist of”
Use any of these openings for a quick follow-up email to your clients after speaking with them, for example:
“Mr. SELLER, it was good to chat with you this afternoon about your home and how the selling process is going. To sum up, you expressed a concern regarding the low number of showings over the past week. Let us review why that might be….” You can now list your reasons, which might be something the seller needs to address i.e. price, availability or extraneous factors such as bad weather. In any case, you go on record as having a) called b) paid attention c) suggested explanations and more importantly d) recommended corrective action. For example, “Let us now move forward and try it this way” - list your steps and get client to acknowledge in writing, then follow up.
“Mr. and Mrs, BUYER, it was nice to see you this afternoon. We took a look at three homes that you narrowed down from my list (list them). I heard good words from you about all of them; would love to hear what you think after you had a chance to discuss the homes in private”. You encourage clients to respond in writing to get a better sense of what they’re thinking and which way they’re leaning. Accordingly, you can then come back with additional suggestions or listings, in writing, and continue to engage your clients.
“Mr. and Mrs. BUYER, we spoke earlier and in brief, you seem to be deciding in favor of submitting a bid on 5 Main Street in Anytown. We can do that. The following needs to happen next and these are the supporting documents I will need from you:”
List all that needs to be done, use a good checklist, get clients to acknowledge in writing and follow up.
Having a documented written record of suggestions from you and concurrences from clients is also a good risk management practice, in case any question arise later as to who said what and when. Avoiding risk and legal pitfalls is not a bad thing: money saved is money earned!
Your Real Estate Consultant and “green broker”.