Brace yourself. I'm on a rant...
I'm currently spending a bit of time at the beach in Ft. Pierce, Florida. It's lovely. I'm here with my mother, my grandmother and two of her sisters.
This is what I went out to see this morning before beginning my work for the day:
(I love my mobile career!) Jealous, aren'tcha?
We are staying in a family member's condo for the week, but being me, I had to take a peek at the real estate market while I'm down here. And I found a cute little cottage that seemed to be well-priced. I showed it to my mother, aunts and grandmother and we determined that if we all pulled together, that we could purchase this property for future getaways.
So I call the listing agent...
I used my cell phone. My cell phone has a private number. I don't give it out to anyone. I forward my 800 number when I'm on the road (like I am now) and I do not want anyone to have that information.
I get a message that the contact number I have dialed does not accept blocked calls.
Not only is that frustrating, it's bad business. I will not unblock my number in order to inquire about a property, thus giving that number to a stranger. It's not going to happen. My aunt loaned me her cell phone because she wanted me to seek additional information. For me, I was already turned-off by this agent and no longer wanted to try to work around the hurdles he had placed for me to contact him.
But, the rest of the crew wants to forge ahead, so I call. I get a voice mail. Not well-branded, not particularly inviting and not offering any alternate contact information. It's during regular business hours. There's no indication of when my call will be returned. I left my 800 number so that even if I were away from the phone, I'd have quick access to any incoming calls (it forwards to my cell and sends an alert to my email whenever I have a message).
... and, we wait some more.
I didn't indicate if it was the quaint little cottage or one of the lavish condos or a multi-million dollar beach front property that I wanted to see. I called on Monday, it is now Wednesday afternoon. Sure, I could call another agent, and I probably will -- but that's not the point of my rant.
I work with real estate agents, Realtors(r) and brokers every day. Everyone is concerned about lead generation, about having calls coming in, showings to be made, listings to be posted... and this is often what happens when those leads are generated. Not with MY clients, of course... but with some. :O)
If this were not a common problem, I'd assume it was just a bad agent. But, for me, this has happened several times. I literally had to chase the agent to buy my 25 acre farm over a period of weeks. I had to call and follow up on my own when I bought the house in town prior to the farm. In my experience as an individual, it's the rule rather than the exception.
I know that Active Rainers aren't like this. I know that people who blog, who network, who open themselves up to be known -- even before that first call is made -- understand the importance of handling clients.
But I also know that this group, more than any other, understands the importance of contact management and prompt communication with leads ... so this is where I'm placing my rant. Right here, where people who really "get it" will commiserate with me.
*rant ends now*