“I just read about Alicia and how reluctant she was to promote her business,” Jeanie, a long-time subscriber wrote me this week, “But what about someone who is too persistent?”
“We know a husband and wife real estate team who are aware we have no interest in selling our house. They call to ask for referrals, they drop off gifts. (The latest was a bird seed bell, which was actually something we put in our yard, but we still found it annoying that they came to drop it off at our house.) They send personalized letters almost every week and they send homeowner tips monthly. And they call-all the time. When we catch their names on the caller ID we let it go to voice mail. Every week or two is just too much!”
Persistence is a good thing…until it becomes annoying. Jeanie and her husband will go out of their way not to call these realtors if and when the time comes to sell their home-so all this incredible effort will have been wasted.
Jeanie’s realtors are trying to develop a relationship using mass marketing techniques and are bound to fail. Business and referral relationships are built on respect and trust, not contact volume. Let’s look at what these realtors are doing:
1. Asking about interest. There was nothing wrong with asking–the first time. Follow-ups, however, should have been permission-based:
“Jeanie, Joe, would it be okay if we followed up with you in three months to see if anything has changed?”
2. Asking for referrals. I teach and encourage every professional to ask for referrals, but one of the immutable referral rules is to ask only after they believe they have determined whether their clients perceive that they have received value from the professional. It would be okay to ask Jeanie and Joe if they know someone who might be thinking of selling, but to keep asking when there has been no value given is self-sabotage.
3. Dropping off gifts. Bringing a gift when you first call on someone is a good idea. Even if they see the gift as an attempt to “buy” their favor, who can resist an unsolicited gift? But dropping off gifts on a regular basis can make you look desperate. Jeanie and Joe are using the bird seed ball, but they won’t be using the realtors, so only the birds benefit from this effort.
4. Letters and monthly tips. The weekly letters are another example of using mass-marketing techniques in a futile attempt to create a relationship. Monthly newsletters or “tips” sheets are a wonderful idea, but again only if they are permission-based. All these realtors needed to do was to ask:
“Jeanie and Joe, we have a great letter we send to people monthly with tips for increasing the value of your home, but we wouldn’t want to send it unless you think you might have an interest in it. Would you like to be on our list?”
5. Constant calling. This one doesn’t need an expert opinion. It’s one of the reasons people put themselves on “Do Not Call” lists. Jeanie and Joe are trying to be polite because the realtors are a local couple, but the realtors have made them prisoners to their Caller ID.
If these realtors want Jeanie and Joe to work with them and refer people to them, they need to develop a relationship with them based on respect for their privacy, and with permission. They need to find ways to give Jeanie and Joe real value instead of showering them with calls and gifts that reinforce the idea that they’re more interested in themselves than they are in Jeanie and Joe.
Jeanie already knows I can help these realtors. I hope she prints this out and sends it to them (anonymously) with a note telling them they should contact me.
If I can help you improve your prospecting and client relationships please reach out for a complimentary consultation. Call me today at 888-289-5551 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a complimentary consultation.
In the meantime, keep REACHING…