In our time-poor world, giving exceptional service can feel like a big ask. But perhaps it is just a case of our not being able to see it in another way.
Instead of thinking, ‘I am too busy to give exceptional service’, think, ‘How can I provide exceptional service to my clients and customers when they are in a hurry?’
Seeing service in this way works because it focuses on your contact – and helps you to use every moment well at your end of the business too. A problem area for most of us, however, is how we handle telephone calls.
Many professionals mistakenly believe that increasing call length helps to build a better relationship with the contact. This would only be true, however, if they had a great deal of time to invest in the call too, and you were discussing something of value to both of you.
Talk too long and you run the risk that the next time they see your number come up on their phone, they will let it go to message bank rather than risk a further ‘waste of time’.
Having a reputation for being efficient as well as effective is powerful when working with buyers and sellers who are busy, successful people themselves. Here are some call strategies to use when you or your contact are in a hurry:
• Introduce your call (after your greeting) with, “I am sure you are busy so I will be brief if that is OK with you. The purpose of my call is...”
• When calling back with promised information, say, “I only have a couple of minutes before my next appointment but I wanted to let you know…”
• When calling your database, rather than call alphabetically, group your contacts into small geographic zones then call everyone in that zone before moving on to the next. It is much easier to focus on delivering information of value to your prospect by coming up with something to say that is likely to be of value to everyone in that zone (such as a relevant sale). Naturally, on the way to work, you would also drive the streets of the zone you are planning to call to ensure there are no surprises – such as a ‘For Sale’ board you did not know about.
• Get a digital timer and start timing your calls (especially for when you have a lot to make). The average phone call length in Australia is 3 minutes 15 seconds; I suggest your goal should be closer to two minutes. Get on the phone, give some value, ask a couple of relevant questions, e.g. ‘Anything happening in your street you think I should know about?’, and then get off the phone again.
• Leave awesome messages when you connect with an answering machine or voice mail. Think of it as a 15-second commercial for you and your business. Write out then rehearse the message you will leave until you sound natural. If you are leaving contact details, repeat your number to make it easy for them to respond to you.
However, don’t forget there are also alternatives to making a call. These include:
• Text messages – an efficient way to contact people which tends to get better responses than email and which is an important tool for increasing contact without interrupting people too often. Naturally, messaging should not be over used!
• Skype meetings with sellers are also an efficient and effective way to discuss the progress of the sale of a property.
Lastly, remember that as long as you keep your promises, it is not bad to be busy. As they say, ‘When you want something
done, ask a busy person to do it!’