IS CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SALESMANSHIP A VANISHING ART?
I have had a couple of personal experiences in selling and buying real estate this past year; one where I was personally involved in selling and buying a home, the other with a personal acquaintance.
In both instances I was surprised with the manner the REALTORS® conducted themselves. There was no question they were well prepared and knew the market very well. Each instance however, had situations that surprised me, especially since I heavily promote our overall membership’s sales skills and professionalism.
In summary in both my experiences, sales associates are relying heavily on technology and using social media as a crutch to replace face to face relationship building and negotiation skills.
There is no question social media is great for prospecting and staying in touch with past clients. It is also critical that technological tools are used to create efficiencies and improve overall customer service. A successful sales career is all about relationship and salesmanship skills. Nothing will ever replace face to face meeting and consultation services. Yes the initial contact is great with social media or email, but the ultimate customer service experience can only be achieved by face to face, belly to belly meetings; answering questions, providing feedback and giving advice one on one. This is the only way to develop the rapport needed to build a long lasting relationship based on trust and confidence.
This is even more critical when dealing with an offer. All too often we hear from unhappy consumers and from my own personal experience, where sales associates call with the offer, then email it to the client to review and respond. This is completely unacceptable and certainly flies in the face of good negotiating skills. Further to this, the consumer really questions the value they are receiving for the commission being paid.
It has become all too common to use technology as an excuse to not meet face to face. Ultimately your success ratio on closing sales will be determined by your ability to read body language, listen and watch between the lines and help the client make the right decision with the all the information. There is no way this can be accomplished effectively over the phone or by email. Naturally, there are times when there is no other way; I believe presenting offers over the phone or by email is only a choice of last resort.
If you are looking for a way to sharpen your overall sales skills, the best program widely available is the Dale Carnegie sales course. I took it many years ago and still find it as the best method to really sharpen your negotiating skills.
I look forward to reading your comments and hearing about your own experiences on this topic.
Elton Ash ABR CRES
Regional Executive Vice President