Sales calls make me CRAZY!

Just wanted to express how I feel when a sales call comes in that goes like this.

“Hi Mr. Fanning I got your name from one of your Windermere Owners. They said you would be the person to talk to about my company XYZ. Have you heard of us? Well  if you haven’t let me catch you up to speed on what we do and how we are going to turn your company around!” Then they begin to talk so fast i can’t get a word in edgewise.

Here is some advice if you want to make a call that will have some impact.

Know a little bit about the person your calling. It isn’t very hard to dig that type of info up.

Know something about the company your calling on. Maybe even have a little understanding about the company  structure.

How do you know I need what you are trying to sell when you don’t even know who I am, what I do, or what my company does?

I can’t tell you how often these types of calls come in and the only thing that they are effective for is to get your name on my “forward to voicemail list”

Ok stepping off my soapbox now.

Posted on March 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, customer services | Tagged ,

Customer relationships are the key to your business success!

I read a stat the other day from NAR. It stated that when a buyer was asked right after the close of their transaction  if they would use their broker again 83% said yes but in reality only 11% actually used the same broker.

Same question applied to the Seller and 82% said they would use their broker again but only 28% actually did.

The biggest reason for this  disparity has to do with the broker only interacting with their customers during the transactional phase of their business and then having no follow up of any kind. Here is something you should think about.

“We live in a world where the little things really do matter. Each encounter no matter how brief is a micro interaction which makes a deposit or withdraw from our emotional subconscious. The sum of these interactions and encounters add up to how we feel about particular products, brands, or services. Little things. Feelings. They influence our everyday behaviors more than we realize.”

Here is another good article that touches on the same principal!

I was asked the other day about this exact problem and if social media could play a role in enhancing the relationship by allowing for more micro interactions. In fact this is exactly how using social media is suppose to work.

Then came the question that proves why we still have a disconnect.

How can I automate the interaction with my social media data base, is this possible.?”

Think about it this way, do you automate your friendships? Is there a company you can go out and pay to meet your friends for drinks and go to events with them then have them report back to you about how well the relationship is coming along? I think we all know the answer to this one. Building long lasting relationships is built on, connections, consistency, trust, and being real. I challenge you, before you venture out to find new clients look at the clients you have now. How much micro interaction is going on in that world for you?

Posted on February 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, Living, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

How are you leaving your mark?

I recently read a  post by Seth Godin called:

Soles: where he said this.

There’s a sign on most squash courts encouraging players to wear only sneakers with non-marking soles. I’m not sure there’s such a thing. If you’re going to do anything worthy, you’re going to leave a mark.”

I really liked this article because now is the perfect time to take a look at your business and think about what your going to do differently that is going to leave a positive mark on the customers you serve.

I’m not talking about a new shiny tool or a funky marketing scheme. I’m talking about a genuine interaction that when they are all set in their new home or at closing after the sale of their home they will have a permanent reminder in their mind about the great relationship they just built with you. This is by far the most powerful thing you can accomplish with your customers.

Too many time we focus on the deal and not the relationship, this was a good article from Zappos called: Don’t network, build relationship. Here is what I liked about this article and I believe there is a lot of turth to this.

“So my advice is to stop trying to “network” in the traditional business sense, and instead just try to build up the number and depth of your friendships, where the friendship itself is its own reward. The more diverse your set of friendships are, the more likely you’ll derive both personal and business benefits from your friendships later down the road. You won’t know exactly what those benefits will be, but if your friendships are genuine, those benefits will magically appear 2-3 years later down the road.”

I would challenge all of you to focus on your friendships and really think how are you leaving a mark!

If there is something your doing now that is working  please share.

Posted on January 7, 2011 at 10:30 am
Michael Fanning | Category: customer services, Real Estate Related, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Let’s be “REAL” people!

I want you to think about this quote for just a min.

“To utilize social media tools effectively and properly, you must absolutely generate spontaneous communications in direct response to what others are saying or to what is happening in that moment. Be yourself. Be conversational. Be engaged.”
– Aliza Sherman, co-owner of social marketing firm Conversify

Recently I have seen new companies popping up that say they will automate your Social Media for you, and post blog articles for you. They say they will take all the worry out of the mystical phenomenon called social media,  they claim to enhance your SEO and get you more exposure. Great! Now you have more hits to your site of people that are wanting to interact with you, but what is being posted is not your voice at all.  How long does it take someone to realize what your posting and saying isn’t coming from you?

Social media is about relationships. Relationships are created when you are being real. People connect and engage when they feel a connection and feel like you are genuinely  interested in them.

What if I invited some friends to a baseball game but instead of going with them I hired a stand in friend? Yes, he would go in my place because I didn’t have the time. Then later I could follow up with him to see how my friendship was coming along with my buddies from the Baseball game. Silly isn’t it. Well that is exactly what you do when you hire someone to create relationships for you. Remember real estate is and always will be a relationship business. If your finding it hard to make the time to connect then at some point that relationship will disappear?

Thanks for taking the time. If you have any great ideas on social media engagement I would love to hear from you!

Posted on October 12, 2010 at 12:41 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, Living, Real Estate Related, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Let's be "REAL" people!

I want you to think about this quote for just a min.

“To utilize social media tools effectively and properly, you must absolutely generate spontaneous communications in direct response to what others are saying or to what is happening in that moment. Be yourself. Be conversational. Be engaged.”
– Aliza Sherman, co-owner of social marketing firm Conversify

Recently I have seen new companies popping up that say they will automate your Social Media for you, and post blog articles for you. They say they will take all the worry out of the mystical phenomenon called social media,  they claim to enhance your SEO and get you more exposure. Great! Now you have more hits to your site of people that are wanting to interact with you, but what is being posted is not your voice at all.  How long does it take someone to realize what your posting and saying isn’t coming from you?

Social media is about relationships. Relationships are created when you are being real. People connect and engage when they feel a connection and feel like you are genuinely  interested in them.

What if I invited some friends to a baseball game but instead of going with them I hired a stand in friend? Yes, he would go in my place because I didn’t have the time. Then later I could follow up with him to see how my friendship was coming along with my buddies from the Baseball game. Silly isn’t it. Well that is exactly what you do when you hire someone to create relationships for you. Remember real estate is and always will be a relationship business. If your finding it hard to make the time to connect then at some point that relationship will disappear?

Thanks for taking the time. If you have any great ideas on social media engagement I would love to hear from you!

Posted on October 12, 2010 at 12:41 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Business today, Living, Real Estate Related, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

How strong are your relationships?

I have to laugh because I was at a Starbucks coffee shop the other day over hearing two 20 somethings talking about all the friends they each had on facebook. It was almost like a competition between the two of them. Not that having 3000 friends is a bad thing but really whats the point. What came to mind was how Real Estate isn’t just about  buying and selling homes, it has far more to do with great relationships that are cultivated on a daily basis.

Today the mode of interactions is always changing and as I’m out in the field teaching how Social Media helps us to better connect I still see sceptics that use the 4000 friends, 20 something as the bench mark to dismiss this amazing world of Social Media.

If you think about it however it is pretty simple. Albeit Social Media may be the forum in which we interact the most, it is really just what I call word of mouth via Social Media in 2010. You also have to remember that no matter how often you interact it has to do with quality vs quantity. It would be very difficult to have 3000 meaningful relationships on a daily basis. That said we live in a world where word of mouth and recommendations are key to the decisions we each make every day about the services and products we choose to use.  The richer the relationship the more weight I put on that friends recommendation.

Recently I saw this video from Seth Godin that really spells out what Social Media AKA (relationships)  should be about and I would throw in the caveat that this doesn’t apply to just Social Media for business but also Social Media for personal sphere. Just because the connection has moved to the digital world doesn’t mean that it should be any less sincere. The idea is to show that you care, and that you listen and you add value. Relationships whether they are face to face or digital they have to add value to both parties or they are just what Seth says they are “worthless.”

I know your reading this thinking how does this relate to me the buyer or seller? From the perspective of Windermere we don’t want to have thousands of  worthless connections but rather fewer great satisfied individuals living in our communities we server that add value. We want to connect and better understand our customer via our Brokers in the field. We would love know how your real estate agent connects with you?

“While having plenty of friends is nice, how do you choose who to keep in your network?”

“Tell us some of your social media relationship success stories?”

Posted on September 1, 2010 at 10:08 am
Michael Fanning | Category: Real Estate Related, Technology | Tagged , ,

Building relationships takes time.

As I’m out in the field with real estate agents talking about the importance of Social Networking, one of the common push backs  I get is this. “Well you don’t sell real estate so you have time to be on facebook all day, I’m busy and don’t have time for that stuff I have a business to run.”

I understand where the frustration comes from but the fact of the matter is your business is based all around the quality of relationships you maintain with your client base on an ongoing basis. I won’t deny that we live in a very busy world and that our time is precious. That said the numbers of individuals  who look to social networking to connect to get information and share information with their close friends are growing by leaps and bounds. A recent study I read talking about how we tend to trust those that are more like us.

So how do your 250 friends know how alike you are to them unless you interact on a regular basis. Keep in mind when I say interact I’m not talking about interacting with your friends on on a professional level  but more on a real basis. Friendships and relationships are not just about keeping in touch on a topical level but more about all the stuff that makes us who we are. Your hobbies, your interests, likes and dislikes. The deeper the connection the more comfortable people are to work and interact with you on all levels. How strong is that message when it is sent on a post card or on a calendar vs seeing a picture a few times a week of you enjoying a hobby that happens to be a hobby that 30 of your friends also enjoy. Or getting a link to a great article about whats going on in a specific community that you happen to live in along with 20 of your friends who also just read that link you sent to them. It is about getting involved and contributing value. Relationships don’t last if they are one sided. In order for relationships to exist you need to be involved so the point to my post is real simple. Embrace change and understand that Social Networking is here to stay and it can be a big advantage for you to enhance the current relationships that you don’t seem to have time for now, just by making micro connections through out your day. You might end up being surprised how much time it doesn’t take.

Similar idea from Amy Chorew “the conversation is important

Posted on July 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Real Estate Related | Tagged , , ,