Managing The Needy Client and Still Managing Your Time

By
Real Estate Agent with HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 DRE# 01494165

Everyone knows immediately who I'm talking about. Doesn't matter if it's a first time buyer or a real estate investor, it's the client who calls/emails all day long with every question which pops into their minds. I think we all feel for these clients, it's a big purchase/transaction, they are unsure of the process, or the timeline, or the costs, or the disclosures, and they need to speak to you; you need to explain it to them and ease their minds.

Of course....that's part of the job. The problem is that unless they are your only client (and that's a problem for another post), we just can't stop throughout the day to handle all these questions, and we don't want to have them feel we are ignoring them either. Solution? I have one!

1)I start every day by sending an "update" email to all my active escrow clients. I include any action items they still have to do and updates on what I, or my assistant, will be doing on their behalf that day. I also include a timeline going forward and future action items (such as a scheduled home inspection or HOA documents which have been ordered). This is an easy and quick email to put together because some days, nothing has changed from the day before and I keep a copy to use as a template.

2) I also set up a specific hotmail account for each escrow. The address my be 123mainstreet@hotmail.comand I use the automated vacation reply to give the same basic information, where we are at in the process. I also have my clients email me directly to their private hotmail address and they can feel comfortable that I won't miss something they send.

3) Phone calls....I encourage them to call me anytime. I also let them know that when I'm out with clients (just like when I'm with them) I do not pick up the phone but allow it to go to voicemail. Then I will listen to the message and try and get them the correct information before I call them back, so it might be a late return call, if I need to speak to escrow or the other agent. This sets the expectation that they might not get a quick call back, but will get an answer when they do.

4) I return all calls/emails the same day.

I believe it's part of our job to handhold the clients who need it....but it doesn't have to consume our day, if we have a system in place to handle it well.

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Wallace S. Gibson, CPM 03/08/2010 02:57 AM
  2. Jamelah Jackson-Alam 03/18/2010 03:11 PM
  3. Jamelah Jackson-Alam 03/18/2010 03:11 PM
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,003,586
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor
HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 - Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Coffee sounds great Vicki....just say when!

March 07, 2010 12:03 PM #32
Rainmaker
598,840
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Karen - I like the idea of separate emails but I typically have a pipeline full (15-20) of pre-approved and actively looking clients and the idea of having to check that many emails on a daily basis would be horrendous.  Once they get into escrow, it's a whole other story and I also do the regular updates but then it's much easier to manage 2-3 escrows than 15-20 people who are still looking.  But I do like the idea that each has their own place to go without cluttering up my general email.

I currently have this one couple who are pre-approved and actively looking and one of the spouses doesn't work and contacts me a dozen times a day asking questions about various things.  Granted, they don't do this every single day but often enough during the week that it does become  somewhat inconvenient at times. 

The person is simply bored and has way too much time on their hands and many of the questions they ask are better suited to be directed at their Realtor.  However because their Realtor is not as accessible as I am and this person knows I have access to the MLS, I have now become the go-to person.  I've had discussions with their Realtor about this and he tells me this person does the same thing to him too.  I'm thinking that he and I need to sit this couple down and have a talk about this situation.  Any thoughts?

March 07, 2010 12:32 PM #33
Rainmaker
1,003,586
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor
HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 - Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Donne....I normally have about 8-12 of these and I don't retype a new email each day. I keep a template for each file (word doc) and then open, make the necessary changes (if any) and them  copy and paste shoot it off. It normally takes me about 10-15 minutes.

K

March 07, 2010 12:37 PM #34
Rainmaker
1,121,260
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Superb advice...everyone is happy, and that includes the realtor, who juggles many things daily.

March 07, 2010 12:45 PM #35
Rainmaker
321,686
Yolanda Hoversten
Prudential One Realty Centre - O'Fallon, IL
Broker - O Fallon, IL Real Estate

Karen, you have a great system.  I especially like the individual hotmail account...how cool.  Thanks for sharing--great info!  ;)

March 07, 2010 04:26 PM #36
Rainmaker
409,641
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease

Karen, 

Ditto to what Yolanda says, you have an awesome system. That has to make it easier for the clients and is a good plan for all of us. 

All the best, Michelle

March 07, 2010 07:23 PM #37
Ambassador
1,167,658
Tammie White
Benchmark Realty, LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.TWRealtyGroup.net - Franklin, TN
TW Realty Group, Franklin TN, South of Nashville

These are excellent suggestions.

March 07, 2010 09:08 PM #38
Rainmaker
341,953
Don Wixom
RE/MAX Advantage Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm

Karen, AWESOME Post!  Thank you!  I love the idea of an update e-mail every morning (or night). I also use text very effectively when I can't take the time to talk or when I can multi-task. Most clients love it. Today, I had one jokingly say, "I refuse to text."  So, it looks like an update e-mail in the morning!  :)  Thank you!

March 08, 2010 09:28 PM #39
Rainmaker
152,862
Kari A. Battaglia
RE/MAX Alliance Group - Venice, FL
Venice FL Realtor - RE/MAX Alliance Group

Karen - These are all great ideas.  I love the personal email address for each escrow with automatic updates.  By the way you are on this mornings "ThinkBigWorkSmall" video.  Great job.

March 15, 2010 08:42 AM #40
Rainer
123,979
Harcourt Bethel - REALTOR®,CDPE,ABR®,SFR,ePro®,TRC,
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Orlando, FL
Harcourt Bethel, CDPE,SFR®, ABR®,ePro®, TRC, NCHSE

Great post, we all should use a system to be more efficient and yours is a good one. Thanks for sharing!

March 15, 2010 09:05 AM #41
Rainmaker
1,003,586
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor
HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 - Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Hi Kari....thanks for letting me know. I hadn't gotten that far into my day yet. Very cool. And Actually, I always have to look for the TBWS video because it goes into spam.

March 15, 2010 09:08 AM #42
Rainmaker
131,826
Henry J. Daniels - Woodlands Texas Home Loans
Henry J Daniels www.WoodlandsMortgageBank.com (936) 228-1944 - Conroe, TX
Construction, Conv, VA, FHA & USDA Home Mortgages

Excellent Idea for everyone inthe transaction including lenders to do.  Smile-tpvgames.gif We can all learn something here.

March 15, 2010 09:42 AM #43
Anonymous
Anonymous
Danny Currie - Sr Loan Officer

Karen - Great Post! I couldn't do my business without streamlining my systems. Very critical to my "Quality of Life" In the spirit of improving everyone's Quality of Life here in the thread. Chek out "Slydial" - This is the 2nd best tool in my shed! www.slydial.com

It allows you to call cell phones and leave messages without their phone actually ringing. My assistants and I use this regularly to simply update clients, buyer's agents, and most importantly, "listing agents"!

We have found that everyone simply wants to know what's going on and feel that they are important. When we leave the message we preface the message with "Just giving you an update and there is no need for a return phone call unless you have any questions".....

Anyways I thought this would help with time management and communication. Thank you again for your post I really like the idea of the email. By the way wouldn't have known this if not for TBWS!

Danny Currie - Sr. Loan Officer - www.dannycurrie.com

March 15, 2010 09:57 AM #44
Anonymous
Anonymous
Rob Hanlen

Karen,

There is a great web based program that does just that.  Eye On My Loan.  www.eyeonmyloan.com I have used it since 2005 and it is awesome.  No more inbound calls from agents or clients about the status of their loans AND they have 24/7 online access to see documents (appraisal, GFE, Survey, contract, etc) and loan progress.  I have each file set up so when I update the status it will send the buyers agent, seller agent, borrower and anyone else you designate an email update with a list of completed and to-be-completed items.

 

If you like it and decide to join, please list my name as a referral.  Hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.

 

Rob Hanlen

March 15, 2010 10:28 AM #45
Rainmaker
30,347
Aaron Johnson
Tri City Home Team / The Force Realty - Richland, WA
Join The Home Team!

Karen,

BRILLIANT! I love using little tech tools to help in making me more efficient, and this one's as easy to use as it is BRILLIANT! Kudo's on landing on ThinkBigWorkSmall too!

And Danny's comment about Slydial is on the mark as well- I tell clients ahead of time that I use a system that leaves them a voice message so I don't "interrupt them during their day". It then makes them see that it's my way of respecting their time, instead of seeming like a dodge.

Now, I wonder if they have a system like Rob's loan officer tool "Eye On My Loan" for those of us on the Realtor side?

Anyone???

March 15, 2010 01:44 PM #46
Rainmaker
388,798
Lew Corcoran
Zip Realty - Raynham, MA
Your Professional Real Estate Advisor

What a great idea! I've trying to figure out how to provide updates on loan application without looking up each eamil address and sending emails. Here is something that is so simple to implement - and so obvious. Now I'm using the "vacation reply" of the email for each loan in that's in processing. I'm using Google's gmail because it's not as limiting as MSN's hotmail.

Good show!

March 15, 2010 02:53 PM #47
Rainmaker
1,003,586
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor
HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 - Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I'm glad it's working for you, takes such a small amount of time to set up and if there is no change, then no change. I haven't used gmail...but all my hotmails are working great.

March 15, 2010 03:45 PM #48
Anonymous
Anonymous
Lenore Wilkas

You are simply brilliant!  What an easy solution and easy to replicate for any of us.  Thanks so much for sharing.

March 15, 2010 04:50 PM #49
Rainmaker
1,003,586
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor
HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 - Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Brilliant? I'm so flattered....thank you.

March 15, 2010 05:07 PM #50
Anonymous
Anonymous
Edwil Antolin

Thank you very much for sharing a great communication system.  Have a wonderful day!

March 16, 2010 12:40 AM #51
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,003,586

Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor

Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395
What can the power of Sotheby's Int'l Realty do for you?
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