BrokerageTechnology

Mobile apps get personal to build stronger client relationships

Why Facebook Messenger and Refresh should be in every agent's tool box

The days of massively long emails, forced registration to access the MLS and missed voice mails are rapidly fading away. New tools are making communication simpler and more personalized than ever before, provided you know what to do.

We’re in the midst of a sea change in terms of how we communicate with our clients. Rapid response, personalized messages and brevity are what today’s buyers and sellers seek. Here are two strategies that can help you meet that need.

1. Facebook Messenger

A few days ago I received a strange-looking Facebook push notification from Katie Lance. The message appeared to be an audio message. When I clicked on the arrow to play, I heard Katie’s bubbly voice with a personal message. I immediately texted Katie to ask which app she was using — it was Facebook Messenger.

A major challenge most agents face is getting responses to their emails or voice mail messages. You can certainly send a text message, but all you have are the words; there’s no warmth in your voice, no excitement about that listing you’re describing, or any sense of who you are as a person or an agent.

Facebook Messenger allows you to send text messages, attach photos and have them pushed out to the recipient’s mobile device. What I had not noticed before was that there was a microphone button at the bottom of the page that allows you to send a voice message as well.

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Simply tap on the “mic” icon and a red button appears. Hold that button down to record for up to one minute. This beats email, text messaging and voice mail; the message is pushed out immediately like a text, but it is personalized. Here are just three ways you could use Messenger to increase your effectiveness.

... Refresh can also come off as being downright creepy. To limit the creepy factor, use Refresh as a conversation starter."

Scenario No. 1: You haven’t kept up with a past client and you want to reconnect. Here’s the voice message you could send:

“John, it’s been way too long since we talked. How about a cup of coffee on me?”

While you could leave this on John’s phone, the probability he will check his voice mail is much lower than the fact he would play back a push notification on his mobile.

Scenario No. 2: You haven’t been in touch with some past buyers for a while and you have just seen a great house for them.

“Hey, Susan, it’s Bernice. I just saw what may be the perfect house for you. Would you like to see it?”

Scenario No. 3: Calling on the owner of an old expired listing

“Hi, Jim, it’s Bernice from ABC Realty. I have a buyer who is looking for a home like yours. Are you still thinking about selling?”

2. Awesome, but creepy — Refresh

At Real Estate Connect, the app that was getting the most buzz was Refresh. When you download the app, it asks you to enable it for the major social media networks you use. The app is tied to your calendar.

There are a variety of ways to set up the app. I set mine up to notify me 15 minutes prior to an upcoming meeting. When the scheduled time occurs, the app sends you a dossier on the person/people with whom you are meeting. The dossier includes publicly posted information the person has posted on social media, any shared interests you might both have, as well as major life milestones.

What’s scary is how smart this app is. The first day I used it I had a meeting with a corporate client we have been working with for the last three years. The first item in his dossier was a picture of him fishing. I told him about the app and that it had sent me that picture with him holding a string of fish.

The moment I mentioned that photo, his enthusiasm and energy skyrocketed. Knowing that one piece of information strengthened both our personal and business connection.

I decided to schedule a meeting with my husband just to see what Refresh pulled up. It was surprising. I didn’t know he had been out to Lake Travis to celebrate getting our car back from the body shop. The app also brought up the pictures he posted on Facebook of the damage from where we hit a deer.

I also didn’t know that a time-lapse video he made in 2009 on how to plant a weed-free garden video has over 300 views on YouTube.

It’s easy to see how powerful this can be in terms of helping you build stronger connections with both existing and new clients. The app pulls up shared friends, important milestones and a host of other relevant data.

Nevertheless, Refresh can also come off as being downright creepy. To limit the creepy factor, use Refresh as a conversation starter. For example, instead of saying, “I see from your Facebook profile that you’re a Giants fan,” a better approach would be, “I’m a Giants fan — how about you? What teams do you like best?”

While email and text messaging aren’t going away, Facebook Messenger and Refresh are two ways to build stronger connections with your clients and your sphere, so take advantage of them!

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Discover why leading Realtor associations and companies have chosen Bernice’s new and experienced real estate sales training for their agents at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.