No, I haven’t completely lost my mind, although after 23 years in real estate that is entirely possible. Nor do I suggest we go back to some time pre-email or even pre-internet and attempt to do business, bear with me and please keep reading.
Email in and of its self isn’t a reason to dislike or not use it. After all, I, like many, find it a helpful tool for both our business and personal lives.
So why do I HATE email?
When email is someone’s sole way of communicating.
As human beings we thrive on connection, feeling understood and well, basic human interaction. Things that we can only truly get from a real live conversation.
I’m sure right about now you’re thinking, she has lost it, doesn’t she know the only way I can protect myself and prove I did something is to have it in writing. Okay, I get that, after all the first ten years of my career in real estate was spent working in a law firm, trust me documentation is essential.
But could we do more, should we do more than send emails? How do we do that and what happens when we do?
Real estate, like most businesses, is about relationships and whether you’re the loan officer, the transaction coordinator or the Realtor, communication is essential to the growth of your business. When you are only communicating with someone via email, throughout all or most of the transaction, how can you be nurturing a relationship with them or delivering on the things that humans need to feel good about working with you? You really can’t!
Several years ago I watched a TED Talk by Sherry Turkle, and it transformed the way I thought about technology and specifically email in my work. I was so inspired by it I asked my team to watch it, and we discussed it at one of our weekly meetings. I extended a challenge to each of our team members to pick up the phone more often. When they had a question for the title agent, call them. When they needed a document from the seller, call them. When they needed an update on the loan commitment, call the lender. When……you get the idea, before sending an email, consider if this is a question that you could better ask via the phone. And if you need to document the call and make sure the other party was on the same page, send an email after the call summarizing things.
So what happened after that challenge? Thanks for asking, the team and I met about 4 or 5 weeks later to discuss how it went for them. Each and every one of them provided the same feedback:
- Better and faster information. They didn’t have to wait or be frustrated when the question they asked or questions weren’t fully answered; they simply continued the conversation on the phone till everything was addressed.
- It took them less time to do their work. Each shared that they were surprised as they all thought, like most of us did, that email was faster.
- More work enjoyment. Because they were chatting on the phone, having that human interaction and connection, they reported that they felt happier at work.
Here’s the video we watched that inspired and transformed the way we communicate.
Watch it for yourself and then join me in the communication challenge – next time you have a question on file, pick up the phone and call someone. Next time you need an update, pick up the phone and call for it. I have a feeling that much like my team and my private coaching clients you too will report some of the same results.
Communication – There’s more to life than email, PICK UP the phone!