After all, many of your potential customers and clients will meet you first on the telephone or via email. That means you need to let them know that you do have time to give them personal service, but that you are also a busy person who doesn't "Need" their business.
Don't take that wrong. No business should tell customers "I don't need you." What I mean is, you don't want them to think that unless you list their home or find them one to buy you're going to miss your next house payment. There's a big difference there.
So how can you strike a balance? For one thing, you can offer them appointment times. If they say they'll be in town next Tuesday, you can say "I'll be available after 1 p.m. Is that a good time for you?" If they insist that they absolutely must meet first thing in the morning, you can offer to try to re-arrange your schedule.
I know, you mustn't lie. But you did have an appointment with yourself, didn't you? You do have blocks of time written in your day planner for prospecting and working on your marketing materials, don't you? (If you don't, you should!)
What you don't want to do is tell them that you don't have any other appointments all week so whenever they show up is fine. If you do that, they'll wonder why you don't have any other customers, and they'll assume the worst. They'll assume that you aren't very good at what you do.
On the other hand, if you sound rushed and barely able to squeeze in 20 minutes to meet with them, they'll assume that you won't have time to do a good job for them. They want to know that you'll be available to meet with them at reasonable times, and that you'll return their calls within a few hours.
Your job is to convey an impression of professionalism, an organized business life, and personal service. Most customers and clients want to hear from you, not from an assistant.
If you do have an assistant to handle some of the paperwork, mention it - but be sure to add the fact that the reason he or she is there is to free up your time to be with your customers and clients. Don't let them find out about your assistant in a manner that makes them believe they aren't getting your personal attention.
If your assistant communicates on your behalf, make sure the customers know it's because you felt something was too important to wait until you were back in the office.
I mentioned making appointments with yourself. If you have things going on in your personal life that need to be scheduled, do write them in your planner. They could be anything from a haircut, to lunch with your best friend, to a school event for your children.
Having the time and money to live your life well is the reason you work, so these are important appointments and need to be treated as such. But you don't need to tell your customers what they are!
I will never forget the time one of my co-workers told a customer she couldn't show him houses on Thursday because that was her bowling day. They bowled at 11 a.m. and then they all hung around the bowling alley to drink beer and visit, so she was never available on Thursday. And she told that to the customer!
The man fairly roared! He didn't buy a house through her, either.
Your customers don't need to know what your appointments are. They only need to know that you will be available enough of the time to give them attention and do the job they've chosen you to do.
Marte Cliff is a Freelance Copywriter and former real estate broker who specializes in writing for real estate and related industries.
Her e-book, Getting Clients, is a resource for beginning real estate agents as well as seasoned agents who want to know how to make more money in less time. Read all about it athttp://www.marte-cliff.com/career.html
Marte offers a weekly ezine for real estate professionals and others with an interest in marketing themselves or their property. Subscribe by sending a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and you'll immediately receive a copy of her real estate ad writing report.
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