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My #1 Lead Generation Tool

I continue to be amazed at what I have been told not once but several times over the years.  In early 2005 a farmer contacted me and told me another farmer gave him my name.  It turns out this farmer had some land listed with another Realtor in our office but was unhappy and wanted me to list his farms.  After talking to my broker and the Realtor that had this farmers land listed I proceeded to list this farmers land.

A few months into our listing agreement my farmer client informed me the #1 reason he liked me is that I not only returned calls promptly but I would call him on a regular basis even if I had no new news.  Many of you are probably thinking "Duh"!  Get this...when I told the farmer I was just doing my job and doing what I was supposed to do he said "You don't get it George, I have worked with many Realtors over the years and you are the first Realtor that returns my calls promptly and calls me on a regular bases".

This farmer not only listed all his farms with me but referred me over 10 million dollars in new business from 2005 through 2007 and continues to refer me business today.

Just two weeks ago I had a home seller contact me.  I had my first meeting with this seller and his wife and followed up with them a few days later to give them the market information for their home and a marketing plan.  Over the past two weeks we made 3 different appointments to follow-up on getting their home listed but each time something came up with either him or me (my 1st granddaughter was born).  I had to reschedule two times and made several phone calls to keep this seller informed.

This seller and I finally connected last night and I got their home listed.  When I was walking out the door after listing the home the husband followed me out and said you know why I decided to hire you George?  I asked why?  He went on to tell me that he loved the way I stayed in touch with him and called him regularly to let him know what was going on.  He went on to say "I have worked with a lot of Realtors over the years through my construction business and you are the first to call me on a regular basis to let me know what was going on.  I have never had that before".

We can have the greatest

  • Web site
  • Marketing Plan
  • Lead generation system

But if we don't communicate with our clients on the level they want us to all these tools mean nothing.  I have written many blogs in the past that I have never sent out postcards or newsletters.  I also do no print advertising.

I have always made a lot of phone calls to past and current clients/customersThe phone is the most powerful tool I have and nothing has ever replaced it. I am known for returning calls promptly even when callers don't leave a message. If I see I have a missed call I place the same importance on those calls as I do on the callers that leave messages.  Many callers have been amazed when I do this.  I continue to receive more referrals than anyone in our large 50 plus agent office and owe it all to my communication with my sphere.

 Posted By: George Tallabas - Boise Idaho Real Estate Agent - Associate Broker 
with RE/MAX Advantage, Canyon Counties #1 Brokerage in sales and listings
specializing in Boise Idaho Real Estate and Southwest Idaho Real Estate

Native Idahoan and Boise Idaho Real Estate specialist serving Boise, Meridian Eagle, Nampa, Caldwell and the surrounding Treasure valley area of southwest Idaho. Specializing in residential, investment, land and commercial real estate. Search thousands of MLS listings at Boise Homes for sale and learn all about Idaho by visiting Search Idaho Homes

Comment balloon 70 commentsGeorge Tallabas • June 28 2008 10:52PM

Comments

George, I agree the phone is powerful, and using it a lot shows excellent communication skills. Seems simple, but so few do what it takes.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) about 9 years ago

Gary - Very true my friend.  Too many Realtors just don't get it. Have a great evening and thanks for stopping by.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

George, I agree that communication skills are very important.  When I miss a call, I return it right away!  I know a lot of agents who don't return calls. 

Posted by Roberta LaRocca, REALTOR®, Broker, Salesperson, Property Management (Simply Vegas Real Estate) about 9 years ago

George it is the poersonal touch you give.  Too many agents are dependant on the internet and forget that real estate is personal. 

A young agent asked me one day how did you do business before there was computers and fax machines.  I said we actually visited our clients on a regular basis. 

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 9 years ago

Roberta - You go girl!

Randy - So true my friend. The personal touch is a lost art with most of the new generation of Realtors.  When clients know we genuinly care about them the referrals will pour in.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

George, You couldn't be more right! Something as simple as returning a call promptly makes your clients feel so special and as if their business is truly important to them!

Posted by Yvonne Brown (Century 21 Northwest) about 9 years ago

Yvonne - Yes, it is so simple and yet so powerful.  It has even surprised me how it has impacted my clients. I just don't think the majority of Realtors "Get it".  Thank you and have a great day.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

I pride myself in staying in touch with my clients giving immediate feedback on showings and sending out bi-monthly reports, mixed in with the normal anniversary cards, sports schedules, etc.  However, I never call my clients unless there is a need figuring that they are as busy as I am and will not want to be bothered.  How wrong I have been!

Posted by Pat Haddad, ABR, CRS, ePRO, GRI, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield IN Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Indianapolis Metro NE) about 9 years ago

Pat - As long as you are returning calls promtly you are 90% ahead of your competition.  Calling at least every two weeks to check in with them and let them know you care I have found to be invaluable.  Have a great day.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

George - it is so true that communication with your clients is the number one thing they appreciate - I think it is so simple and basic that many overlook it's importance.

Posted by Judy Tuscano, NH Real Estate Professional (Prudential Verani Realty) about 9 years ago

Judy - Very true my friend. We can get so caught up into technology that many of us forget that personal touch.  Have a great day.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

Congrats on your first Grandchild, what a blessing!!  My communication with past clients needs much improvement, but I'm always amazed when other Realtor's can't understand why their client didn't re-list with them when they made no consistent effort to keep the client informed of what's going on: good or bad.  If a client doesn't know what's going on or what you're doing: they'll just assume that you're doing nothing.

Posted by Matt Moxhay, Moorestown Real Estate (Prudential Fox & Roach) about 9 years ago

Matt - Thank you. This is not rocket science.  Every client/customer/human being wants attention and communication.  Technology as important as it is has gotten to the head of too many Realtors which have lost the value of business and personal communication.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

George: you are so right about returning calls promptly and returning all calls no matter if you think they may be trivial...they are never trivial to the caller.  But, more important CONGRATULATIONS on becoming a grandfather.  Grandchildren are the best (I have 6), you can love them, spoil them and turn them back over to their parents when they cry, spit up or fill their diapers!  Enjoy your new blessing.

Posted by Diana Corcoran, Rhinebeck Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Hudson Valley Properties) about 9 years ago

Diana - Thank you so much and have a blessed evening.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

George, Congratulations on your first grandchild!  Are you going to do a post about it? I say you should!  (Going to check your blog, just in case you have.)

As for customer service, you are absolutely right. Line all the agents up, side by side. Most have a web site and all of the other tools needed. Few have the customer service skills needed to have a successful, referral based business.  How many times have we all heard :It's easier to work with people that know us, like us and trust us?

Great post, as usual!

Posted by Elizabeth Cooper-Golden, Huntsville AL MLS (Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group)) about 9 years ago

Elizabeth - Thanks for the comment and I agree totally.  My friend Mirela Monte wrote the post George Tallabas is a Proud Grandfather! about my daughter and granddaughter.  Thank you and have a great evening.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

George, Wonderful post, I do keep in contact with my clients and try to follow up after the consultation is done because it IS important and I do care.  I never remember anyone getting annoyed at me, they are always up to a phone call.  And Congratulations on your new Granddaughter, what a delight!

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 9 years ago

Carole - Thank you and you are on top of it!  Have a great evening.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

Hi George,

You wouldn't believe the people that say "Wow, you called us back promptly".  I know for me when I want to hire someone for a service, and they call back soon, it's impressive.

~Congratulations!  Your granddaughter does look like a perfect little angel, babies are perfect and so innocent...hold her lots and lots!

Posted by Cindy Bryant, "Houston Home Staging Pros" (Redesign Etc. Home Staging) about 9 years ago

You are right, it is sometimes the smallest details that will get you a LOYAL client!!!!!!!

Thanks ... www.PippaMAC.com

 

Posted by Pippa Mac, The Woodlands TX Real Estate (Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) about 9 years ago

George, I agree, calling our clients regularly, just to update them and tell them nothing is new let's them know that we didn't forget all about them. One of the biggest complaints I hear from sellers is that their last agent NEVER contacted them in months.

Posted by James Simmons (RE/MAX Greater Princeton) about 9 years ago

The phone is the most powerful tool I have and nothing has ever replaced it

Hi George,

Thanks for an eye-opening post.  I guess I never realized how critical the phone can be.  It's easy to get dazzled, or overwhelmed, with all the new technology and lose focus on what's most important.

Posted by Not Yet Licensed about 9 years ago

Hi George...Well said !   I thought all Top Realtors called their clients on a regular basis..Not. I too get positive comments from Clients, My last Testimonial said "Fred Cares". I agree call them even if you do not have any news, keep them up to date so they can make decisions, such as  lowering their asking price or painting the bathroom...I never say I think, I say "the Comments coming back to me"...or "the market place does not seem to be accepting our price', Clients really appreciate your interest in them by keeping them Top of Mind.

Once again George thanks for sharing!

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Yes, the people business.  Nothing happens without communication.  Thanks for the reminder.

Posted by Michael Cather, Real Estate Broker (Rodeo Realty) about 9 years ago

This is such a GREAT reminder about the power of communication, PERSONAL communication, that is. Thanks for this article.

Posted by Aretha Best (NAA) about 9 years ago

Cindy - Thank you my friend

Pippa - Very true

James - I am right with you, thanks

Not yet licensed - You are very welcome

Fred - Once again, that you for your support!

Michael - You got it!  Thanks

Aretha - You are very welcome. Have a great day

 

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

Hi George...Important words of wisdom and a needed reminder for many of us. 

Although I am excellent (I hope!) on returning calls and relaying information promptly I am not at my best when it comes to staying in touch especially with former clients.  I don't like to admit that but it is true and something I need to work on.

Kathleen

Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) about 9 years ago

great post george, i actually know of a loan officer who did over 80 million last year who never calls his clients back. He leaves it up to his 2 processors, to answer their questions but because the realtors like him and he pays for their marketing, they will send him business. Congratulations on your success, a respected farmer as you know knows many people.

Posted by This Account No Longer Exists (Inactive Account) about 9 years ago

Kathleen - Good job!

Charlie - Thanks and yes, farmers know a lot of people

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

Hi George, First of all, let me say great post. Congratulations on the new member of your family. I am waiting for my turn at being a grandparent. Can't wait.

I am new to AR and have just read your post. The Realtors that I work for always notice that I pick up the phone when it rings and if I happen to miss their call, I return it as soon as possible.

I must admit though that I do get busy working and do not make the time to phone my clients (Realtors) just to say hi, how is it going. Please let me know what you think about me as a Staging professional just calling you and saying hi. Would you consider my call as a nuisance call, running up your cell phone bill. Or would you rather I stay in touch by email? This is really important for me to hear from Realtors. yes or no to the check in call?

Posted by Michelle Finnamore, Preparing your property for sale (Vaughan and Toronto GTA) about 9 years ago

Michelle - Hi and welcome to Active Rain.  All I can tell you is that my clients love it when I call them now and then to see how they are.  I have reaped so many kind remarks and referrals from these calls.  As a Realtor I would not see it a nuisance to receive a call from you as a home stager, rock & roll musician, florist, ect.  People love to know that we care and that we are calling not because we want something, but just because we care.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

Thanks George. I appreciate the encouragement. I will try it out this week and let you know how the reception is by the Realtors.

Posted by Michelle Finnamore, Preparing your property for sale (Vaughan and Toronto GTA) about 9 years ago

Michelle - Good luck to you and remember that I NEVER ASK FOR BUSINESS which goes against everything trianers teach.  The way I look at it is this....How would you like it for someone to call you and ask all about your kids, work, recreation and dreams and you start to really think they care about you and then "Bang" here comes what they really wanted:  "Know anyone that wants to buy a house?", "I could sure use some business", "Let me know if I can help you family, friends or co-workers".   I hate that and I have proven that the referrals come without asking for them.  When we truly care about the customers in our lives and they know it, our world will change.  All my best and good luck to you.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

Hmmmmm, you are right. It does go against everything that trainers teach you.

Coming from a family that had a smal business in a small town I spent many hours with my mum on her rounds each day. I could never figure out how she could turn a few simple errands into an all day venture. My mum always stopped and talked to everyone. Maybe she knew something naturally as she was never formally trained in business.

Posted by Michelle Finnamore, Preparing your property for sale (Vaughan and Toronto GTA) about 9 years ago

Michelle - Kudos to your mom.  My grandfather on my mom's side had no money to speak of and no material possessions but when he died the church doors had to be left open (good thing it was summer) so all the people standing in the sidewalks and lawn could hear the service.  My grandfather genuinly loved people and had more genuine friends than I have ever seen in my life. These friends of my grandfather knew he didn't want anything from them, he just loved them for who they were.  I genuinly love people and care about them and I believe this one thing drives more business to me than any other tech tool or system I use.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

Hi George,

I did as you suggested today and called people that I have not spoken with for a couple of months, some as much as a year ago. Just to say hi, ask how they were, what were they up to. Each and every one of them was happy to hear from me and thought it was great that I had called. :)

Guess I will have to keep spreading the good feelings around. It only took a few minutes for each call and definitely made my day better.

Thanks for the great post and the encouragement to do something about it.

Posted by Michelle Finnamore, Preparing your property for sale (Vaughan and Toronto GTA) about 9 years ago

Michelle - Thanks for sharing your great results with me and I can assure you that if you keep this up a lot of good things will come from it.  Have a wonderful and blessed 4th.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

Great Post! and congratulations on your grandchild.

Posted by Sandra Carlisle, Residential Sales & Property Management (McMonigle Team) about 9 years ago

Sandra - Thank you very much...have a great 4th.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

Communication with people is the best lead generation tool. Everybody can send out newsletters and postcards. But it doesnt tell them about your personality. Great post George.

Posted by Lanre-"THE REAL ESTATE FARMER" Folayan, How much is my Washington DC House Worth? (Keller Williams Capital Properties-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC) about 9 years ago

Lanrae - Thank you and I hope you are having a great 4th!

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

George, the tools get you in the door. The follow up, and face to face with clients gives you repeat business and happy clients. Simple really. Linda said at the conference on a panel. Having a blog will not get you  business if you have a crappy business. Profound huh?

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) almost 9 years ago

Missy - Don't know who Linda is but I am proof that communication is something that clients want and need and without it a Realtors career will not flourish.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 9 years ago

George,

This is a terrific post. The basics always work and with all this new technology we still have to spend time nose to nose to build trust and confidence after the initial contact introduction.

Thanks - Russell

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Russell - Thank you very much and I appreciate your kind words. Have a great day.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 9 years ago

George,  Great Points.  I have worked with Realtors that I wanted to send referrals to.  However shortly after referring them 5 clients I changed my mind.  these 4 clients were looking to purchase 5homes for around 1.7 million.   the problem was that the realtor that I referred them to only called one of them back.   4 of them found other realtors to work with.  And one of them actually bought a house thru the realtor

Posted by Thomas Hargreaves (TriStar Financial Services) almost 9 years ago

Thomas - Thanks for  your feeback.  Since I wrote this blog I have had more proof that communication is everything.  I was recently referred two investors that want to purchase 150 investment homes here in S.W. Idaho.  I just wrote the first 4 all cash offers this week for them. While talking to them on Thursday they told me that before they were referred to me they called 4 local Realtors and out of the 4 only 1 called them back 2 days later. The majority of the Realtors just don't get it.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 9 years ago

Communication is the key and I promise to do better with my clients -- great post!

Posted by Norma J. Elkins, Realtor - Elkins Home Selling Team ( Elite Realty Group) almost 9 years ago

George,

Wow !  Great post with a ton of comments !  I can see why... I just wrote a much simpler post on "What is Your Return Call Policy"   and got similar feedback.  The phone is an important tool !

Philadelphia Real Estate

Posted by Christopher and Stephanie Somers - Realtors - Philadelphia Real Estate (Realtor / Owner - RE/MAX Access) almost 9 years ago

Norma - "You go girl!"

Christopher and Stephanie - Thanks and yes, communication is what it is all about.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 9 years ago

Hi George, I think many agents want the perception that they are "to busy" to answer the phone or be prompt with returning their phone calls. Either agents can call and bug people way to much when prospecting or not call when the client's want them to. It seems that a personal note to a client in the mail or a good old phone call to touch bases, follow up, or to just see how they are doing are the best ways to reach out and touch our clients. I just received a phone call from someone who is looking to relocate to my community and was disgusted with the lack of communication from other agents they had contacted first. And, believe it or not this client found me on AR!! She read my profile and gave me a call, she was once a Realtor herself! Communication is key :)

Posted by Jennifer Ricco (JohnHart Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Jennifer - Well said. Read the comment I wrote to Thomas above.  This investor that is purchasing 150 homes from me is amazed that he recently called 4 Realtors and only one of them returned his call 2 days later.  I am having an incredible year in a one of the worst real estate markets in S.W. Idaho and I am being told the #1 reason consumers are seeking me out is because of my strong communication skills I am known for.  Let the rest of the Realtors keep dropping the ball...I am profiting big time from it!

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 9 years ago

I love it.  It just goes to show that in the world of email, and text messaging, that the most powerful tool is simply talking with people in a timely and courteous manner.

Posted by -- Casey Brischle, Spokane Home Loan Mortgage Professional (Columbia Bank) almost 9 years ago

Casey - Nice to hear from you and I hope all is well in your world.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 9 years ago

George great post and timely.  I just heard from someone that I was the only realtor to answer his call... so easy yet so neglected...

Posted by Shannon Gilmore, Real Estate Sales Associate with Long and Foster (Long and Foster Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Shannon - Good for you.  Stay on top of your calls and your leads and referrals will sky rocket!  Have a great weekend.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 9 years ago

George - great work, I found out years ago that communication with customers/clients made for a better business relationship.

Posted by Mike Saunders (Lanier Partners) almost 9 years ago

I don't know how many times we've all heard the same story about how after closing, the buyers or sellers are going to have you over for dinner, how you're friends for life, etc, and then you see they listed their home, a couple of years later, with another agent.  To stay in touch you have to do just that, "stay in touch".  It may take some time but it's some of the best time you can spend.

Posted by Jerry Becker, Littleton, Colorado (Jerry Becker and Associates) almost 9 years ago

George, I couldn't agree wth you more!  Personal contacts on a regular basis with your clients is a great way to build positive relationships and establish rapport.  That is so important in our business.  In addition the personal touch I feel the next important element in communicating with you clients is to keep them informed as to how their listing is doing on the Internet.  I wrote a blog post titled "How Do You Communicate With Your Sellers?" that addresses this.  I also included a tool I created that is very helpful in tracking Internet activity.

Posted by Jon Wnoroski, Summit County Realtor (America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc.) almost 9 years ago

Jerry - Good luck at dinner!

Jon - Yes, personal contact and attention to it are everything.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 9 years ago

George,  I appreciate your blog.  I think my biggest struggle w/ the phone is that I always feel like when I call people I am bothering them.  How do you get past that part of it?

Posted by Brooke Shepherd, Speak With Honesty~Act with Integrity (Keller Williams Partners) almost 9 years ago

Livia - Thank you for your comment.  I have never had anyone complain to me about calling them. I love to keep the conversation light and "Never" about me. I also go against every trainer and "Never" ask for business. I believe this to be the key and always generates me business. Good luck to you!

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 9 years ago

George: I can see why they are happy they listed with you. :) I'm really glad you wrote this post.  would imagine at some point we've all (including me) been guilty of "hiding" behind email, etc. A simple phone call can make the world of difference to a client, and help us stand out from the crowd. Great post!

Btw, thanks for the kind compliment you left on my blog.

Posted by AMBER NOBLE GARLAND - Top Real Estate Expert, Property Tax Appeal Specialist & Author, - The Agent You Can Trust To Deliver REAL Results! (Strategic Marketing Expert & Relocation Specialist Serving New Jersey and nationwide!) over 8 years ago

Amber - The phone is a secret weapon that is most overlooked by Realtors. I am glad you liked the post and have a great week ahead.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 8 years ago

George - your point is well taken, and is my weakest point. I tend to send out too many emails. The clients I do make a point to stay in touch with via phone remain my best clients, not surprisingly. OK - I'll get back on the phone! Thanks for the reminder.

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) over 8 years ago

Tim - You are very welcome and keep after it.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 8 years ago

First, Congratulations on your first Granddaughter!  Grandchildren are awesome! I have had many people in awe just because I answered my phone.  They thought they were going to get a recording. Powerful tool is correct!  Thanks for your post...

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Another great one, but I bet that big smile doesn't hurt!

Tamara

Posted by Tamara Dorris (Master Your Market Real Estate Coaching) over 8 years ago

Tamara - Thank you and yes, the BIG SMILE is awesome!

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 8 years ago

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