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Debbie Hanlon: Let’s get personal

The wonders of the modern convenience of technology have been such a tremendous asset for many of us. People on the other side of the world can now appear as if they are right next door. We can show a house virtually and get all the back-end things done through amazing portals and systems.

I have worked hard to stay on top of the latest trends and have made the commitment to design systems that utilize modern technology to ensure that things operate very smoothly and efficiently. However, I have always felt that while I always move with the times and am known as a trendsetter, that I do not ever want to lose sight of the value of building meaningful relationships and keeping a personal touch in all that I do.

Social media, and all the modern conveniences at our disposal, are certainly part of effective business systems and strategy, but customer care and service are still the most important elements in how we approach the work that we do. While clients definitely appreciate the ease and comfort of modern convenience, they also tremendously value quality service that has a personal feel to it.

People want and need to feel as though they matter – as though they are more than just a sale. They want a personal approach that is honest and has integrity; and they want someone who is responsive and understands them.

I firmly believe that building healthy relationships has to be at the forefront of everything. We can’t make sales without respectful business partnerships and personal relationships. Communication is a vital piece, but so is appreciating clients for who they are, and where they are and what they may be going through at any given time. I always like to ask questions and make it a point to listen. Taking the time to find out more about individuals and families that we are engaged with is essential in providing the best quality care.

While much of our communication may come through emails, social media and our web presence, there are many things that we can still do that help to build relationships with people and provide them with the comforts of knowing that we are thinking about them.

I rarely miss a birthday. And I make an effort (without prying), to try and find out what is happening in people’s lives. The addition of new family members or the loss of loved ones have significant impact on the day-to-day routines in our lives. Every day, people go through something that impacts them in positive or in challenging ways.

I use the word balance often in my life, as it comes into play for me every single day. We can still send something for a digital signature, but also we can personalize emails, send texts or arrange FaceTime (or Zoom) to make sure that we have some contact that has a personal component. I like to think of this as a healthy marriage between technology and a personal touch. If you live in the same area, people still love sitting down to have a coffee.

We have spent much of the past two years functioning in different levels of isolation. With many restrictions being lifted, we need to adapt once again and try and remember how to be social (and safe). In most parts of the country, we can see people again, which invites the opportunity (for those who feel comfortable) to meet face-to-face, share tea or coffee or drop off birthday cards.

One specific thing that I would like to share, that I have received some very positive feedback on, has been the creation of original caricature drawings for people as housewarming gifts. It is fun and personalized and never fails to surprise and excite people. It is just a special touch that’s a little bit more personal than swag or standard gifts.

Our businesses rely more and more on evolving tech, but we still need to engage with people. Without this, people are more likely to feel as though they are a number or a dollar sign. Real estate connections are personal and can be emotionally charged. We need to be aware of that and be at our very best when we are out working with clients, not just sorting through mounting administrative tasks.

People will value and respect the work that you do if you are professional, responsive and thorough; but they will refer people to you more readily if they feel that you have all of those elements AND that you have a genuine interest in building a valued relationship and looking after their needs.

There is no shortcut here. Take the time to personally connect with people and the rewards will be a better business, improved quality of care, happier people and a healthier heart.