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9 Ways to Get Buyers Off the Fence

We all have the ability to “touch” people with many different methods of communication. Telephone, e-mail, voice mail, snail mail, fax machine, face to face— the six touch points of communication can make or break your business or personal relationships when communicating with customers or potential customers.

Here’s how to use each method of communication to its fullest advantage.

The Telephone
We’re not talking about just your business or home phone; we mean your cell phone as well. Surveys done by show that more than 80 percent of all business transactions involve a phone call at one point. You must be in sync with the person with whom you’re communicating.

•    You can hear the other person’s tone of voice over the phone. And the way we perceive those sounds makes a whole lot of difference. A listener can hear two people say exactly the same thing and yet hear it differently from each.

•    You get answers quickly if you reach the party you called, so the phone should usually be your first point of contact.

•    The phone is good for leaving messages that don’t need an immediate answer. If you need immediate action and don’t reach the person you call, however, try to reach another person in the organization.
Most people love e-mail. However, keep in mind that it allows you to communicate in only one direction at a time.

•    Always proofread your message to make sure your point is clear and your tone is friendly.

•    Keep all e-mail communication short, sweet and to the point.

•    Be careful in your e-mails. Short, terse, one-word answers are perceived as “rude.” And remember, what you e-mail today can be headlines tomorrow.
Voice Mail
You can leave a voice message for someone, and whether or not you get an answer is up to the other person, not you. There are three types of voice mails—poor, average and great. When you leave a voice mail, make it a great one and include your name, phone number and a short message about why you’re calling. A disadvantage of leaving voice mail messages, which will be returned when the called party decides to return them, if ever, is that they can cause you to lose control.

•    Always leave a message where you identify yourself clearly, leave your phone number, state your business concisely and let the other person know when you will be available for a return call.

•    Keep it short; don’t ramble.

•    Remember to use your tone of voice. The person can hear the laughter, the smile and the tone. Use it to your advantage.

Snail Mail
(U.S. Mail, UPS, FedEx, courier, etc.)
Mail—one of the original forms of business communication (besides the face-to-face meeting). It continues to be a great method of communication. But, as with e-mails, the written word can be miscommunicated very easily. So e-mail and snail mail are very similar in this regard.

•    Be careful with the written word. Keep in mind how possible miscommunications might occur. Sometimes letters have come back to haunt us.

•    Always proofread your correspondence for accuracy.

•    Never use snail mail if you need an immediate answer.
Fax Machine
Remember when the fax machine came on the scene? Soon, we didn’t know how we had operated without it. A part of the problem is that it’s one-way information. And you wait for an answer.

•    For those who still use this method of communication, recipients appreciate one-page faxes.

•    Again, the written word needs to be checked and double-checked to assure that it isn’t being miscommunicated.

Face to Face
Sight, sound, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language—you just about get the entire package. It’s the ultimate touch point.

•    Maintain eye contact. Those who don’t make eye contact while communicating appear to be hiding something.

•    Focus on the person, or people, with whom you’re talking, who deserve your full attention. You’ll notice, too, when someone talking with you is concentrating on you and the topic—or if his or her eyes are wandering around looking elsewhere.

Real estate professionals use all six forms of communication many times a day. A few simple guidelines can help us focus on which of the touch points to use when, and how to make them work for us, not against us. 

Nancy Friedman, president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is a keynote speaker at conferences and corporate meetings. She was recently a featured speaker at the Florida Association of Realtors® Association Executives meeting in Orlando. For more tips, go to