Do you answer your phone? How many times have you called a place of business and got the automated menu to select an extension of a person that isn't there? It's awesome isn't it. If your in real estate, answer your phone. It's simple. You've advertised your phone number all over the internet, the yard sign, the yellow pages and handed it out on your business card so why is it so hard to connect? Maybe this isn't you. You do answer your phone, but do you:
- Answer your email and respond via email when some one emails you?
- Respond on Twitter to direct messages and mentions?
- Respond to wall posts and messages on Facebook?
Simple business tips that to often get forgotten in our quest to be all over the internet and maximize our exposure. The basic business tip to follow is respond to your customers in the manner or medium that they contacted you. If you do that simple basic business skill of returning messages using the same medium you received them it is surprising how you'll actually be seen as engaged, on top of it and thoughtful.
Recently I have had an interesting experience using Twitter. My goal was to secure a table reservation for my wife's birthday supper for our family of five. I follow a number of local businesses in Red Deer because this is where we live, work and go out. If you're local, a business on Twitter I'll probably follow you if I don't already and chances are I'll engage in conversation on Twitter with you, frequent your place of business if we build a rapport or you offer a solution to my needs. I like to do business with people who I know.
Back to my Twitter experience, Restaurant A:
- Public reply/mention to restaurant A requesting a reservation a week in advance for a party of 5. "Reservation recommended for Monday nov.28 6:30 for a family of 5 birthday? I'd like to book in plz" No response.
- Next day I send another reply/mention in the morning requesting a reservation for our party of 5, perhaps they got busy and didn't see the mention in their timeline. "I'd like to reserve a table on Monday November 28th at 6:30 for 5 people. Can I do that?" More specific and direct, No response.
- They follow me on Twitter, so I decide to send a direct message. "Not sure if you saw my request to book a table for 5, Monday November 28th at 6:30 doable?" and well no response from them yet. :-( On Twitter you might insert #fail.
There maybe a logical explanation for them not seeing my attempts and getting back to me. I'm not completely writing them off as a destination at this time but I have moved on to a different choice. There are several fantastic restaurants in Red Deer.
I decided to be more direct with my request by sending a direct message to the folks at Redstone, in Red Deer @RedstoneRD
on Twitter. They are fairly quiet on my timeline compared to some other users, but they are consistent with their tweets. They also include their website link in their profile http://redstonegrill.ca
. You may recall from my earlier post that I recommended that as a must
, something Restaurant A also failed to include.
- I DM's the folks at Redstone "hey, can I book a table of 5 for Monday November 28th at 6:30 for a family birthday?"...
- Response within minutes. "I'm not I'm the restaurant so cannot see reservation desk. please call 342 4980"
- Second response via Twitter "Sorry I couldn't help"
- Great a reasonable response actually. They could have also directed me to http://redstonegrill.ca where they have an online reservation system, their phone number and a link to the "Open Table" reservation app.
- I called and booked in. They answered the phone promptly and politely.
Was I expecting a reservation booked through Twitter? No, but I was expecting a response of some kind.
The point is why are you on Twitter?
We all know it costs money, time and resources to solicit a new client or customer than it does to maintain existing clients. We also know that our advertising is expensive and we can't throw away opportunities or leads otherwise we just wasted our time and money and possibly even worse damaged our reputation.
What if instead of me booking a reservation at a restaurant, that was a buyer requesting to look at one of your listings? Or perhaps it was a potential seller who would like more info on selling their home? You'd probably be saying "I had better respond to that lead!"
Not responding to Twitter, Facebook or Email, it would be like advertising that I call you and you never call me back after I leave 1, 2 or 3 messages. How many clients/customers would stick around and still want to look at that house with you if after 1, 2, or 3 calls to you went unreturned?
Answer your phone, your messages, your email, and twitter mentions and you'll stand out for the better.