15 Tips for Dealing With Non-Tech Savvy Clients
If you’re successful as a leasing agent today, you more than likely embrace technology and effectively deploy the latest tools to generate leads, build client relationships and grow your business. But how do you handle clients who, for whatever reason, eschew technology? These prospects can negatively impact how effectively you communicate with them and, ultimately, how successful you are on their behalf.
Here are 15 tips for dealing with non-tech savvy clients.
- First, determine your clients’ starting knowledge so you know how much explanation you need to provide. Start with “fishing” questions such as:
- What websites do you use to search for a home?
- What technology do you currently use on a regular basis?
- How do you use the Internet, if at all?
- Keep your explanations simple, use plain English and skip the jargon. You may be enthusiastic and comprehensive when explaining all the things you have planned for the client, but you won’t get the response you want if they don’t understand a word of what you’re saying.
- Draw analogies if it makes sense. Most eyes glaze over when a mechanic expounds on the rear differential of a ’68 Mustang, but when he compares the concept to, say, a dinghy oared by rowers with different muscle strengths… ah, now the eyes uncross and comprehension dawns.
- Use clear visuals and examples, if possible. Graphics can convey ideas more quickly and effectively than words. Use your laptop or tablet to show sample videos of your open house events or a Facebook post of a listing.
- Talk in terms of results; explain why and what you are doing for the client, not how you are doing it. Clients just want to know what you will deliver and when you’ll deliver it. Forego the step-by-step and simply explain what the end result means for them.
- Pause often and ask for questions. Take a clue from your clients’ expressions and body language; if they look uneasy in any way, stop. Back up. By educating them patiently and gradually, you become their trusted adviser and, in turn, they can provide glowing reviews.
- Put things in writing so clients can read the information later at their own pace. It may be old-school, but some people are more visual learners than auditory ones, and may comprehend more if they can review information on paper and at their own pace.
- Share resources that clients might not know about. For example, give them a glossary of unfamiliar terms that they can study; share infographics that explain various tasks or steps in the buying or selling process; if they’re comfortable navigating the Internet, send them some of your favorite links — they can be fun and entertaining as well as business-related.
- Use familiar references (i.e., use scenarios/examples that are relatable to their personal background). Positioning a concept within a familiar setting is a great way to relay and contextualize information. For example, if a client has a sales background, you could say, “Today’s smartphone is a Rolodex, encyclopedia, notepad, fax machine, file cabinet, camera and atlas — all in one.”
- Find out what their preferred method of communication is and use that method. It shows you understand their needs and, frankly, clients will be more responsive because that method is what they’re comfortable with.
- If you’re going to introduce a technology, app or process, demonstrate how it relates to the client and the benefit it brings. Show them that using certain technologies can speed up your productivity and either market a seller’s house more broadly and efficiently, or find a buyer’s new home that much sooner. Processes can finish more quickly, too —for example, executing documents with e-signatures — and maybe even save money for both you and the client.
- Compare notes. A client may not be as tech savvy as you, but they might have some experience with technology. If they have a computer or smartphone, bring yours out and compare interfaces and tools. If they use Facebook to post notes and photos to friends, call up your page and show them how you post listings and other information. Identifying your common ground can bridge the gap between their abilities and yours.
- Suss out what’s behind their reluctance to embrace technology; it may be simple to overcome. If your clients don’t like emails because they’re terrified of unleashing a bug, explain how anti-virus filters work. Perhaps they have a smartphone, but are overwhelmed by all its bells and whistles; you can tell them confidently that most people can’t even name all their phone’s features, let alone use them.
- Get in the trenches if you need to. If a client is open to using a new tool, teach them how to use it. Take a minute to show them how to do Internet searches, or how to send a text or email —anything else they want to know (within reason). You don’t have to put on a clinic, but if you can help them get their arms around some basic technology, it will only make things easier for everyone going forward.
- Be patient (or at least look like it). Remember that you were once in your clients’ shoes and that it took time for you to learn everything that you know today. If you do it right, some aspect of the technology you discuss or demonstrate might strike a chord with your clients and they might be encouraged to explore it.
If a client wants nothing to do with technology — perhaps they believe emails are what’s wrong with the world today, text messaging is akin to quantum mechanics, and a tablet is something you take for indigestion — you probably won’t convince them to invest in it just for the sake of a real estate transaction. In that case, you’ll have to go analog when you’re one-on-one with the non-tech savvy client. And who knows? When they see your results, they might reconsider their stance.
Story by: NANCY ROBBERS