I’m trying to sell some real estate – it’s a difficult market, I know. But even more difficult is the experience I am having with the process.
It used to be that you would meet with your trusty real estate agent, do the paperwork, and he or she would get on with the business of advertising, networking and keeping in touch with you about the details. You would often get a call or a personal sit-down – you may even go to lunch to be updated on the progress of things, learn how you can stage your home differently, etc.
Now, there’s this really cool computer program that analyzes all the hits your place has gotten on the internet, the website sources, the downloads of the virtual tour – everything you want to know about what anybody did with the website that is advertising your place.
There are charts, bar graphs, stats – goodness, I could fly to the moon with all the data.
But the whole thing is leaving me ice cold.
No personal calls. No sit-down. No feedback on how the showings went. Nothing. Silence. Crickets.
Then I got to thinking about how I behave with clients. If you get to know me well you know I am all about efficiency and organization. I have a lot of heart and passion and I REALLY do care, but I like to get things done quickly and in the most efficient way. So I love email and automated processes – anything that will help me “move it along”!
I even have this pattern in my personal relationships. If I don’t watch it, efficiency and organization can trump relationship, leaving those near me ice cold. As a younger man, I had trained myself to secure love and acceptance by getting things done vs. allowing myself to just “be”.
And that was a path toward failure. Just “being” has always been difficult for me. I know it’s right, it just doesn’t feel like it is.
Which brings me to you and your donors. How are you managing your relationships with them? Is it with charts, analysis and the efficient email or computer driven selects and messages? Or is it about real relationship?
When you call or visit donors, is that call or visit efficient, to the point, get it done, “wham, and thank you”? Or is it warm, calm, open, authentic, vulnerable, listening and caring? Huge difference – and very important to the long-term health of your relationship with that donor.
Over and over again in this blog Jeff and I have said that relationship and authenticity matter. We say this because, on a personal level, both of us have experienced it and on a professional level we know it’s important in your donor relationships – not to mention the fact that it increases donor loyalty and giving.
Our world is becoming more and more isolated and impersonal. We have great technology. We have Facebook, Twitter and a million other programs to “help us communicate”. And we are communicating and connecting less. Scary – and hurtful and damaging.
What I notice about myself and others, both personally and professionally, is that we all long for real meaning and valuing. That is who we are as human beings. And your donors need that too. Their giving is not just a financial transaction with you – there is something real and important happening behind the scenes. Do you know what it is? If not, your relationship with that donor is ice cold.
Good news on the real estate front – I had a talk with my agent and told him what I was feeling. I told him I felt our relationship had migrated from a real business relationship to a relationship with an automated attendant.
I appreciated his reaction. He said, “I’m sorry, Richard. I have failed you. You have reminded me about how important our relationship is. I will do better. And now that I think about it, I really need to call a good friend of mine up in Minnesota, just to talk. I have failed him as well.”
It was good.