GDPR, communication, technology and what your clients really want…
This isn’t a legal guide on what to do in your business to combat the issues of GDPR, if that is what you want look elsewhere, I’m sure David Cox, will be writing something on this somewhere, but instead this is a thought provoking piece on why GDPR is here and what WE can and should be doing about it now in our Businesses practically now, to get ready.
The value of any business now, centres around its database, it’s contacts and therefore unmined or mined equity potential, the changing rules, mean that it is now going to be a requirement to “check in” with our “contacts” regularly in order to be able to retain that database, and retain the right to continue to use it. So what actions are we taking already, what we can do and how?…..And I think it’s almost a revisit back to good old fashioned service.
The question to ask yourselves here is… What do your contacts want from you, how can you give that to them effectively and cost efficiently and keep them engaged with your brand/company?
So let’s go back to what we used to do years ago, can you remember when we had to call or visit our clients to have a “conversation” or even send them a letter? Back then, when we secured a client we nurtured them, checked in with them to make sure they were ok and over delivered to keep them happy… I used to take key clients out for events and functions, have quarterly reviews with them and invite them to seminars to keep them up to date…. So what happened? Technology appeared and we all took a back step and became magnolia!
We don’t “check in” nowadays, we generally only contact them when there is a problem, and that’s not ideal at all, we may send an automated email, we don’t “invite to an event” instead we send a newsletter they can read, and we don’t get to know our clients because we have moved on to finding the next one, which is an absolute shame.
The GDPR, I believe is here as a result of this, and of course marketers (who they say ruin everything) going around the Internet collecting data in all conceivable ways possible and then storing it, waiting for an opportunity to “spam” said contacts with anything they can to sell their wares… So here we are, with GDPR on the horizon, and it is going to force us to either engage or lose our data, basically because the consumer has had enough of it, and wants more…from us…
So if you had to get to know your clients again, find out what they actually want and then offer it to them, would that be such a bad thing? And how best could you do just that?
At last, there is a new middle ground between the old style 1-2-1 engagement, help and support and the bland, one size fits all computer generated magnolia engagement, and all it requires is a change in mind-set, a commitment to engage and a bit of time, because you know how to do it already.
Create content -NOT sales copy, but real valuable content that your clients, potential clients want to read and consume without selling… Then get it out there, email it, share it on social media, get it printed, FREE content, give before you ask to receive, without ANY sales pitch or asking for anything at all… This is how major brands are building their presence right now… Content.
Be Visible – Show them who you really are… Have you heard that business is done with people not brands? Then why do UK agents, hide behind their brand, pushing out faceless corporate messages? The American Realtors, do this so well, with their faces on billboards all around their patch… Let’s get our faces out there, let the market know WHO we are, what we stand for and WHY they should use us or stay with us, make videos, sound bites, be the brand, be outspoken, defend your clients against those that challenge them, be their local champion…
Engage in every way possible -Remember what we used to do, if you were not in the industry 20 years ago ask someone… Check in with your clients and old, lost, past clients every 3 months by phone, send valuable content (see above) by email or post to all, your contacts, create a group for your clients on social media, and create “events” to invite them too regularly to get to know them, have fun with them or educate them, basically create your own community with them.
I believe, this is what the intention is of the new GDPR rules, and furthermore, it means that if we don’t give our database a reason to want to stay engaged with us, if it is not “worthwhile” for them, or if we just ignore them, the punishment soon will be that we will lose them completely and maybe forever…
So let’s start now, back to basics, with a little help from technology, and re-engage our contacts, and you never know, maybe help build our businesses in the process too!
If you want to know more check out: www.propertyagentscircle.co.uk/intensive
Sally Lawson ARLA President