For real estate professionals, both residential and commercial alike, appointments are everything. They can be both the beginning and the conclusion of transactions, referrals, influence in the marketplace, sales, rentals and other agreements. It’s therefore vitally important to make sure that these appointments - which are often scheduled weeks if not months in advance - occur on time and as expected without a high rate of cancellations.
Aren't missed appointments or "no-shows" a fact of life in real estate? Of course. However, steering meetings with clients toward completion is an art form that can be mastered. Customer behavior studies show that "steered management" can actually increase fulfillment by an exponential factor. One study in particular revealed that getting someone to show up five times would cement them as a high value client in over 89% of the cases studied. In the real estate business and in various other fields - law and medicine in particular -- there is a genuine need for a convenient, affordable and customizable means of reminding - and communicating with - customers (both actual and potential), clients and patients.
While others have attempted to provide solutions, many of the existing digital calendars and virtual assistants are unwieldy and even counterproductive, often available only as part of a broader suite of services. Perhaps the reason for this stems from trying to be all things to all people, perhaps because they are designed as a hammer rather than a magnet.
One simple solution would be for potential buyers to receive a timely, courteous SMS reminder, allowing them to confirm or cancel an appointment at their discretion. Based on that response, the platform would then alert the realtor about which clients will be in attendance and which ones must be rescheduled.
This is the inspiration behind Notif.ly, a new web-based software as a service (SaaS) platform that empowers real estate professionals to minimize or even eliminate the occurrence of "no-shows," a problem that causes businesses to lose hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Notif.ly provides a seamless way to schedule, confirm, cancel or simply acknowledge receipt of plans to, say, view an open house, view a commercial building, meet an appraiser or initiate or finalize escrow proceedings.
This easy-to-use appointment management platform allows realtors to make more efficient use of their time, improve customer service, and ultimately to generate more business opportunities and increased commissions. We designed Notif.ly with ease of use in mind and have made it readily accessible for realtors, managers of realty offices and clients alike.
The truth of the matter is that a missed appointment here and a sudden last minute cancellation there can potentially cost the average real estate firm hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost commissions (and thus millions in otherwise closable deals). Think, for a moment, of the way the real estate industry - certainly the residential component - operates, with Sundays typically reserved for positioning signs about open houses on busy streets and thoroughfares.
The chief problem, one of several, with this informal means of scheduling appointments - letting the public know that Sunday, in some part of town, there is an open house - is that it is entirely reactive: A realtor must sit (or stand) and wait - for hours, sometimes for an entire afternoon - until one passerby happens to stop by only to discover the price is too high, the taxes too excessive and the sellers too inflexible. Bottom line: That person is not a customer, period.
At this point, a realtor or office manager should recognize the obvious -- all promotions, to date, do not result in an orderly, scheduled series of appointments between prospective buyers and sellers. Referrals and aggressive advertising are the chief resources a broker has, but, and this is where mobile communications can be so valuable, there is a more efficient way to match the right client with the right broker, and minimize the losses normally incurred in the course of doing business. By utilizing Notif.ly to automate the appointment process a broker need not waste his or her day sitting around an empty open house, baking cookies on what is an otherwise beautiful Sunday.
The traditional way of doing business has involved a potential buyer contacting a broker about a property for sale, the broker taking the person's information, offering details about the open house, and then hoping for the best. In other words, even after all of that, the broker would have no way of quickly and easily confirming whether or not he or she in fact does have a Sunday appointment.
Now, change the dynamic ever so slightly - same home, same coveted neighborhood, same exceptional school district - but the appointment, confirmation of the meeting time and any other relevant details are available via an SMS message. Hence the mission of Notif.ly: To inform, remind, confirm and (for realtors) close their deals.
This milestone in mobile communications should be cause for celebration, especially in a sector of the economy so vital to the nation and various related industries as real estate. The proverbial ripple effect - from a single missed appointment - can assume far greater significance in this scenario. The potential is huge, the convenience is obvious and the benefits too substantial to ignore. Notif.ly has the capacity to usher in a new era of real estate marketing and deal-making.
|Joshua Otten is the co-founder of Notif.ly and a partner with SCREENPUSH.COM, a fully integrated, global digital marketing agency.|