It’s no secret. Technology is constantly evolving, changing the way we interact with clients and affecting our relationships with them.
With technological innovation and expansion across companies worldwide, evolving at exponential rates, technology involving customer relationships is at the forefront of the global movement to roboticize human work. For some people, this thought may be daunting, for others it screams“huge opportunity!”
Customer Relationship Management tools (CRMs) and systems of engagement are not only tools that help business professionals form and maintain relationships with clients, but they have become necessities in today’s fast paced and competitive landscapes of real estate and lending.
Furthermore, product marketing and content marketing (such as Happy Birthday notifications and monthly newsletters) seem to be the natural, routine path to stay in front of your clients, but these types of marketing are hardly enough to keep them engaged or to look to you as their trusted financial expert. In fact, it only takes 12 months after a transaction has closed for your clients to completely forget about you. Seems pretty harsh,right?
So the question emerges, how do agents and lenders get back in front of their clients and stay in front of their clients when they are competing with complex and robust systems such as CRMs, and when traditional product and content marketing seem fully working against them?
The answer is simple.
Combine your human intuition and expertise with a system of intelligence. Systems of intelligence (SOI) are the next big wave of technology to improve efficiency and value for clients, and their era has far already begun. SOIs are smart human enhancements that act on your behalf as an extension of you. Indeed, they work with you, not against you.
THE SURGEON WITH THE BIONIC ARM
Imagine, a surgeon with a superhuman bionic arm performing heart surgery. Would he be able to perform the surgery without the mechanical edition? Absolutely. Let’s go one level deeper here...
Now, imagine that the bionic arm is a hyper-calculated piece of equipment with a zero shake guarantee. The bionic arm has even more arms that can reach out of it and provide the larger arm all of the tools it needs to perform the heart surgery on time, with exact precision and with little to no error.
The large bionic arm itself is a complex piece of equipment.It’s reliable and efficient and removes the risk of more people and more variables that could contribute to a different, or possibly negative, outcome.The key here though, is that the arm does not operate by itself. It can only operate with the surgeon and by the surgeon. It responds to the surgeon’s direct thoughts, flawlessly – like the blink of an eye – but it considers all demands and factors and delivers the best possible outcome of the surgeon’s intentions (whether that’s a movement, or a direct action).
If this metaphor is a bit gruesome for you – shift your attention to one of the most simple and domestic systems of intelligence –Amazon’s Alexa device.
ALEXA KNOWS ALL
You tell Alexa to play your favorite music in the morning while you’re making breakfast, drinking your coffee, or reading the news. You tell her to remind you to pick up your dry cleaning at 10 a.m., text you the driving directions to your morning meeting, and to remind you to call your mother today. When you leave the house, you tell Alexa to turn off all of your home devices to conserve energy and lower your monthly bill.
You get the idea here. Alexa is smart, and she listens to you to make your day and life easier.
There are so many examples of systems of intelligence that we already use. The list goes on and on. If we as complex and intelligent humans combine our knowledge with a system that delivers on our creativity and vision of efficiency (no matter the subject matter), then we’ve truly become the masters of our own systems of intelligence.
So how do you harness the power of a true SOI and make it work for you in a professional sense instead of the other way around?
SOIs involve CRMs and systems of engagement, but include a third crucial component of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).This intelligence collects data from many sources, including systems of engagement, stores it in the CRM, and ultimately creates new, personalized content for clients.
CREATE VALUABLE CONTENT
No doubt, we are in an age where content and product marketing is everywhere and we are all desensitized to it, which decreases the efficacy of these kinds of marketing.
Systems of intelligence are the solution to keep clients engaged and agents and lenders top-of-mind with their extended networks.
Again, take mega tech giant Amazon as an example of a well-designed SOI. The more you shop on Amazon, the smarter Amazon becomes.Amazon starts delivering personalized reading lists and suggestions for books based on prior reads and searches, hyper-personalized to you. You feel the warm and fuzzies as Amazon has created a valuable experience for you that allows you to make a better decision. The program understands you, and caters to your highest interests.
Systems such as Amazon have two concrete reasons that their users are so happy and engaged: 1) the technologies produce content that is personalized and intelligent and 2) they deliver it in a way that feels helpful and engaging rather than intrusive and irrelevant.
Acknowledging AI and machine learning as a new category of software or technology to implement into your business is crucial. Utilizing your own creativity and knowledge about your network of clients generates the ability to create hyper-personalized, valuable, and even addicting content.Technology is there to help you execute on your creative thoughts and ideas,but it’s your brain power that keeps the AI machine well-oiled and running.
Systems of intelligence are not a one-way street. Even the smartest systems require an even smarter human behind it to operate optimally.
As loan originators, you are the only ones who understand what your clients actually want and what they need. Take the Smith Family as an example:
You know that the Smiths, who purchased their first home with you in 2010, are soon-to-be empty nesters. They are looking to downsize from their four-bedroom home in the suburbs to their little dream beach bungalow where they plan to retire in paradise.
You also know that what the Smiths need is an advocate; an asset manager for their home and their other real estate investments. They know you and they trust you to guide them through this large life change that will impact their livelihood as they near retirement. What they don’t want is a series of unattached beach listings, or bulk, blasted content that provides nothing to them short of a nice ‘hello’ or junk mail.
So, instead you decide to deliver them monthly home values and personalized financial data to guide them through this large life-changing process.
GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR SYSTEM
As an industry professional, you understand that by the time the average American retires, 83 percent of their retirement will come from their home equity. The other 17 percent comes from 401Ks and other investments.
With this knowledge, you sit in the middle of an amazing ecosystem to create really valuable content for your clients and to help them build wealth.
There are endless opportunities for you to engage with clients regarding re-models, loans, rentals, and other things related to their home. You can use the information you already have on clients stored in your CRM to delve deeper and provide them with new insights. Get creative with what new information you can discover for your clients and you can strengthen relationships with your clients and provide them truly valuable content specifically for them.
Here are a few examples of valuable insights that would provide value to your clients:
• Updated Comparative Market Analysis to keep them on track with their home value
• How much they can Airbnb their current home for and how much additional wealth they could accrue monthly and annually by doing so
• Give them a shout out when they are eligible to purchase an investment property or trade up to a second home
• Maybe even tell them when they can drop their mortgage insurance.
By understanding where your clients are at with their home as an investment, you are communicating valuable content in a creative way. You are starting a conversation, and conversations often lead to transactions.
INVEST IN A SMART REFERRAL SYSTEM
But what’s the point? In short, referrals.
Did you know that 8 out of 10 clients would give their originator a referral, but only 3 out of 10 actually do? The reason that agents don’t get as many referrals as they could is because there aren’t enough honeymoons.
You understand that there is more to your relationships with clients than just selling them a home. It isn’t over after the transaction. The“honeymoon phase,” or commonly known as the “Halo Effect” is a time where clients are most likely to send you referrals because they are happy with their recent experience with you and you are still their top-of-mind professional.
You’ve given them the warm and fuzzy feelings associated with a large home purchase or investment transaction. However, this “halo effect” only lasts for a few months and over time the relationship fades without nurturing.
Systems of intelligence, as extensions of you the professional, create and re-create the honeymoon by delivering tidbits of valuable expertise on your behalf, and they do this in a dependable, reliable,efficient way to keep your clients “married” to you as their trusted professional. So, if you can create new value events that accrue good will to you, you can restart that referral cycle again, and again, and again.
The valuable, personalized content you can provide through your system of intelligence shows clients that you care about them and when yous how that you care, you’re more likely to be referred. Hu-mans are emotional creatures, and that’s just natural science.
In this new era of systems of intelligence powered by machine learning and AI, it is time to stop bombarding clients with ineffective content and product marketing that makes them feel overwhelmed and annoyed by even your most genuine attempts. You must be better than the status quo and provide something of actual value to the people driving your business on a consistent basis.
ENTER EMPOWERMENT MODE
It’s time to get out of blast mode, into consumer empowerment mode and in the fast lane to your professional success.
You are the master of your own success. Systems of Intelligence are just the executioner that deploys your best intentions and efforts in the most efficient way, yielding your maximum ROI.
Empower your people with knowledge and insight that helps them make the best possible decisions. Educate them on how they can save money and build wealth over the life cycle of homeownership. Give them valuable new experiences. Then sit back and enjoy your well-deserved referral honeymoons.
Remember, Maya Angelou said that “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
The “Halo Effect” you’ve created will shine that much brighter, outshining your competitors who simply can’t keep up with what you have to offer your clients.