Rules for CORE Agents #16: Personal Communication Requires an Actual Person Communicating

As modern communication technology advances, it becomes increasingly hard to have actual conversations with other people. I know that seems crazy, since we have so many wonderful ways these days to get in touch: mobile phones, voicemails emails, text messages, Facebook status updates.  But we don’t actually “talk” with each other as much anymore; we’re more likely to talk “at” each other.

This is the price of progress. Every time we discover a new communication technology, we increase efficiency while we decrease intimacy.  In the beginning, all our communications were face-to-face: we had to actually talk in person.  Very intimate, but very inefficient.  Then came the telephone, which drastically increased efficiency at the small price of giving up the intimacy of a face-to-face interaction.

But technology keeps advancing and accelerating.  Answering machines allowed people to have “conversations” that were actually just an exchange of messages from one to the other.  Caller ID allowed people to duck personal conversations and send them to voicemail so they could listen to them when they had the time or inclination.  Email eliminated the need to pick up the phone.  Then text messages replaced email.

Everything is getting more efficient and less intimate.  Communications between people used to be actual conversations – now they’re often dueling soliloquies bouncing back and forth from one person to another.  They used to be person-to-person – now, they’re often person-to-people, broadcast via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

Now, this is all well and good.  I’m not some grump complaining about newfangled technology and pining for the good old days.  I love all this stuff.

But you have to be careful to use the right communication tool for the right purpose.  Sometimes, efficiency trumps intimacy, like when you’re doing a deal.  It’s certainly easier to facilitate a transaction when you have buyers, sellers, and other agents who use modern communication technologies so that you can email and text rather than having to play phone tag all day.

Sometimes, though, intimacy trumps efficiency, particularly when you’re trying to build or cultivate a relationship. Real estate is a business built on personal relationships, and personal relationships should be intimate, not efficient.

If you want to build your sphere, or win over a FSBO, or follow up with a buyer lead, you need to build a personal relationship.  That requires a personal communication, which requires an actual person making the communication.

Call them.  Go out with them.  Take them to lunch.  Talk to them. You can’t build a personal relationship via impersonal communications.


This post is part of a series of what I call the “36-1/2 Rules for Client-Oriented Real Estate Agents,” a collection of short takes on the CORE concept that I’ve developed over the years of discussing and teaching the system.  We’ll count up to the 36th rule over the next few months, and then the 1/2 rule.  You can get the full list of rules by clicking on the “36-1/2 Rules for CORE Agents” category on the blog – scroll from the bottom if you want to read them in order.