Saturday, March 16, 2013

Having a Dialogue!

Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don't believe is right...Jane Goodall

These words from the great researcher whose work on chimpanzees is a history in itself are very much important, though they have been said on a different platform & for different people yet when applied to real estate they come very perfect! Recently an incidence took place which reminded me her quote. Since long when the Internet has come in existence I have a habit of replying each inquiry personally also which come to marketing. Though I don't give information or do actual sales part yet I have a letter for every inquirer which I send from my mail id & many a time a dialogue starts with it. In one such conversation the inquirer Mr. Harshal replied to my mail or sharing we can call it, saying he was thrilled to have a mail from me & he is thankful for a personal sharing by a developer to a common flat inquirer which he found extreme rare. He was genuinely excited by a builder personally replying his quarry for finding a home in his budget & actually is in conversation with him & offering assistance for the cause. And let me tell you this wasn't the first case with me. Whenever I have tried to communicate with the people who have inquired with my organization for their home hunt & when have found that I too am party of that communication from my marketing team they have shown surprised reaction.

Though as I have seen reactions of this kind from the clients after my sharing yet this time it ticked up the writer in me as why we are not having a plain simple dialogue with our customers? And when we use the term customer then it’s not only the person inquiring for his home but anyone who expects some service from the organization of a builder. He or she can be supplier, contractor, consultant or even neighbor of any ongoing construction, you ask any of these entities & they will vouch that the builders are never famous for communication. Reason may be any but this is main complaint about the community we call as builders that either they are non-accessible or don't communicate clearly. Here when I mean builder it includes even the staff of the organization, leave apart the person in charge of the organization by himself. Many of the flat holders have never met or seen their builder in the entire process of buying the home. On the other side of the coin, I knew a few fellow builders who boast of not meeting or knowing their single client ever! Well professionally this may be a success as the show is being managed by their team & meeting the builder in person never arise but is it a truth or something to boast? Here many builders think that meeting clients mean more head ache as it makes them feel important unnecessarily as well their expectations increases too much by doing so. Also it’s a myth that being unavailable to the outsiders makes you important or of some status; these all things adds on negative image making in mind of a common man about the profession.

I am surprised as on one hand where the means of dialogues are so many in compare to old days when meting across was the only mean or at most by telephonic conversation were the means of communication. Now we have got Internet, Sms, Whastap, Mobile, Skipe, Face book & the list is on. Writing a letter is a history  as let's ask yourself when you have actually wrote a letter to your any of the customer? Rather never there was so much communication tools available than we have access to the same today & yet what we see is people are getting away from each other & complaints of not having dialogue are increasing day by day & the problems arising because of it! Actually all these tools of communication can be used very effectively to have a dialogue with your customers & it’s this dialogue coming from the developer which is very important for the customer. A home as I have always stated is not just a consumer product but it has lots of sentiments attached to it & what better than to honor these sentiments of customer than to have a regular plain dialogue with him? After all what is a home where there isn't sharing of a dialogue! The dialogue need not have to be promoting your product, you can just write a mail occasionally to your clients as well to your suppliers or even a Sms saying you like to be in touch with them & is everything fine between them & your team? Such simple means of communication can clear a lot of misconceptions about the image of a developer & build trust as well increases attachment towards our organization.

Most of the time the customers, contractors or the suppliers of a builder rarely have direct access to the main figure of the organization. In such case periodical meeting in form of casual get-together with all these segments does make healthy relations. And again it need not have to be a time consuming event like a dinner or lunch, a casual over the cup of tea type conversation is enough. All the outcome which we want is a bond gets strengthened & it’s this bond which makes them trust in you. And at such times you can casually ask them about any difficulty they are finding in dealing with your team or suggestions about any improvement in your system from their side. Trust me people get thrilled with such get-togethers & many a times you get out of the world ideas which are beneficial for entire organization. Now a day’s many big real estate houses have a concept of arranging a get-together of their existing customers yearly basis & organizing some cultural even followed by dinner at such occasion. Nothing wrong but what I feel is more than that if you keep it casual &create opportunity for your clients to express themselves about their experience with your organization then it will be much fruitful. Similarly small group get-togethers with your suppliers or contractors can be arranged. It also helps in making them feel as one team & it’s this team which produces miracles at work. In present times people are realizing that money isn't everything to deliver the results & your dialogue can be something which is far more than just money which you will be paying for the services of the people.

At our organization we have a system of conducting on site get-togethers of existing customers & explaining them the construction work & introducing them to the people who are making their home. It's not the specifications people are interested but it’s to have a across dialogue with their developer is what interests them more is what I have experienced. And this process should not be just one time event but a routine practice as then it will help in achieving its purpose. Finally as the wise old men have said "There is no more effective solution for any problem in communication than plain simple words which have come from your heart"!  Only need is open up yourself a bit & this is applicable to both sides, may you be a developer or a common flat holder, you can always start a dialogue from your side. As Jane Goodal has said even if you don't have any wrong thing to point out yet you can do something better with that dialogue!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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1 comment:

  1. Respected sir, i agree with ur idea to dialogue direct with customers. Dialogue is the very imp. between client and builder. Its help to improve mouth publicity abt organization or builder. As a marketing person or representetive of organization i face many client, during the booking and end of possession they enquires abt builder or developer. Some client want to meet negotation or who is not satisfy finishing work...
    Mr.Shashikant shinde


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