News & Research Archive

The Power of the Personal Connection

Feb 27, 2006


Today, thanks to email, PDF files, faxes, cell phones, and instant messaging, it has become increasingly easy to stay in touch with clients, friends, and family. You can be connected every minute of every day; we have instant communication 24/7.


On the flip side, the ability to meet a client for lunch to discuss a deal or even to thank them in person for business is becoming next to impossible. Convening for drinks (at least on the West Coast) is considered a business faux pas. No one has time to meet in person any more.


On the one hand, we have instant communication; on the other hand, we don’t have time to develop relationships. What are the consequences for you as a salesperson?


One, loyalty is tested. Because your clients don’t really know, you may find it difficult to gain their trust. Two, you have little control. For example, as you complete more transactions via email, what happens when the listing broker begins to talk to the client directly? You lose control of your client. Three, you probably are not developing many long-term relationships, so even if you are successful in an immediate transaction, it will not necessarily lead to future business.


One could argue that instant communication creates so much efficiency that little personal physical connection with clients doesn’t matter; instant communication allows us to work on and complete more deals, offsetting the potential loss of business because we are not spending time meeting and developing true relationships with our clients. But there are ways to use modern technology and keep the personal touch in your business relationships.


Richard Bowers, principal of Richard Bowers TCN in Atlanta, runs one of the largest commercial real estate firms in his area. He is the master of the use of multiple cell phones, yet he avoids as much as possible the use of email. Richard likes to speak to his clients. Another interesting approach Richard takes is that even though he maintains a high intensity day in and day out, he makes time to cold call in person, walking in and out of buildings “just to keep up with what’s going on.” His tactic is an old-fashioned idea enhanced by modern technological tools.


No matter what technology you are using, a great salesperson always finds time to extend his or her hand for a handshake with a client or prospective client. There is no substitute for direct personal communication.


Written by: Hans Hansson


Hans Hansson is President of Starboard TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services as well as a member of the Board of Directors for TCN Worldwide Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 21 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,

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