Joe Aldrich, Friendship Evangelism, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
A model from the world of real estate becomes instructive at this point. A firm in Salem, Oregon, assigns 500 families to each agent. Agents are expected to contact each assigned family once per month for a year. The contact may be personal, a telephone call, or a letter. Research indicates that it takes at least six contacts for people to remember who the agent is and the firm represented. During this time of "building relationships," agents are encouraged not to go in the house (good psychology, everyone else is trying to get their foot in the door).
Furthermore, they are encouraged not to ask for a listing during this "get acquainted" time. Obviously, there would be exceptions to these restrictions, but they do illustrate an understanding of what it takes to create a favorable climate for selling real estate. After the initial year of regular contacts, the agent continues to communicate with the assigned families on a scheduled, systematic basis. Research reveals that if this pattern is followed consistently for one-year-and-a-half, the agent will secure 80% of the listings. What does the real estate firm know that we either do not know or overlook?
First, people do not like to be confronted by strangers seeking entrance into their homes. In fact, in many communities this is socially unacceptable. The sales person or any other unknown professional who arrives at the door is automatically confronted with a high sales resistance. If the door is opened, it is done with a determination not to be "taken in" by sales talk. The salesperson professionally represents the product, and consequently the sales pitch is discounted at least 50 percent. However, if a friend comes over and shares a glowing personal testimony concerning the value of the agent's product, the reaction is apt to be markedly different. A satisfied customer makes the most effective salesperson.
Second, people are more inclined to do business with acquaintances than strangers.
Third, it takes time and effort to build a healthy decision-making climate.
Fourth, there is no substitute for time. Often it is necessary to "make haste slowly."