Somethings will just NEVER go out of style. The need for a great doctor, a great lawyer, a skilled and honest mechanic, a great meal at a fine restaurant, and the one thing that all of those have in common that defines them… GREAT SERVICE! Whether it was 100 years ago or yesterday, people will willingly and happily pay a premium for great service. With that said, they will just as willingly and happily discount the absence of or even the perception of the absence of great service. The one thing about great service is that the ONLY person who could decide if the service being provided is truly great is the person receiving it. And this is where the breakdown begins and ends and exactly why great service has become something many talk about but rarely actually deliver. For this reason, some customers have just decided that it’s easier to find someone who will be cheaper vs spending so much time searching for truly great service. Conversely there are many “service” providers who have decided that it’s easier to just reduce their fees than to pursue actually delivering great service. This is as simple as supply and demand. There is a demand for cheap and there are those who are happy to meet that demand. But common sense dictates that there is a demand for premium service and the existence of those who will meet that demand as well.
I’ve dedicated my career to delivering world class service. Whether as an Air Traffic Controller responsible for providing safe travels to aircraft where less than world class service can be deadly, or as a real estate professional tasked with representing home sellers and buyers in the largest transaction of their lives. An almost obsessive dedication to delivering extraordinary service has been at the core of my success. While so many are focused on how much money they’re making or winning awards, I’ve simply focused on delivering great service to those I serve. As a result, I’ve not had to spend as much time justifying my value to people. No, I’m not bragging. I’ve just found that as professionals, we all have the opportunity to choose how we conduct ourselves in our businesses. If we constantly strive to be the best at our profession, seek knowledge, improve, and relentlessly focus on delivering incredible service to our customers, then we will be paid accordingly. If we constantly look for shortcuts, let our egos get in the way, meet our customers expectations rather than exceed them, spend little time working on improving our knowledge, and make excuses, then once again, we will be paid accordingly.
So, the first thing you need to decide is whether you are going to be the BEST or the SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE or just the CHEAPEST. If you decide to be the BEST in your profession, then you’re going to have to really work hard at it. This means that you are focusing on going above and beyond ALL the time, not some of the time, ALL of the time. I put together a list of some of the ways that you can stand out as a real estate agent in today’s market and literally blow your clients away in comparison to what they’ll get from the average agent out there.
-Stop or at least dramatically reduce the amount of texting and emails and start actually calling people or meeting face to face with your clients more.
-As a listing agent, require that buyers agents present their offers in person to your sellers with you there of course. In multiple offer situations, have them all show up at the same time and show your seller what a great negotiator you are.
-Physically BE at every inspection, appraisal, and walk thru appointment. While other agents are “too busy” or “too important” to be there, you raise the bar and be there. Selling or buying a home is very stressful and scary for many, and your presence shows that you are there for them and representing their best interests.
-Answer or respond to ALL availability calls from buyers agents. These calls allow you the opportunity to SELL the home to the agent and provide them with solid positive talking points with their buyers while setting up expectations and instilling confidence in your professionalism as a listing agent.
-Communicate often, answer your phone, and respond to messages fast.
-ALWAYS remain calm and professional regardless of the co-op agent/client behavior.
-Demand and deliver the highest quality in every aspect of the marketing of the home. No detail is too small. No shortcuts.
-ALWAYS check lock box showings and call showing agents prior to countering or accepting an offer to ensure no other offers are coming in. Do this to encourage more offers too.
-As a listing agent, recognize that your job is not just to sell the home, but to sell the home for top dollar. And one of the best ways to accomplish this is with multiple offers. So encourage ALL offers. Contingencies, low offers, etc.
-Whenever possible, be at every showing as the listing agent. Don’t depend on a buyers agent to adequately “sell” your listing and all of it’s benefits and features.
-Become an expert at articulating your value and your company’s value. Don’t “wing it” on listing presentations. The clients deserve to know what they are paying for so tell them.
-Always go out of your way to help your sellers find their next home. Whether referring out of the area, or helping find a rental, you need to be part of this solution for them.
-Ask lots of questions to get to know and fully understand your clients situation and primary goals and objectives. Don’t try to guess at this. Talk less and listen more.
-Be CONFIDENT but not ARROGANT. Even the slightest perception of arrogance can be deadly.
-Have EMPATHY. Put yourself mentally in their situation so you can understand what they are going through better and genuinely CARE.
-“100/0” —Accept 100% responsibility and make ZERO excuses during the entire transaction. Never blame others.
-Be an expert on the market. Knowledge is power and your clients expect you to have it. They would almost always prefer facts over opinions.
These just a few things that you can do to stand out in today’s market place. While some of them may not be very convenient and could be difficult to accomplish, the alternative is compromising your service and standards. And as I eluded to earlier, this is a slippery slope and a one way ticket to mediocrity.
In closing, just focus on your customers more than anything else. They will appreciate your extreme attention and they will never question what you charge. Be the BEST, believe you are the BEST, and be able to articulate WHY you are the BEST in extreme detail. And remember, if you’re ever asked to discount your fee, then always respond with this common sense question “Are you looking for the Cheapest, or the Best? Because there’s a huge difference that I’d love to sit down and explain to you.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE above!
So anyone who knows me, even just a little, knows that I am a huge believer in Social Media, and I’m a total tech nerd. I have so much technology in my car that I could land the space shuttle from it if I needed to. So this may come as a surprise to you when I say it…. Ready? STOP OVER RELYING ON TECHNOLOGY TO DO YOUR JOB! Yep, I just said that and I meant it. Let me explain. I jumped on the band wagon early on. Before Facebook was a big thing I was on there with a handful of friends. I had Foursquare when that was big and was the “Mayor” of any and every business I frequented, and, well, I hate to admit this but I was a MySpace master back in the early 2000’s. If it’s new and has anything to do with technology, I’ll probably buy into it. I spent $2400 on a GPS in car aftermarket navigation system in 1999 when people were still using Thomas Guides and the DVD/CD’s were out of date the day they arrived. I even bought the first Bluetooth headset before cellphones had Bluetooth in them and required a wired adapter and holster. So why the anti-tech blog post? It’s pretty simple. At this point everyone on the planet is using technology. Its not really that impressive anymore. Everyone has their version of the hottest and coolest tech and in the Real Estate business they all think it’s “revolutionary”, “modernizing”, and/or the answer to all of the woes of the average agent. “There’s an app for that” has gone to the furthest extreme. They even make an app now called Slydial that enables you to make sure you don’t have to talk to the person your calling and get their voicemail. Seriously?!
What I see is missing more and more nowadays is the Personal Touch. When it’s someones birthday now, we wish them Happy Bday on Facebook or text message. I’m guilty of this too! It’s like we’ll do anything to avoid actually having a live two way conversation with people anymore. In this world of super impersonal and flippant interactions, I can’t help but to see a HUGE opportunity that will actually yield some pretty great results when it comes to business growth.
Just think, in a world full of distant communication strategies, text messaging, instant messenger, emails, fancy CRM programs, etc. what do you think would happen to your business if you just picked up the phone and called to wish someone a happy birthday or just ask them how they are doing? What about the good old fashioned “pop-by” on the weekend? Or a kindly handwritten personal note? Think of the look on an expired listing homeowners face if you showed up to their door. Remember when we used to send a get well soon card to someone who was sick? Here’s a crazy one. Remember when we used to ask people “how have you been?” and we actually wanted to know how they’ve been?
In this short post, I just simply want to maybe spark some thought about how overplayed technology is becoming. Yes, I’ll still use it and I’ll still leverage it’s benefits and I do see value in it so let’s not go overboard. But with every agent in the world buying into every new hot tech thing that’ll “transform their business”, I’d just propose that you may stand out in a really good way if you just picked up the phone, wrote a personal note, or stopped by someones house more often. One thing will never change no matter how many cool devices exist. People like to connect offline as much if not more than they do online, and relationships, trust, and confidence can all be built faster and better when we make that effort. And please don’t tell me that “millennials don’t want to communicate by phone or in person”. Baloney! Just because someone was born at a different time doesn’t mean that they are aliens from another planet. Despite their hot pink hair, or permanently implanted Beats headphones, they will still be impressed, likely even more impressed, when you go out of your way to treat them like human beings and just talk to them. And in this day and age, it’s almost becoming a “revolutionary” idea again to actually talk to people outside of text, email, and social media. What a crazy concept. Talking to people, writing notes, and just sitting down and actually listening to people is on the verge of becoming the greatest secret business strategy out there.
So, in closing, feel free to call me a “revolutionary” for proposing these crazy ideas. 🙂 No need to abandon all of your technology, that’d be just stupid as there are a lot of good things that come out of it still. But take the crazy out of the box step to make things much more personal with your sphere of influence, past clients, and new prospects. It’s OK to like a post about someones kid who got honor roll, but imagine the impact when you call them to congratulate and esteem them for being great role models and parents.
Now I’ve got to go check my Facebook notifications, emails, and then order my groceries on Amazon so I don’t have to go into the store. 🙂
Thanks for reading!