The crowning jewel of service
<a href=”http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=46636&picture=flower”>Flower</a> by Bartosz Kossakowski
One of my favorite deals almost drove me crazy. A vendor, an aging widow with dementia who had recently lost her husband, was kicking out REALTORS one after the other. My client and I were no exception. But, wanting to help the widow too, I was able to speak with her and we were able to reschedule.
My client adored the house at first sight, and quickly made an offer. The vendor then informed us that the water was ‘bad’ – a potential deal breaker for lenders. We thought the deal was lost. But I really wanted to help both the widow and my client to get what they wanted, so we immediately had the water tested. The water, it turned out, was fine. The vendor was able to sell her house, and my client was able to buy the house she wanted.
Our clients deeply appreciate our going the extra three miles. They can tell when they are a priority, and are cared about. That’s what they remember.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou
Personal attention is basically the culmination of everything mentioned in this series. We start and end with this crowning jewel in mind: valuing all people. Collegues,competitors, vendors, sellers, the gas attendant. My clients -whether a $50K home owner, or $500K vendor – receive the same personal attention from me.
A client’s experience with us needs to sparkle with the jewel of personal attention. They will feel valued and respected, and they will tell their friends about it, and that is exactly what we hope for.
“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back,
they don’t simply recommend you,
they insist that their friends do business with you.”
–Chip Bell, Founder Chip Bell Group
Your turn: What has grabbed you the most about this series?
http://tinaplett.com/about-me/blog/ to see part one, two, and three of this series.
Discover What Your Client Really Wants
You’re not going to like this.
<a href=”http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=16468&picture=scared-lady”>Scared Lady</a> by Vera Kratochvil
The irony of this series is that Providing Legendary Customer Service can not be taught. Not really. There are tips and methods to employ, yes. And, one could fake it for a semi-result. But to authentically pull this off, the desire to satisfy and keep loyal clients needs to become a lifestyle; an attitude.
So what do your clients want? There’s one great way to find out:
“You learn when you listen.
You earn when you listen – not just money, but respect.”
– Harvey Mackay
“There’s a big difference between showing interest and really taking interest.”-Michael P. Nichols, The Lost Art of Listening.
With that in mind, here are a few tips on Listening To Our Clients:
- Give Undivided Attention
Don’t try to guess what they will say. Hear what they are actually saying.
- Ask Questions
Encourage them to continue talking, and clarify your understanding of what they mean.
- Let Them Finish
Interruptions and distractions prevent them from getting across what they’re trying to say.
- Respond With Your Whole Body.
Leaning forward, eye contact, facial expressions and gestures demonstrate you are engaged with what they are saying.
- Don’t React
If highly charged words or tones are being used, resist reacting. Hear them out and respond calmly.
(* These tips are taken from John D. Geddie’s Listening Checklist.)
But the best advice I can give when trying to find out what your clients want is to want to know your client.
“The desire is to understand the client and not to make her agree to something or to change her opinion. If you get this, the rest are all details.”–Chaitanya Sagar of P2W2.com
How have you improved your listening skills lately?
http://tinaplett.com/about-me/blog/ for part one and two
Maintaining Contact With Clients Without Loosing Your Mind
So you got some clients. Now how do you keep them?
“Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.” – Tony Allesandra
Lowball pricing and gimmicks won’t keep a client loyal. Stellar service will. And it’s easier than you think. It doesn’t have to require hours of social media, writing blog content and sending out newsletters and birthday cards and phoning everyone on your list every month. *deep breath* It can be as simple as being you.
Check out this client’s answer when asked why she switched to me from another agent.
“Basically, it was a lack of trust. As a client, I was shopping for properties. As an agent, she was trying to sell me on her importance. Name dropping and office gossip peppered our conversations. Integrity and service were not as important as her looking powerful. I felt incidental – like a task, not a person.”
“The worst perception a client can have is to feel insignificant or forgotten. The salesman is accountable for the health of any client relationship.” –wikihow
This common customer experience, spells out opportunity for us. Stellar customer service gives us a huge advantage over our competitors! Okay, I know you’re looking for a list of what to do, so here are some stellar service tips that will keep your clients coming back for more!
Listen. – -No, Really Listen!
“Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.”-Ross Perot
Integrity Costs, But It Sells.
Do what you say you’ll do. Be honest even when it’s hard. This does not just apply to your client, but to everyone. Your collegues, competitors, the gas attendant. Your familiar face is connected with what you do. If you are known as honest in all things, your reputation becomes an asset.
This is the crown jewel of customer service, and we’ll talk more about later. For now though, it’s the personal flair that really builds loyalty. Give tips, info and bonuses to your client that meet their goals and desires. Really think about them and their needs, and then exceed their expectations
Aha! You were expecting me to talk about newsletters, emails and social media, weren’t you? Those are great tools. But these tips are the real deal. It’s what a loyal client looks for.
And, unlike the ‘to do list’ approach, these things don’t really take extra time. It’s about character, not tasks. Remember. Your client is not a task, and your goal is not the sale. It’s a people thing.
“People will never forget the way you made them feel.”
Getting Started: Establish Personal Contact with Clients
Welcome to Part One of the series on Providing Legendary Customer Service. As you know, helping people is what I live for. It’s the motive behind much of what I do, and the biggest reason I became a REALTOR. It’s also why I put this series together – to help you satisfy the daylights out of your clients!
“Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game.
Service wins the game.” – Tony Allesandra
But how do we get clients in the first place? I remember my first instruction as a new agent was, “Congratulations! Now go find someone who wants to sell a house.” I drove around town, clueless. After awhile I prayed, “God, show me where to go.”, and trusted Him to guide my steps. I soon stopped at a local store and just inside the entrance a woman stood, feeling faint. I helped her to a seat, and chatted with her while she recovered. She found out what I do, and offered to give my card to a friend who was planning to sell. Her friend became a client who has (so far) listed multiple times, and referred 8-10 new clients to me. All that from one meeting.
There are loads of ways to get out there and meet new people. Here are just a few.
- Set up Booths: at malls, conventions, flea markets, county fairs.
- Contact for sale by owners and offer your services.
- Get your face out there – advertise, advertise, advertise. Become a familiar face.
- Offer freebies to attract listings – free home evaluations, gifts…
- Social Media – whether to post listings, personal interests, or to simply interact with others, social media can be an effective tool to make and maintain contact. Interacting is key.
- Host a free seminar on investing, or how to buy a house.
The secret though, is changing how you think about it. I love how one well known successful marketer puts it:
“Rethink your view of marketing. Use marketing to meet people, not sell to people. If you must, view it as networking, but remember the result isn’t about selling. It’s about meeting and connecting. Don’t go into every conversation thinking you have to sell. You don’t. You should be building the relationship. Sales come later.” – Lori Widmer, author of 365 Marketing.
Getting a client is one thing. Keeping that client is a whole other game. Establishing contact with clients sets the tone for the relationship. And those relationships need maintaining. How exactly one maintains those client relationships (without over extending ) is what I can’t wait to talk about in Part Two.