New Home Sales
This job is so personal. We see the inside of people’s homes – from their bookshelves and master bedroom to how they and their children behave. We act differently in our own homes than we do in public, don’t we? Real Estate agents get to see the inside of someone’s home and life like most people never will. We’re the outsider on the inside.
It’s a unique perspective to have.
There is so much pleasure in glimpsing the personal lives of people. Hang on – I`m not talking some kind of creepy voyeurism here. What I mean is that I love seeing those couples that joke with each other, and respect each other. It’s a joy to watch their children play together, help each other, and be awesome. (The opposite of how movies and commercials depict children.) I also delight in the whole process of helping these wonderful people find their dream home.
The thing about pleasure though, is that it often mixes with pain. Sometimes what`s behind the scenes is painful. Homes get sold because of divorce, death or financial desperation. People struggle so hard sometimes, and it’s difficult to watch -especially from that up-close view we get sometimes. Those are the moments I sometimes wish I didn`t care, and could heartlessly go about the business of buying and selling.
Do you ever wish you could stop feeling pain? If so, I just want to encourage you with what helps me in those moments. It`s okay to feel sad. More than that, it`s actually necessary -how would we know joy without sorrow? They are inseparable.
“And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?”
-Khalil Gibran, “On Joy and Sorrow“
What also helps is, after I give myself permission to feel the sadness of it, I then make myself find the joy. What am I thankful for or glad about. And I move forward with both tucked in my heart. If you are discouraged or sad this week, know it`s okay. Sad is allowed.
The secret is not to stay there.
What helps you step out of sadness?
I’ve been a reflexologist. I’ve also been a hairdresser. Check out my handiwork here.
Sweet eh? Hey, it was the 80s. That was high style at the time, okay?
Even back then, I was sought for my quality customer service. Clients stayed loyal, and were like friends – they shared their hearts with me, and I took seriously the responsibility of speaking into their lives.
My clients at the salon did not necessarily know I was having a bad day. My reflexology clients were unaware that I was going through some rough times at home. Our time together was about them. I put myself aside to serve. That is customer service. It’s sadly becoming a rare thing, this serving attitude. But, good news for us who win clients by going the extra mile – there is not alot of competition at that level, but there is a whole lot of customer loyalty. But we have to work to get there.
It doesn’t seem to matter what industry a person works in, principles of stellar customer service apply. The kingpin though – the thing that holds it all together – is consistency.
Anyone can give fabulous service to a customer once. Everyone can serve happily and willingly when they feel great and their customers are easy to love. But when service becomes inconvenient, or the clients are unlikeable, most businesses (and their staff) forget about customer service.
What does this look like practically?
Do what you say you’re going to do. Every time.
When you’re on the clock, put your client’s needs above your own. Every time. Even when it’s inconvenient.
Give the same level of service to all clients. Ugly, beautiful, smelly, rural, city, rich, poor, foreign, … doesn’t matter. Treat them well. Consistently.
For me, the most difficult time to do this is when a difficult client demands the extra mile. I give it, but it’s a whole lot easier to serve someone appreciative, isn’t it? But in the interest of consistency – integrity really – I do it. And I do it with a smile on my face.
What’s the hardest thing about being consistent with your clients?
What can you change to improve your level of consistency?
Real Estate agents suffer alot of disdain and catch alot of annoyed glances for keeping their phones on.
In the bathroom (Admit it)
In the doctor’s office
At a wedding
At a wedding reception recently, we sat around ornately decorated tables. Glass shimmered, centrepieces sparkled, and guests chattered, waiting for braised chicken to arrive. Then my phone, laid discreetly on my lap, buzzed. With bowed head, I checked the text message. My client needed to meet with me that night to sign papers. My stomach growled as I imagined the braised chicken and buttery herbed potatoes I would miss. Then a voice growled from behind me. “You’re at a wedding” He rumbled. I looked up just in time to see the scowl before he turned and walked away, shaking his head.
Even if it’s on vibrate, people seem annoyed that Real Estate agents dare to work. Maybe it’s the misconception that we’re a greedy bunch who care only about money. Whatever the reason, people don’t seem to get that the Real Estate business is a 24-7 one.
The constant advice to “Just turn it off” and “take one little evening off” while it sounds sane and good… doesn’t work for several of reasons. The laws that dictate how quickly we must reply to clients, sign offers and submit paperwork are just one reason. And it’s a good one. We don’t want to lose our license just to have a night off.
But, if that’s not enough of a reason for you, here’s another one.
Let’s say you called a Real Estate agent on a Friday at 6:00pm to view a house on Sunday.
How would you respond if they didn’t reply until Saturday at 4:00? Really. Think about it. Would you have waited until then, or would you have called someone else so you could at least have a chance at that Sunday showing?
Or what if their answering service informed you that they don’t work on weekends, but they’ll be happy to get back to you on Monday? What would you do?
I know exactly what you would do. You would call someone else. Everyone would. Because making you wait is pathetic service, and unacceptable in this industry.
So, this week if you see an agent on their phone, please don’t choose to see a money hungry beast. Don’t see disrespect. Choose to see someone who cares about obeying the laws that govern their industry. See someone who is willing to be available to their clients as much as humanly possible, so they can deliver stellar customer service. See the level of commitment to their job and clients. Most of the time, that’s what it’s about. The ones who don’t care – those are the ones with the answering service who get back to you in a day or two.
I’m so glad we had this chat. Thanks for listening.
…I’m going to go and return some calls now.
Sometimes people ask me why I have a white picket fence on my Real Estate signs.
I wish I could tell a big romantic story, or reveal some compelling moment when I suddenly knew this was the sign for me.
It’s much simpler than all that. I’m selling the dream. I help people find that perfect-for-them home, the dream lifestyle they hope goes with it. That’s what I’m doing this for.
White picket fences have long represented an ideal lifestyle. The boy, girl, dog, tree with a tire swing, and the white picket fence. To put it on my sign sends the not-so-secret message that I want to help clients find that dream property.
I’ve had all kinds of clients with all kinds of lifestyle dreams too.
Some wanted a love nest in which to grow old together.
Others wanted a backwoods cabin with a recycled bus bar.
Another wanted to leave his crowded country to plow a patch of prairie.
I love all their dreams, and adore helping them hunt for that perfect fit.
I think for myself the ideal lifestyle would be close to what I’m doing now, just less busy. I love dashing into the frey every day and meeting lots of new people – that energizes me. But I also love to retreat to my flower garden, chill on the deck, and enjoy my cabin in the country.
How about you? If you could live anywhere – any country, any property, and have any lifestyle, what would you choose?
I recently had the pleasure of showing a house to a wonderfully happy couple. As we toured the house, she was clearly imagining herself already living there. He, on the other hand, was not quite ready to picture himself in this house.
I’ve got to pause here to tell you how beautiful this couple was. And I mean more than how they looked. I’m talking about the way their hands secretly brushed against each other as they sauntered down the hall. I love the way their mouths hinted a smirk when their eyes met. They had been married for years, and were madly in love. I adore that.
Okay, back to our tour of the house. We finally wandered our way to the master suite which featured a gorgeous ensuite. While she was inspecting the jet tub, he stood in the middle of the bedroom checking out the baseboards. As soon as he turned his eyes toward the ensuite – where his wife was – his mouth dropped open. All he could say was, “whoa”. She must have struck quite a pose. I guess he was suddenly able to imagine himself in the house, because they made an offer that day.
I love how comfortable with themselves and each other they were. I don’t know what exactly happened there, but I’m glad they were able to find the perfect house for them. One they could see themselves in for years to come.
Enjoy the tub you two!
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.
Yes, I am from STEINBACH! I know the people, the churches, the shops, the streets, the schools, and the Steinbach Real Estate market!
Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate