September 20, 2016 by Jeff Lowen
Everyone wants to be in real estate at some point. At least it seems that way sometimes. The real estate industry is chocked full of possibilities. Being your own boss, making your own hours and working when you want to, the flexibility of calling your own shots, and the one that hooks many people… Unlimited income. How’s that for the perfect industry?
So why don’t we have college grads flooding the testing facilities at the real estate license testing centers? Good question. In another rant, I’ll share my thoughts on why we don’t teach our kids in school to be entrepreneurs. For now, I want to focus on being the best business professional you can be.
Next time you’re talking with someone as the conversation turns to real estate and they pop off and say, “I’m an agent…” Ask them, “Why should I hire you?” While you’re at it, ask them how many agents are in their office and whether they’re in the top 20%.
If you’re reading this and you are an agent, do you know the answer to these questions so if I called you at 3 a.m. you’d answer your phone with the answers? Yeah, I know that’s a bit harsh, but can we all agree that the consumer deserves the best?
I read Lead The Field, by Earl Nightingale way back in my young whippersnapper days. I’ll never forget the two rules of running a successful business:
- The customer (or client) is always right.
- If you think the customer isn’t always right, read rule #1 again!
Pretty simple if you ask me.
For example, I hired a contractor recently to do some work on the homestead and there were a few discrepancies at the end of the job. Just a few simple expectations that I thought were in the normal course of the job, but the contractor wasn’t prepared to include it for the cost. It wasn’t a big deal, I would have gladly paid more to have it done. Yet, when I confronted her (the interior designer), she immediately got defensive and said it wasn’t her problem. I asked the same of her electrician and the response was no different.
For example, I hired a contractor recently to do some work on the homestead and there were a few discrepancies at the end of the job. Just a few simple expectations that I thought were in the normal course of the job, but the contractor wasn’t prepared to include it for the cost. It was really not a big deal, I would have gladly paid more to have it done, yet when I confronted her (the interior designer), she immediately got defensive and said it wasn’t her problem. I asked the same of her electrician and the response was no different.
After the dust settled, everybody made nice, yet I was a little surprised with their responses. I understand expectations can be hard to manage, and I see clearly where a simple, “No problem, we can take care of that for you. It wasn’t in the bid/estimate/job, and I’ll have to charge you a small fee, but consider it done,” instead of the apparent attack on their dignity it was made out to be that caused tempers to flare.
Is customer service a lost art? I’ve actually read articles where so-called gurus, tell us that the customer isn’t always right. Who’s paying this guy’s salary??
What do you do when you or your business is questioned? Do you jump on the, “How dare you…” train? Or do you agree with the customer or client and suggest a solution? I teach every entrepreneur I coach to gravitate to the latter.
In fact, they could all recite my exact words. “The number one rule of hostage negotiation is to always agree.”
Of course, we’re not negotiating for hostages, but to keep things light and focused on the positive, the solution, and the preservation of the relationship, ALWAYS AGREE. Even if you don’t like what you’re hearing. That’s just good business. Every client or customer wants to feel appreciated and heard. You are the professional, so be that. Make it happen. When they come at you with a wild, outlandish request or concern, realize they are looking at things from their own perspective. Right, wrong or indifferent, it’s theirs and they own it. Shooting it down will bring calamity to whatever you’ve built in the relationship to date. A potential seller tells you,
A potential seller tells you, “I think you should sell my house for 1% and give me a rebate so I can build a deck on my new home…” Should be responded with, “I completely understand how you feel this may help your situation, let me explain what we can do to make it all work for you.” Or something similar. Trouble is when you pop off and meet a demand like this with fire in your eyes, taking it personal and screeching, “how dare you, steal money from my family’s mouth, and…” that the entire situation snowballs out of control.
As a business owner, whether in real estate or any industry, remember to address the problems with an open mind and an open heart. Two people can look at the same thing and see two completely different things. You’re the professional. Your job is to be one, acting like it along the way.
The next time your ears are met with a crazy request, a complaint or suggestion, even if it’s off the wall; always agree.
I once had a client tell me that they were sick and tired of the whole home selling business and they were going to light their house on fire and make it all go away!
I gave him a match. No, no, kidding of course! I did agree with him. “I completely see how you could feel like this,” I said. “Let’s look at how we got here and see if we can make it better; before you torch the place. Fair enough?” I continued. We went on to devise a great solution that addressed his concern, dealt with his emotions and not only preserved the relationship but made it stronger. Oh, and the house is still standing, too.
If you consider yourself a professional, then be one! TweetThis!