“The only way to know how customers see your business is to look at it through their eyes.” Daniel Scoggin
Consider this question: how well do you know your customers? I mean, really know them?
Take your time, because it’s the single most important question you’ll ever consider as a Realtor. Why? Because the customer is the centerpiece of your professional life.
Sure, plenty of agents talk a good game about knowing their customers. But if they all really knew their customers, you’d never see a Realtor struggle; there’s a disconnect somewhere. Some Realtors don’t know their customers as well as they think they know them.
Part of the problem is that many agents spend so much time filling their heads with stuff about themselves, their business, their services and their programs that when they finally get in front of a customer, their mouths break open like a dam, spilling out a flood of data that drowns out the customer. That’s bad, because what that customer has to say is at minimum 10 times more important than what agents typically have to say.
I work with a successful agent named Sue Adler, and I like her for many reasons, but one that really stands out is that she’s obsessed with understanding real estate consumers. In fact, she’s so obsessed she’s created seminars that feature real-life consumers who have bought and sold homes. She puts them on a stage, literally, and lets them share their stories, their thoughts and their opinions. And every word that comes out of their mouths is solid gold.
Because their insights are so valuable, I wanted to share some of their words here to help you better know what’s on their minds, and in turn, strengthen your business and perhaps make it more customer-centric:
1. “I wanted an agent, someone I could talk with. I wanted a marriage, not something casual.”
Lesson: Take time to build a relationship with your customers. Be accessible, and whatever you do, listen to them.
2. “I’m more interested in an agent who can build a brand for me, not the brand they bring to me.”
Lesson: Be customer-centric, not you-centric.
3. “Of course my house is going to be on the Web and all the search engines. That’s like a hotel advertising that it has clean rooms.”
Lesson: Don’t act like your basic services, such as putting listings on the Web, are something special. Consumers aren’t stupid.
4. “If I ever get the impression you’re not on my side, this relationship will be over.”
Lesson: Understand and set customer expectations, serve them with every fiber of your being and be up front and honest at every turn.
5. “I think it would be nice to be able to do as much as possible online, like online banking.”
Lesson: Use technology to make things as easy as possible for your customers.
6. “When I’m looking for an agent, I think testimonials are important, especially if I could see actual customers on a video.”
Lesson: Get and use testimonials. Duh!
7. “The buying process is frustrating, especially with lenders.”
Lesson: Listen to your customers’ worries, concerns and frustrations and then show them how you can alleviate those frustrations.
8. “I’m really just looking for someone to lead me in the right direction.”
Lesson: Be a resource, an educator and an ally, not a salesperson.
Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (CorcoranCoaching.com, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent’s existing practice.