G to the P to the S: Going the “Distance” for your Clients
It is human nature to be busy or lazy, and often, we are both. This is something we have to fight on many levels, but there are times when we can take just a few minutes to prioritize small tasks that will immensely benefit our businesses in the long-run.
Going the extra mile in service
Is it just me, or does it drive you up the wall when an agent writes “GPS” in the direction descriptions on the MLS? Why not just look up the directions, and then copy and paste them into the MLS? Doing this will take less than a minute, and it sends the message that you are making sure that you’re providing every measure of convenience possible to people who are looking at your listings. Without doubt, it’s the time spent refining small details that defines the true professionals who are in this business for the long haul.
I grew up driving a delivery route for my parents’ business. This was pre-GPS. I had road maps and shortcut directions to ensure I made my stops. Fundamentally, I think the majority of drivers don’t exactly know where they are going without use of their GPS anymore. Reading a map has almost become a lost art.
Even though I still value the ability to navigate with a paper map, I’m an avid user of Wayze and Google Maps. I appreciate the simplicity of GPS, and it’s a practical way to be able to get to where I need to go quickly and efficiently. At the same time, I am also old-school in that I know every major road name in our area. That being said, there are also many secondary roads that I know, but just as many that I am not as certain of–especially new subdivision roads. Ultimately, even though I am very familiar with the roads in my area, I still need specific instructions when I am trying to find a particular house.
Who are your customers?
In addition to being able to locate a listing, geography drives the main search criteria for our buyers. Often when I’m browsing the MLS and I come across a listing that I think may be a potential option for a client, I look at the directions first to get an idea of where it is in the county and ball park proximity of the distance it may be from the buyer’s job(s) and other amenities requested.
I can tell what I need to know from the directions alone before I go through the effort to draw a polygon or enter multiple address into a GPS or map search. While it may seem a little “old school” to want the actual typed out version of the directions, I’m only 37, which is much younger than the average age of colleagues in our profession. I guarantee, if someone my age prefers to read the directions, there are many others that want to do so as well.
I want to pose the question for all the listing agents out there: who is your target audience for potential customers? For just a minute, let’s move brokerage/client agency and representation aside. The obvious first answer for many is “sellers/buyers.” We have to “list to last,” listings are “buyer bait,” or any other of the dozen cheesy real estate sayings. However, have you ever considered targeting any agents that represent buyers as your customer as well?
Let that sink in for a moment. The majority of our transactions, for most of us, involve a co/operating broker. We all have had transactions that were great and some not so great when co/brokering a deal. If we look at the careers of many agents that primarily work in the resale residential market, over time, they close deals more often with the same co/op agents than they do with the same buyer/seller clients.
Serve your clients as a community expert
Our exclusive Right to Sell or Listing Agreements are our first form and the start of co/operation. It typically defines the terms with the seller and how co/op agents are to be compensated, etc. As REALTORS® and real estate professionals, we have a fiduciary responsibility to our clients, but we also need to consider how we interact with and provide support to other agents in the business. You want to portray the general sense that you have every aspect of your business in order, and part of that is made evident when you ensure that your MLS descriptions go the extra mile to provide as much information as possible.
Ultimately, think about this way: when a prospective client or customer asks for guidance in selecting a service provider, do you tell your client to just Google it? What is that really saying to the client? It’s borderline insulting or implying that you don’t have the time. Even if you don’t know anyone to recommend, take it upon yourself to do the quick Google search and share results. The recommendation does not have to be endorsement.
Disclose to your client that you did a quick search on Google and that you found a certain amount of results that may be able to meet their needs. You can be sure that say that you have heard of these companies, but encourage them to actually make a call to the locations and to look at the reviews. Yes, it takes a few extra minutes, but we also have to remember we are in the customer service business, too.
Part of being a community expert requires genuinely understanding the locations and major road names in your area, and also the locations of major businesses or amenities in the area. Or, you should at least have a general idea where they’re located. In my opinion, it’s a handy skill to be able to offer directions on how to get somewhere locally without having to consult favorite directions app, and providing that information to your clients and other REALTORS® goes to show that you are willing and able to go the extra “mile” to serve your business.
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