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Exceeding Expectations

by Chicago Agent

By Dirk Zeller

As a real estate agent, your success depends on the quality and durability of the relationships you build with your clients. The one and only way to build solid, enduring relationships is to deliver excellent, unrivaled service. To be an outstanding agent, you need to lavish your clients with service that exceeds their expectations from the beginning and throughout a long business relationship.

The challenge is that not all clients expect or want the same kind of service. What constitutes excellent service to one client might seem inadequate or like overkill to another.

It’s hard to imagine, but an agent could sell a client’s home in less than a week, at full price, and still have a dissatisfied customer. This could be due to some action or oversight during the negotiation, inspection or closing process that simply didn’t match with the client’s service expectations.

To avoid service mismatches, learn each person’s service expectations by doing something that few agents take time to do: Ask, and then put your findings to work by following these steps:

• Learn each person’s service expectations
Before you enter a new prospect presentation, make it a rule to learn everything you can about what your prospects are looking for in an agent and how they define excellent service

• Customize and personalize your service delivery
In your initial presentation and in subsequent contacts, whether you’re working to make the sale, service the client, build an after-the-sale relationship, or request a referral, refer to your initial research and highlight the service aspects that each client finds important. Weave in the words you heard them use to define great service. Highlight the communication points they described as essential service attributes. Let them know that you understand their needs and are focused on exceeding their expectations

• Never get complacent
Don’t assume that, if your service falls a bit short, your best clients will simply turn a blind eye. And, by all means, don’t think that if your clients want more or better service they will say something to you. They won’t, because they don’t want the confrontation. They’d rather just go away quietly and never come back.

I’ve met agents who are successful in spite of their “my way or the highway” approach to service delivery. Rather than focusing on customized service and long-term relationships, these agents prefer to serve a stream of here-today-gone-tomorrow clients they acquire through relentless prospecting and high-volume lead development. These agents have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude about service. They practice what I call a fast-food hamburger joint philosophy: “We sell hamburgers and fries, and if you don’t like hamburgers and fries, pick another restaurant.” The difference, of course, is that the number of people who want hamburgers and fries is huge, and, if the fare is good, most customers automatically come back for more. The same is hardly true when it comes to homebuyers and sellers.

As an agent, your prospect universe is limited, and your customers aren’t apt to become repeat customers unless they are treated with the kind of unparalleled, consistent and customized service that turns them into clients for life.

Dirk Zeller is an agent, investor and president and CEO of Real Estate Champions. For more information, visit Realestatechampions.com.

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