Knowing Your Customer
Author: Jarrod Stotemeister
Today we are going to discuss a topic that is not commonly discussed in the real estate world but is one of the most vital aspects of your business. Whether your business is selling real estate, cupcakes or cutting hair, we all have one thing in common: the customer and the care given to them. My question for you is; “Who is YOUR customer, or who IS a customer?”
This a good question. I recently picked up a book called, Never Split the Difference. It’s about an FBI lead negotiator who talks through all the different psychology of negotiating and how the mind works. In this book, he referenced another book called, How to Become a Rainmaker; the rules for getting and keeping customers and clients. Of course, I’m dealing with clients daily and wanted to see if I could learn some things. He had a great line in the book and some of his thoughts I will be sharing today.
What is Your Customer’s Experience with You?
I’d like to reference a line from this book; “The paramount job of every single employee in an organization is to directly or indirectly get and keep customers. This is true, without exception. The job of every employee is to help ring the cash register. The job of every employee is to keep the customers coming and to keep the customers coming back.”
Let me ask you; Do people feel better after talking with you? If you don’t know the answer, ask people. Ask for feedback from your last conversation on the phone or your last meeting. Within the book, Never Split the Difference, he talks about the three types of people; the analyst, the accommodator and the assertive. The accommodator is the one who is going to get along with everyone; the one who talks to everyone. This comes more naturally for some.
For those who have a hard time in this area, it must be something in which you are constantly improving. After all, we are talking about customer service here. How a customer feels after an encounter with you is vitally important to your potential business with them. Your goal should always be what is best for the customer. When you have this mentality, you are working together. There’s a team concept there.
Why Do Business with You?
What do you have to offer? Why should a potential customer do business with you? Why should they have a relationship with you and your business? What is your caliber of influence and your nature of character within and without your sphere of influence? Your acts of humble kindness to others speak louder than any words. Ask yourself; if I were the customer, how would this product benefit me? What value am I bringing?
When you think of the customer’s needs and mentally apply the “golden rule” then you have the correct mentality towards your customer and given them their “why” of doing business with you.
What is your “why”? Within your company have your employees make a list of what values they bring to the company, the team, and the customer? Do you believe in the product you are selling? If you don’t believe in whatever it is you are selling you will not get customers to buy. If you don’t believe in your product why would anyone else? To be successful and get customer’s you must believe in what you are selling. Again, the customer should do business with you because you make them feel important; you’ve shown them you are on their side and become a problem solver and/or a need filler.
What Would I Want if I Were the Customer?
Good customers are demanding. They know their product; they’re calling with a purpose. Remember, they have a problem/need so they are calling you to correct the problem and/or fill the need. They are calling you because they want help. Therefore, always put yourself in the shoes of your customer and ask yourself, “What would I want? First, I would want to talk to someone. I want that face-to-face interaction. I want to speak with a live person, not an automated machine.
Secondly, I want someone that will listen. I would want someone to focus on my exact need (s). As you are listening, reiterate what they have just expressed to you. This will confirm to the customer that you are, in fact, focused on them and their problem/need. This is how you build trust in a customer relationship.
Thirdly, be knowledgeable of the topic; know what you are talking about. Be an expert in your field. Most importantly, don’t pretend you know an answer when you don’t. This creates distrust down the road. If you don’t know the answer to something, be honest with the customer and assure them you know someone who does know the answer and you will find it for them. This expresses how important the customer is in the fact that you are willing to find the answer to best help them and their need. This ultimately builds trust between you and the customer. In some cases, you literally cannot help the customer. The service they need you cannot or do not provide now. Be honest, and do your best to provide a reference/contact of another person/company that can help with their unique problem/need.
Next, be kind. I know, so simple, but so vital to a successful customer service relationship. Kindness diffuses frustration. It builds trust. So, make it a practice to practice kindness.
What Value Do You Bring the Customer?
The customer doesn’t care about you, per say. Let me explain; a customer doesn’t walk into a store because they want to strike up a conversation with an employee and learn about their life. They walk into a store because they have something they need and want your services to help them get it. However, a customer does want is an employee that brings value to their work and displays that value by treating them with importance.
The boss, the company you work for and represent, is paying you a certain amount of money and expects your work to reflect it. The value you add to your work exceeds what is expected of you. Does your work reflect only what is expected or does your value far exceed what is expected of you? Here is an example. As an investor, what are we selling? You may think, “I’m selling houses. I’m in real estate, I sell houses; I buy houses or rehab houses. True, but when you look at it deeper, you aren’t selling houses at all. You are selling options to people who are looking for a place to invest their money.
This mind set forces you to think about the person. Now it is no longer about selling houses, but about bringing value to the customer.
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