By Susan Harrison, Senior Vice President, EXIT Realty Corp. International

In my quest for a new desk for my home office I made a trip to a specialty store 30 minutes from my home because its website displayed a promising selection. The desks were located all over the warehouse-style store and as I stood wondering which direction to turn, a clerk approached and asked if he could help me with something. I replied, “I’m looking for a desk for my home office.” Crickets. He didn’t say one word; he simply carried on arranging furniture. I turned and walked out.

There I was, a willing buyer with a fist full of cash and he blew it. In an attempt to salvage the trip, I consulted Google for similar stores in the area, and I headed around the corner. And there I met Glenn. He smiled and approached shortly after my arrival and asked how he could help. Somewhat jaded by my previous experience, I told him I was looking for a desk for my home office, but I simply wanted to browse. He took a moment to explain how the furniture was arranged on the showroom floor, told me his name and invited me to call on him if I had questions. He then retreated a discrete distance away. So far so good.

After browsing for a few minutes, I located a desk I liked and summoned him to ask if there was a matching filing cabinet. That’s when Glenn turned our encounter into an experience.  He was thoroughly knowledgeable about the desk and its manufacturer. He showed me all the options I could order in style, finish and matching pieces. He was engaging and seemed to be genuinely interested in where I would use the desk in my home, and I shared photos of the space on my iPad. He knew the company’s delivery options and limitations.  He moved the desk so I could comfortably sit behind it. He photocopied a page from the manufacturer’s spec book and noted their URL so I could check out their reviews. Although I ultimately didn’t choose that desk, I kept his business card and will happily recommend him and his company.

Which experience are you providing to your prospects and clients? When you receive an online lead, do you respond cheerfully and promptly or with crickets? Are you thoroughly knowledgeable about your market at a 30,000’ level, 2,000’ level and street level? Do you take the time to ask effective questions and get to know your clients and their needs?

I occasionally have the opportunity to help real estate agents write their personal bios and identify their unique value proposition. Telling prospects that you will work hard, provide good service and will guide them through the real estate transaction is like an ice cream company promising that their product will be cold. So what? It’s expected.

The foundation of building an exceptional customer experience lies in:

  1. Your expert market knowledge.
  2. Getting to know your prospects and clients to truly understand the why behind their wanting to buy or sell real estate and doing everything in your power to support it.
  3. Adapting your own personality type in favor of theirs. If you’re a big-picture person and they are detail-oriented, become detail-oriented in your dealings with them. It’s not about you, it’s about them.

Finally, creating an exceptional experience is all about how you make your client or prospect feel. At the first store, I felt like my business didn’t matter. I left the store feeling irritated. At the second, I believed that Glenn knew his stuff and would do everything in his power to ensure a successful transaction. I felt like my business was valued and I left the store feeling great. And therein lies the difference.


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