Real Estate is ultimately a customer service profession.
Customer service has many descriptions (no, there is not one single definition, and no, “the customer is always right” is not the definition). Like a weird Supreme Court decision, “you know it when you see it.”
- Customer Service is repeatable.
- Customer Service is Durable (there’s that word again).
- Customer Service is meant to deepen a connection and increase loyalty. This is very different from “brand-awareness”.
- Customer Service succeeds when it makes the recipient feel 1.) heard 2.) understood 3.) worth attending to 4.) worth keeping 5.) kinda remarkable (or better).
What does this have to do with real estate not being fair?
I got two pieces of snail mail today. Two. That’s about as many pieces as I’ve received all year (amazing how big companies like ERA Shields get spammed with print mail, and little boutiques like Selley Group get nothing generalized. More on that later). Both were from peers in the real estate industry.
One was a recruitment letter. It was on cheap paper. It didn’t have the company indicated on the return address. The business card was ugly. All it spoke about was the stats of the real estate company. It addressed me as “Dear Benjamin” (no one calls me “Benjamin” unless they don’t know me. I use “Benjamin Day” on my business cards because Ben Day Consulting in Boston dominates SEO and the Re/Max Properties Front Desk always – ALWAYS – thinks Ben Gay is setting up a showing when I leave off my “jamin”) so instantly I knew this was circular-file material. Except I kept reading. Not only was it not concerned at all with me, it was obsessed with them. It was NOT oriented around any of the rules of how customer service succeeds, not one. The only thing “remarkable” was that it made me feel like my special purpose in life was to have a pulse and a NRDS (our REALTOR ID #) to occupy one of their cubes. As long as I had a pulse and a NRDS, that’s all they needed. Who cares what I need?
Worse, I knew Hannah received one last week. So if I got mine this week, I knew I was a tier 2 candidate. I mean, who wouldn’t want Hannah Parsons over Benjamin Day (I’m totally serious, the former is much easier to broker!)? But I used to recruit agents, I did this stuff (I have the scrapbooking paper to prove it!), and when one company goes out on patrol for agents, EVERYONE you could want knows about it within a day. So you better hit all the good ones at once. While this letter was far from flattering, I already knew they had a first wave of “choice” agents that they thought were most recruitable, and I was not in that group. Save the best for later? No. It does not work that way.
The second piece of mail I received today was a handwritten thank you note. From Lee Bolin. Lee owns Saddletree and Symphony Homes. He has for 15 years. My clients said of Lee “I want him to be my Daddy, I love that guy.”
Lee is like a friendlier version of Jack Palance’s Curly.
Lee wrote me a handwritten note. And mailed it to me. The dude has no email address. But he has the power of the pen.
Now you tell me: when one of these companies is involved in future real estate transactions, which one has my attention? Which one has the greater opportunity for success? Which one is more durable? You tell me. I think the answer is pretty obvious.