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The Meaning of “Service” in Real Estate

January 21, 2010
by Scott Levitt ·  

Scott’s Thoughts: What is Service?
Service is something you do, not talk about…
“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” –Henry Ford

What is service? The phrase “customer service” (or “client service”) has been tossed around so much, people barely even hear it. Customers will tell you: “Service? That’s not something to brag about, that’s the price of admission! I expect service.”

We all know, though, that exceptional service is surprisingly rare. More people talk about service than provide it. The truth is, service is something you do, not talk about. When you provide remarkable service, people talk about it FOR you.

Three of the key tenets of service in real estate are:

Speedy Response:
Being first goes a long way to making an impression in real estate. When leads come to you through email, Twitter, Facebook, or voice mail, how fast are you with your response? If you receive a message on Saturday morning, do you wait until Monday to follow-up, or do you fire off a quick response (or make a call) Saturday afternoon? Calling on a Monday is run-of-the mill. Calling on a Saturday afternoon is good. But calling twenty minutes after the message on Saturday morning? That’s exceptional. Get that human interaction started as soon as possible.

Education Through Information:
Sometimes clients want information, and sometimes they’re asking for information because they’re trying to figure out the answer to a question they haven’t asked you yet. Knowing the difference is important. Always provide the information a client requests, but follow-up with a question of your own to the client: Is there a question I can help you answer with regards to [THE INFORMATION THEY REQUESTED]? Occasionally you have to help clients verbalize the question that’s on their mind. When you can helpfully educate (versus hard sell) a client, you’re building value in the relationship.

Enthusiasm & Empathy:
Here’s the rule: Want it as bad as your client wants it, and suffer when your client suffers. It’s inevitable that over time you might forget the high emotional stakes in a real estate transaction, but if you do, your client will feel it. In no way should you allow emotional highs and lows on your client’s behalf cloud your professional judgement, but if you treat your client’s transaction like a second trip to the store for toilet paper, you’re falling down on service.

Being human means you’ll drop the ball on these from time to time, but every day you should strive to keep your eye on these tenets of service. If you do, soon enough you’ll experience Mr. Ford’s “embarrassingly large profits” for yourself.

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