Hospitality. You can pretty much incorporate it into any business but you can DEFINITELY always incorporate it into sales. And no, hospitality in the real estate world doesn’t mean bringing out a notepad and taking down orders, but rather taking the time to really listen to your client’s wants and needs, learning about their likes and dislikes and providing them with a service that will ensure that they never want to go to any other real estate agent again (and of course, refer you to everyone they know).
Joe Rand is a believer and user of hospitality in his business. And while you may think of some of his methods as “old school”, as I have always said, old school is the new school and that’s what’s going to set YOU apart. “You can be of service without being subservient,” he told me in this episode. He even recommends a book called Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by restaurateur Danny Meyer as a training guide to how to take care of clients.
Meyer writes about how his restaurant put rules in place about how to take care of people. And Joe teaches people to be good at real estate by setting up rules and protocol. If you follow those rules, you’ll create good experiences.
Your reputation as an agent is based on the experience you provide. But not just real estate agents… anybody in a customer-facing business. From the very first moment a client contacts you, you have a responsibility to control that customer’s experience and make it as positive as it can possibly be. What exactly does that mean? You may hear it over and over (and you’ll hear it again on this segment)– know your stuff; know your inventory. It shouldn’t be a lot to ask that a real estate agent knows about (drum roll)…real estate…in the area they’re selling… And while you think everyone knows it, trust me, they don’t. And if they do, know the inventory that much better and present it in a bigger, better way. As a real estate agent, it’s your job to educate your clients on what’s going on in the market and with so much information out there, you’d really have to make an effort not to know about your industry and market conditions–just remember to always find your information on credible sources like Realtor.org. Showcase this information in whatever way it makes sense to you and is understandable to them. For this reason alone, you will get more business. Do your homework, know your market, and be the expert in your area.
Now, you know me. You know I’m not a fan of scripts and I don’t make that a secret. I’m more about having all the pertinent information at the tip of my fingers so I can provide an informed response and educate my client. But this idea of “rules” of engagement can be effective too. They can help salespeople manage their clients and form relationships without having to reinvent the wheel every time.
But where do agents learn this stuff? And how? Joe and I really got into that… and it’s something I’ve been thinking about for sometime. With the rise of Facebook Groups, we both see a rising trend in agents getting serious transactional advice from these groups, in ways that worry me — who are these people who are giving you advice? What state are they in and what laws are they familiar with? How do you know they’re good resources? Let’s just say, before you go on a spending spree of new things you learned from Facebook, check with your Broker first to ensure compliance/ethics is met!
“Those groups are terrific if the people involved are curating and managing the content,” agreed Joe. “My concern is that you end up with lots of opinions, but you don’t know who that person is.”
Oh, and Joe’s an attorney. He may say it doesn’t matter, but it totally does. But he’s also a teacher, and wants agents to learn and share information. He just wants us all to do it in ways that make the most sense and provide the most value.
Joe is the Chief Creative Officer at Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. He’s also an active blogger, writing for the RandRealty.com “Market Intelligence Blog” as well as his real estate education blog “The World’s Best Real Estate Agent.” He also maintains a personal blog about his experiences moving to the suburbs from the city, the “Move to Suma.”
You should totally read his stuff and check him out on Twitter.
Here’s what you’ll find in this episode:
1:20 How is hospitality training for real estate?
3:25 How can a new agent create a good buyers’ experience?
8:20 How do agents balance their professional image and their social profiles?
12:15 What hard lesson did Joe learn about email?
12:40: How do Facebook Groups help or hurt agents?
15:40: What has changed that agents don’t feel they can talk to their own broker?
18:30: What are three things agents should know when they’re deciding on a brokerage?