Making Your Service “Real”

The Challenge

So, let’s say you want to buy a new car. What’s your first step? Maybe a little online shopping, looking at reviews, seeing different features between the different models, and other research. Maybe you’ve looked at financing options and even talked to your bank. Maybe you even reach out to some friends to see if they know a reputable dealer or dealership. Now, it’s time for the test drive.

Sound familiar?

That’s essentially the same process for buying just about anything these days, especially houses. The details may change a little, but the process is relatively static. Right up until the test drive, that is.

Whether it’s a car or a new phone or a t-bone steak, you can physically experience the item before making a purchase decision. Don’t like the look or feel of something? Move on.

What about a Realtor? I can’t directly speak from experience, but I am guessing that most agents would prefer you not pick them up, shake them or swipe them, or try to judge their “marbling”. So, the question, the challenge is, how do you make your service tangible?

How can you give your potential clients a test drive?

For your clients, this can be a frustrating piece of their decision-making process. They want clarity. They want to know what they are getting. Instead, they get a referral from a friend and think that if it’s good enough for their friend, it must be good enough for them.

For you, the feeling can be equally frustrating. You can practice scripts and come up with a response to what you offer, but can you prove it? Maybe you can show some reviews or testimonials. Maybe you have a listing presentation that is likely mostly bullshit that talks about things they don’t care about.

The client is, according to NAR research, looking for a guide and for someone who is going to make sure they don’t make a financial mistake. Those are the two big things. Prove to me you can do that. Like actual proof, not just marketing verbiage.

The Solution

You need a system that turns your service from a promise to a product. You need something that will show your potential client exactly what you do. So, let’s pull the thread on that.

The 5 Musts of Your System

  1. It Must Have a Name – In our brokerage, we call it The CB&A Way. You can call it what you want; Susie’s Super Selling System or Bobby’s Buyer Bonanza. You get it. Take ownership of it and make it something that differentiates you from the rest of the crowd.
  2. It Must Have a Deliverable – If you are going to make your service tangible, you need something tangible to give them that spells out your service. This is not a marketing plan. This is a step-by-step description of what you will do for them from start to finish.
  3. It Must Set Expectations – The magic of the deliverable is the ability to set expectations early that can be reinforced throughout the process of the buy or sale. If you can’t set yourself up for success, while showing your ability to guide the client through the process, the system is not going to bear the fruit you want.
  4. It Should Include Reviews or Testimonials – This is really simple. When was the last time you bought something online and didn’t read the reviews? Social proof is extremely important.
  5. It Should Extend Beyond Closing – Despite the number of agents who brag on their business being referral-driven, the industry statistics prove that we are pretty much shit at actually sticking with our clients post-closing. Be different. Be the exception. Be exceptional.

But, wait, there’s more! If I just gave you the basics, that wouldn’t be fun. So, let’s look at a few other ideas to enhance your system

The 5 Shoulds of Your System

  1. It Should Communicate Your Value – What are you doing at each stage to earn your commission? We seriously do a bad job of talking about the boring things that we do. The boring is where we prove our expertise. Tell them.
  2. It Should Minimize Bad Surprises – You know what nobody likes? A crappy lender forgetting to read the appraisal notes until 5 days before closing and blowing up a deal with their incompetence. That’s just an example that may or may not have happened to me recently. That is a more easy pill to swallow if you have set expectations for things that can go wrong, can communicate your value, and have a plan of action. Now you are a problem-solver instead of problem-causer.
  3. It Should REALLY Emphasize Communication – Lots to unpack here. First of all, your client wants to hear your voice (even the young ones) during a transaction. You should be talking at least once a week. As you reach the major milestones of the transaction, you should communicate with your client, tying it back to the tangible item and your first meeting, and reinforcing the previously set expectations. Also, don’t be afraid to mix it up. Shoot some video. Create an graphic. Not everything has to be an email.
  4. It Should Drive Referrals – First of all, if you do a great job executing your system, you should have created a relationship with the client that would make it easy for them to refer you. Second, your next transaction is in this one so act like it. Finally, everything you do should drive referrals. Seriously, everything.
  5. It Should Seek Feedback – I mentioned reviews above. Don’t get me wrong, those are super important. What I am looking for here is real feedback on your system. Set the expectation that you need them to be completely honest with you because you are relying on them to help you build a better business for the people they are going to refer to you. Seriously, use that line. Then give them something where they can freely offer feedback and return it to you. If you aren’t familiar with Scott Stratten’s “Start, Stop, Continue” survey, I recommend it. No need to reinvent the wheel.

The Return

Having a system like this helps you accomplish a lot. However, before I get into the return on this investment, I have to be really clear on one thing.

If you say you are going to do all of this shit, you actually have to do it!

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the magic of this system.

First of all, it is going to make you easier to sell. Instead of this promise of service, the potential client now has a concrete product to use to decide who will be their next agent. In doing so, it will differentiate you from your competition, which makes it even easier to sell you. It will establish an implied expertise, no matter how long you have been an agent. This helps new agents build credibility, but also cements things for experienced agents. It will also provide you with tons of content for marketing your system and yourself. All of this results in you building more business, easier. Moreover, it’s a more profitable business because it is referral-driven.

Finally, and more importantly, it gives your clients the feeling that they are looking for. Here is an agent who will serve as my guide. Here is an agent who will make sure I don’t mess up and lose money. Here is an agent I feel like I can trust.

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