Acquiring the Keys

Understanding the importance of customer creation over customer service

understand this caveat: You have to be excellent at customer development and customer service. However, in terms of priority, you have to be exemplary at client creation. Following are a few reasons:

You can’t serve customers if you don’t create customers in the first place. And because customer service xcellence results from customer service experience, customer development is a necessary prerequisite to outstanding customer service.

Most consumers have been provided such poor service that their expectations are remarkably low. When service providers do what they said they’d do in the time frame that they agreed to do it, consumers are generally content with the service they receive. Certainly you want to develop the kind of expertise that delivers exemplary, outstanding service, but if you commit, from the get-go, to do what you said you’d do when you said you’d do it, your delivery will be better than most.

Between creating customers and delivering service, customer creation is the more complex task. Customer creation requires sales skills and ongoing, consistent, and persistent prospecting for clients. To develop customers, you have to gain the level of skill and comfort necessary to pick up the phone and call people you know (or even people you don’t know) to ask them for the opportunity to do business with them or to refer you to others who may be in the market for your service

If you attract the right kinds of customers into your business, your clients will match well with your expertise and abilities, and service will become an easier and more natural offering. If you attract the right type of customers, you’ll also reap greater quantity and quality of referrals.

The only alternative to devoting your time and energy to customer development is to guide people to your Web site, office, or phone line through costly advertising and promotional programs. This approach requires a lot of money and often generates low-quality and reduced-profit leads and a long sales cycle. Because this is hardly an effective formula to get a newer agent up and running in a hurry, I don’t recommend it.

Developing sales ability to win customers

The single most important skill for a real estate agent is sales ability, and sales ability is how you win customers. Your sales ability is based on how effective you are in generating prospects, following up on those prospects to secure appointments, qualifying those appointments, conducting the appointments to secure an exclusive agency contract, and then providing service to that recently created client. People also base your ability on how
quickly you can accomplish all this.

Because you’re holding this book, I’m willing to bet that you’ve either just come out of training to receive your real estate license or you’re in the early days of your career. In either case, decide right now to master the skills of selling in order to fuel your success.

It’s hard to believe that probably 95 percent of agents lack top-level sales skills. In my career in training and coaching, I’ve met tens of thousands of agents. Very few, even at the top echelon of earnings, have had any formalized sales training. Whenever I speak to agents, I always ask the audience how many have taken any formalized sales training, and I usually see only a few hands out of the hundreds in the room.

The other reason I know sales skills are lacking is because I coach some of the best and highest-earning agents in the world, and even they believe their sales skills can use improvement. Many agents tape their prospecting sessions or listing presentations, but I have yet to meet one who feels that they’ve nailed their sales skills. The difference between these high-earning agents and other agents is that the high-earning agents realize that sales
skills are vital to success and they continuously seek excellence in this area.

To follow the high-earning agent’s example, make it your priority to develop and constantly improve your sales skills for the following reasons:

To secure appointments. Chapter 5 provides practically everything you need to know about winning leads and appointments through prospecting and follow-up activities.

To persuade expired and for-sale-by-owner listings to move their properties to your business. Chapter 7 is full of secrets and tips to follow as you pursue this lucrative and largely untouched field.

To make persuasive presentations that result in positive buying decisions. Chapter 9 helps you with every step from prequalifying prospects to planning your presentation. It’s packed with tips for perfecting your skills, addressing and overcoming objections, and ending with a logical and successful close.