In 2007 I started writing this blog using Google’s blogging platform which along with my real estate website I have now switched over to WordPress. Throughout my schooling and later in business, I have always enjoyed writing. Back in 2007, blogging was a relatively new way of online communication and for me, writing a blog seemed like a good way to stay connected with people, to share information/ideas about real estate and other issues that were important to me and I believed to others. When I ran for Collingwood Council in 2014, blogging was a key component of my election campaign.
Over the years I have followed a chap by the name of Seth Godin. Seth is many things, an entrepreneur, a marketer, a speaker and a writer. In addition to his blog, Seth has written several books some of which I have read and I have also attended conferences where he was a speaker plus I subscribe to his blog. Even as I have gotten older, I have maintained a keen desire to learn much of which I do from reading. In my opinion, we are never too old to learn.
The following are 8 points that I picked up from one of Godin’s recent blog posts. After reading them and putting them into context for my own business and life, I felt they were worth sharing. The points he made are in bold print, my comments as to how they impact my business, life and perhaps yours are below each one.
- Trust is worth more than attention.
Everywhere I turn, I see real estate ads, billboards, For Sale signs, bus benches, business cards and more that feature the REALTOR’S® head shot (photo.) In my 20 plus years as a REALTOR® and in my prior careers I never felt my photo was important. Real estate is the only career I know where head shots are on business cards. I believe that Godin hit the nail on the head wherein he says above “trust is more important that attention.” Nowhere is this more important than in real estate. Effective December 1, 2023 the province of Ontario now has new legislation pertaining to real estate: ‘The Trust In Real Estate Services Act.”
- Helping people get to where they seek to go is more effective than hustling people to persuade them to go where you’re going.
Real estate has long earned a bad reputation. Surveys have shown that real estate agents are way down the list when it comes to trustworthiness. Used car sales people are well ahead of us. (I have nothing against used car salespeople.) Some in our profession are more focused on making a quick commission rathe than serving and satisfying their clients regardless of how long it takes We have all seen TV shows where the REALTOR® shows Buyers 3 properties followed by the question: “Which one are you going to pick?”
- Choose your customers, choose your future.
Over the years I have had been in situations where I have met clients for the first time at an Open House or they walked into my office. On occasion I have taken over someone else’s clients because they left the business or they had gotten ill. Not always was this a pleasant situation. In my opinion and experience, there needs to be a “good fit” between both parties no matter what business you are in. As such “choosing your customers or clients” typically works out for the better.
- Tell ten people. If they don’t tell the others, make a better product.
Getting good referrals and or a good testimonial is key in any business and real estate is no exception. Repeat business from prior clients is key to your success. Real estate is just one profession which is over populated. At this point in time there are roughly 96,000 REALTORS® in Ontario. On my “Why Use Rick Crouch” website page I have testimonials from my clients. The testimonials they provide about me ad what they tell their friends, family, business associates and others in invaluable. In this day and age with social media and other technology a bad experience can be shared and reach a global audience in mere minutes. I can think of no better way to promote your products or service than to strive for “Only the best will do.”
- Creating the conditions for the word to spread is the job of the marketer.
You can spend thousands of dollars promoting your products or services in print, via TV, radio or on social media. Why not just offer outstanding services or products and let “the word” of your customers and clients do the marketing work for you.
- Customer service is free.
Good customer service is priceless. Conversely, you can’t put a price or value on a bad customer experience or inferior products. “Either one can and often does haunt you for years.”
- “You’ll pay a lot but get more than you paid for,” is a useful motto.
Like many things in life that involve a payment of money, real estate commission has always been a hot topic. As REALTORS® we only get paid when a property is both sold and the transaction is closed (completed). I have on occasion worked with Buyers for months and longer finding them the right home or other property. For Sellers, getting their home SOLD and closed can and often does take months and in some cases years. Whether you are a customer for a certain product/service or you are the client of a REALTOR®, getting good value for the money spend is imperative. It comes down to a simple question: Are you getting good value for the money spent? “No matter what business you are in, give people more than what they paid for in your products or services.”
- Act like people are watching. They are.
Lastly and this is perhaps the most important. We have all seen people asking on social media and elsewhere recommendations for a restaurant, an auto mechanic, a contractor or other service provider or product. You may not be the person asking or the one replying to the question but you are and perhaps unknowingly so “watching.” Just like there are an increasing number of cameras being installed round homes, in stores, on our street and elsewhere, people are watching. “What they see is important so make sure what they see is complimentary to your business, products or services.”
I try and follow each of the 8 points above and more as I continue in my quest to learn more about both business and life.