28 Oct

The 10 Commandments of Customer Service

My guest blogger this week is Realtor® and customer service expert,  Vera Gleason.  Over the years I’ve listened to Vera talk about real estate with a passion – but the piece that I hear over and over from her is her passion for excellent customer service. She knows that without great customer service you just won’t have a success business – no matter which industry you’re in.

Is customer service really a mystery?

customer serviceIt happened again this week.  A seller reached out to me and asked if I can help.  “Of course!” I said, “What can I do?”  Well the story is, she listed her home with another agent “What???”!!  And once the sign went in the ground, she never heard from the agent.  She signed the documents, and never received a copy, big red flag!!   She made phone calls with questions, and never got a call back.  She finally got an offer, but didn’t know if it was good or how to counter.   The agent didn’t discuss it with her or negotiate.

This is not the first time I’ve been contacted by a buyer or seller of real estate who is looking for better service.   One time a buyer said he was surprised I stayed with him.  He said he thought I would abandon his search like the other agents did.  Sigh!!  Really?  Is being a professional that difficult?

Why is customer service lacking with so many professionals?

Of course we expect good service in any industry.  But since I am a Realtor®, it is particularly disturbing to find so many unprofessional people.

Search for a definition of customer service, and you will find: integrity, communication, follow-through, honesty, reliability, helpful, good listener, prompt response, meet or exceed expectations, admit when wrong, correct mistakes, and much more.

Specifically, what should a customer expect from a Realtor® or any professional for that matter?

These are my 10 commandments of customer service:

  1. Listen carefully. Every person has a story.
  2. Be Honest.  Tell the truth.  Don’t make false promises.  A false promise may get you one deal, but you’ll lose others.
  3. Set expectations. Clearly state what a client can expect, and then follow through.
  4. Return phone calls, texts, and emails. Provide constant updates. Even if there is no news, let the client know.
  5. Encourage clients, don’t push for a decision, but be ready when the client is ready.
  6. Encourage and answer all questions. And answer them no matter how many times they are asked. This instills respect in you as the professional.
  7. Develop a lasting relationship. Stay connected after the transaction.
  8. Go out of your way, be willing to help others. “You can only get what you want if you help enough other people get what they want”  Zig Zigler
  9. Dress and act like a professional. Shows respect to the client.
  10. Be punctual.  All your efforts can be destroyed when you are late for an appointment.

Follow these commandments and customers will flock to you.  All the average customer wants is to be treated like they are important.

Vera Gleason, RealtorVera Gleason, Realtor® DRE # 01412791  Determined to Move You

After teaching special education as a high school teacher for several years, Vera found her new passion in real estate. Throughout the past 12 years, she has provided non-stop, out-of-the-ordinary customer service to both her buyers and sellers. Vera knows that the real estate market has become very challenging, and she will be with your every step of the way. As a Certified Riverside Regent Professional in Real Estate, Vera has in-depth knowledge about City of Riverside programs and resources, local educational and medical institutions, arts and cultural activities/venues, the Shop Riverside program, public utility rates and incentives, prospective and existing economic development projects, and much more.

For valuable information about real estate, home upkeep, health or many other topics, please send email inquiries to vera@veragleason.com

21 Oct

Blogging Tip of the Day: Commenting on a Blog Post

Commenting on Blog Posts…

commenting on blogsBlogs work – but they only work if everyone knows the rules. When you read a blog post – you’re always invited to post a comment of your own. Responding to a blog post is not only good for the blogger – but for YOU as well. When you leave a comment, you’re asked to provide YOUR website address. Once your comment is published – you have not only added your own thoughts on the subject matter,  but you’ve left another digital footprint of your own on the Internet. You’ve increased your visibility…and if the blog post and your comment are related to the industry you are in – you’ve also increased your credibility and expert status.  Now – tell me… don’t you want more visibility online?

When leaving your comments on other blog posts, make sure that your comment is in direct response to the post. Mention specific details about what the author has written, and when possible, mention the author by name. This personalizes your comment and makes the author feel as if you’ve really been paying attention. Stay away from canned comments like, “Great blog post”, or “Thanks for sharing”. Both are okay, however, IF you’ve left a quality comment.

Don’t be afraid to post a comment – bloggers LOVE comments.  And, more often than not – bloggers will respond to your comments…giving you another opportunity to leave more of your digital footprint.

Eydie :)

Do you comment on blog posts? Share with us any success stories that have come out of posting a comment. Scroll down and use the comment box below.

16 Oct

5 Reasons Why You’re Not Seeing the Networking Magic

Just add water…

expanding_towelsHaven’t you read just about 100 articles that offer the 123’s of making your business grow like one of those “magic sponges” in the science aisle of the toy store?  “Just add water, and watch it grow”, the ads read.

We all wish we could just add water and watch the “magic sponge” of our business just “grow”!

After all, we are sure that we have THE most unique product, or service on the market.  Well with this belief, then why don’t we just count a whole new roster of clients as OUR VERY OWN, every time we attend a business mixer, network, or convention?

Well, I’m going to give you 5 quick reasons why we don’t add all those new prospects to our list of CLIENTS:

  1. Do you enter a networking meeting just KNOWING that EVERYONE in that room is your next potential client? Well guess what? Most people in the room are there to SELL their own wonderful product or service.  In other words, they all came to SELL, SELL, SELL, and you came thinking they all wanted to BUY, BUY, BUY , from YOU!
  2. When you collected business cards from the people at the last event, how many of THOSE people are here at the CURRENT meeting? WE all have piles of cards from people we met once at an event and never saw again.  Do we think we were even ON the RADAR of those “ONE MEETING WONDERS”? Some people attend with the same intentions as goats in a new pasture. They are grazing their way through the event, scooping up the “FRESH GRASS”, but have no intention of visiting that FIELD a second time.
  3. If you have a product or service that is somewhat less necessary than sliced bread, chances are that most people in front of you feel that they have NO NEED of your product or service. It takes a while to create a NEED for your product in the mind of your prospect.  Just because they heard your “one minute commercial”, it does not mean that it ever dawned on them that they NEED your product or service!
  4. Look across the room. How many of those people are YOU actively thinking of referring to those who YOU know? If the answer is NONE, then chances are, many in the room have the same level of intention of using YOUR product or service.  It takes time to develop enough of a relationship with new business acquaintances to even “APPEAR ON THEIR RADAR”.
  5. In short, most people don’t do business with you unless they KNOW you. Anything you can do to make that happen, gets you THAT MUCH CLOSER to a working relationship with new prospects.  EXAMPLE: what can you do to be of service to them?    We will discuss that next time.

Do you see yourself in any of the above scenarios? How do you think you could shift your thinking when it comes to networking? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment box below.

Susie Mierzwik, Independent LifeWave Distributor
Contact Susie for information about LifeWave.

Susie Mierzwik, LifeWaveSusie Mierzwik is a retired educator.  She received her MBA from Golden Gate University.  In 2009 she was introduced to the LifeWave company which markets a patch called “acupuncture without the needle.” After using the product to eliminate her chronic pain and allergies, she quickly saw the potential.  In 2009 she won a cruise for two from LifeWave and became a manager.  She now markets these NON- DRUG health patches to people interested in alternative health care.  She is reaching out to the Disabled American Veterans with LifeWave’s assistance program called Military Order of the Purple Heart. Contact Susie for more information about this program.

14 Oct

Designing a Marketing Email That Works

First impressions matter….even in email marketing.

email marketing that works, constant contactAnd when someone opens your marketing email for the first time, what they see is going to determine what they do next.

Find a special download link
at the end of this post.

Chances are you’ll want them to read your email and take a next step. Maybe you want them to visit your website, register for an event, or buy something. This is where a beautiful, professional-looking email designed to drive action is crucial and that’s why Constant Contact made a guide dedicated to helping you make the right impression with every email you send.

Constant Contact takes you through the reasons email subscribers delete emails and how you can encourage people to take those next steps (information provided by Constant Contact).

Because Constant Contact wants to make sure your email marketing is the best it can be, here’s their 6-page e-book called: “Designing a Marketing Email that Works: Tips for designing marketing emails that get opened and help your business grow”DOWNLOAD

Eydie :)

14 Oct

Safari Kay: The Biggest Risk I Took in My Business – Part 2

Part Two of “Sarfari” Kay’s Biggest Risk post takes us to where she needed to make some more serious decisions regarding her business. Kay has shown, though both her posts, that she’s not a woman who gives up easily….matter of fact, she never gave up. THAT’S the sign of a true entrepreneur. Read Part One here.

My driver dilemma…

Safari Kay Trotman, African SafarisAfter several years in business, I began to wonder how I could provide a more exclusive, personal and custom experience for my guests, one that would be more memorable. I sort of knew the answer, but there was much to do to accomplish it and it was a huge risk.

In Africa, your driver-guide is the ‘make or break’ person on any safari.  Over the past few years, since inception of Destined To Travel, I had several drivers for my safaris.  While all of them were good, it wasn’t always possible to have the same driver because it depended on what company the safari was booked through.  It wasn’t always the experience I wanted for my guests, so it left me thinking, what is my next step?

For several years I had been working with a driver who worked for a major safari company, he was my driver when I had occasion to book through that company or when he was ‘off-duty’.  However, that company was getting far too expensive for me to continue using.  So once I stopped booking that company I knew I would lose my favorite driver as well.

Consistency…

The dilemma was how to have a regular driver on my group safaris in order to provide a consistent, more flexible and engaging experience.  Maybe it meant having my own vehicle, hiring my own driver. Was that the answer?  If it was, that decision was major. How could I even go about that?   How could I hire my own driver and know that it would be someone whom I could trust, someone honest and with integrity in a country I really knew very little about. Doing business in a foreign country is a huge risk – especially when you’re not there all the time.

Would I….

This was the beginning of a real learning experience.  If I did this, and I had no idea how I could accomplish it, on my own, in a foreign third world country.  If I did, it would be the biggest risk I might ever take in my business.  Would I do it, would it be the right decision, where would my driver come from, would he be honest and trustworthy, would I be able to work with a man in a patriarchal society, where women are not valued the same as women in the USA, how would I ever be able to accomplish this?

 Give up?

Maybe it was an unreachable goal.  Maybe I should just go in another direction and accept that I could not provide the exact experience that I wanted my guests to have.  Maybe I should just accept that and forget about wanting to stand out in my business.  Maybe I should think of another way.  I knew how easy it was to just get lost in the shuffle of the thousands of other safari companies.  Maybe, just maybe, my ideas were too grandiose.

When out of the blue…

Months passed and my plans for growing my business were beginning to fade, it seemed just too difficult to achieve.  Then, out of the blue, the former driver who I had always thought would be an incredible asset to my business, looked me up and told me that he had left his position with the company for which he’d worked and would love to go into business together.

It didn’t take long before we hatched a plan.  Together we decided to invest in a vehicle where he would serve as the driver and thus, the main driver for Destined to Travel.  What had I done?  I had just taken the biggest risk ever, that’s what! 

Risk well taken…

Looking back now, to three years ago, I must say that the risk that at one time overwhelmed me with both positives and negatives, actually turned out to be one of the best decisions of my business career.  My investment in the vehicle, and the driver, of the trust and loyalty that I was so concerned about, in this foreign land, turned out to be the best, and the biggest risk Destined To Travel has undertaken to date.

My guests have no idea whet I went through to stand out among thousands of safari companies, to give them an experience that would be ever so special for them!  They have no idea how much I went back and forth about whether or not it was a good decision; even if it was, should I go ahead and do it.  Even I didn’t know the answers at the time.

As it turned out, the trust and integrity of the driver was the least of my concerns.  He has proven himself hundreds of times over.

 Out of my control…

Now the risk I’m faced with is just when things appear to be improving, and business has picked up, here comes the Ebola scare.  With more and more people canceling, the vehicle is not moving in the way it would have been had the outbreak not occurred.  Don’t get me wrong, there are no outbreaks of Ebola in East Africa, but each time there is a scare, it affects tourism.  Tourism is my business, and without it, the business doesn’t exist.  So we’ll just have to see where things go from here.  Right now, I’m on my way to Africa with a group – nothing is stopping me!

“Safari” Kay Trotman

With over twenty years in the travel business, the name Kay Trotman is now always associated as ‘Safari’ Kay.   In that time,  many different countries have opened their doors and that has allowed me to carefully and skillfully plan and escort many different groups to exotic, exciting and adventurous international destinations around the world.  Some of those past countries include China, Thailand, Italy, Brazil, London, France, Caribbean, Costa Rica and now Africa.  Destined To Travel is a licensed, insured, bonded travel agency, specializing in African Safaris throughout the finest safari destinations in Africa. We invite you to try us out, and we look forward to seeing you on safari!  Learn more about Destined To Travel