We often talk about vendor management, what does that really mean? We manage and guide our owners on how we think they should behave without really understanding their needs and expectations.
We come to the conclusion that our own judgement is the best solution to the current problem. I believe that most service providers try really hard to provide great customer service but fail dismally and as a result, consumers now accept poor customer service as the new norm.
Lets have a closer look the real estate industry as an example.
We’re all striving to find that ever-elusive silver bullet that will help the consumer regain trust in our industry and in the process, bring success. According to the Roy Morgan Image of Professions survey 2017 http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7244-roy-morgan-image-of-professions-may-2017-201706051543 Real estate agents still record an all time low on the trust scale.
When it comes to the real estate industry I think that we often forget one major factor in the transaction. That is, we are dealing with one of our client’s most valuable assets. For many, it will be something that they have worked exceptionally hard to achieve and spent many years applying energy to, so there is a high emotional connection to it. I will share a personal experience with you that will epitomise the emotional path that can occur in a real estate transaction.
I experienced this emotional connection and the sales experience related to it, with my then husband. We decided to put a property on the market after having invested six years of energy into it. The agent of choice was made and it was time to go to market. After a major storm and subsequent failed auction, we had two weekends in a row where we also had buyers “cool off”. As a result, my husband was an emotional wreck. It’s very easy when you do a job, day in and day out to forget the emotional rollercoaster our owner’s experience and the impact it has on those involved. I won’t go into detail here but suffice to say the kids and I were wishing we were on the other side of the world in a warm tropical destination. To me, a person who feels somewhat calmer under pressure, I struggled to comprehend how applying so much emotion to an experience would benefit the outcome.
OK stop right there. OUTCOME.
Here it is, the thing that I “bang” on about all the time and the thing that I believe will let you down in the vendor management process. If you haven’t taken the time to think about, research and know what your clients required and desired, you should give up now. We are not all the same and we all expect different things, so next time when you have a discussion with a prospective vendor, how about asking the questions that provide you with this information. If both my husband and I had been surveyed at the appraisal time, it would have been apparent that we had different perceived outcomes. Both could have been taken into consideration when arriving at our required outcome.
Over the last 10 years, I have been taking note to find the common links between some of the most successful property specialists in Australia. Doesn’t matter whether we are talking, traditional, self sell or somewhere in the middle, most often they all believe passionately in trying to provide the client with their desired outcome. So lets define outcome. “It’s what the customer needs to achieve, in the way they need to achieve it.” It’s our job to understand what the client is trying to accomplish in their property transaction, and it’s our job to understand how they want to accomplish it. We can add our style into theirs.
Right now I am hearing you say… “But Trish, it’s the market that won’t allow them to achieve their desired outcome”. Let’s remember, if you are truly communicating with them even if you achieve the required outcome they will still sing your praises. Simply put “ the desired” outcome is the WISH outcome and the “required” is the one they will accept when the desired cannot be achieved.
So let’s look at how this can be done simply:
- Know your clients desired and required outcomes
- Make sure they are written down and you both have a copy
- Plan the marketing path and take them for the ride
- Communicate constantly ensuring they still want the same outcomes
- Provide them with the right information for them to make the right decisions at the right time
I have to ask the question? Do we concentrate on too many things at any given time and forget to keep it simple? While there are many great options out there to make our lives easier in servicing clients, just remember this is their biggest asset so pay close attention to their desired/required outcomes and enjoy the ride with them.
By Trish Mewett
Divisional Franchisor/ Licensee
Jim’s Real Estate