WORKING CLASS…FROM JOB SEEKER TO MONEY MAKER By Marjorie Kavanagh Owner & President of Panoramic Resumes, LLC
Customer Relationships: Build Them Now and Forever
For some of us, the most perplexing yet important part of job seeking is networking. Because the thought of “networking” (even the word can be off-putting) is challenging, I decided to approach it from a different lens. Let’s swap out “networking” for “building (customer) relationships.” This is really what it’s all about, because wherever you are in the continuum of your career, establishing and maintaining great relationships will always be essential.
Chris Smith, broker/owner of Chris Smith Realty, Spring Lake, NJ (www.chrissmithrealty.com), exemplifies the best in building customer relationships and is also a generous mentor to his team in this respect. Throughout his 28 years as a residential real estate professional, including eight years as a business owner, Chris has built a reputation as “a name you can trust delivering results you can count on.”
I recently sat down with Chris to talk about his leadership approach to cultivating long-term customer relationships. He said, “It never is and can never be about the commission. It’s about helping people realize a dream of home ownership – welcoming people to your community where they will raise a family and build their life
stories or helping people move on to a new part of their lives by selling their home.”
Chris shares a similar philosophy with that of McDonald’s founder Ray Croc, who said, “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”
Chris shared a plethora of customer relationship insights. Here are highlights:
• Professional ethics and integrity are everything.
• Build trust and loyalty; know your business and build your experience so that you can be a trusted advisor who is always right.
• Listen. Fully understand your customer’s situation and goals because your job is to bring them to successful conclusion.
• Be willing to make sacrifices along the way and fix every problem.
• Uphold a fiduciary responsibility to present the best business options amidst the emotion of the event.
• Customer service is much bigger than one person. A customer-centric philosophy should be enculturated throughout the organization.
• Communicate regularly and often to strengthen the relationship and make the crucial conversations easier to manage.
• Deliver a customer experience that is fun.
• Treat others as you would want to be treated.
• Get in front of customers in the immediacy of the moment or they will call someone else; leverage communication technologies as drivers to be ever present for the customer.
• If you say it, then do it; own mistakes.
• Love what you do!
Chris has successfully built his business partnering with generations of families in the purchase and sale of homes throughout their lives. Sometimes a sale happens in a week; other times it may take three years for customers to find the right home. When customer focused, you naturally take the extra steps to make it all happen.