Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Nuggets For The Noggin
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, October 8, 2012 

“I COULD HAVE HAD A V8®”  Really!  I recently purchased a new Dodge Charger with a high output 6 cylinder engine; but I could have had a V8, seriously, I could have had a Dodge Hemi V8 engine.  The adult in me said go with the gas mileage; the teeny-bopper in me said to go with the Hemi.  The adult said go with the 4-doors, the teeny bopper said go with the 2-door coupe Challenger (with the Hemi).  The teeny-bopper in me said to go with the leather seats, my “behind” on the other hand which has been fried on more than one occasion on leather seats during the middle of a very hot summer, said go with the cloth seats. 

Isn’t that way most decisions are made, a little voice on one shoulder telling you to do one thing, a little voice on the other shoulder telling you to do another?   Then we are left to choose which voice we are going to listen to.  The action we eventually take is oftentimes the result of which voice speaks the loudest is it not? 

What would happen if a third voice were interjected into your conversation; a voice other than your spouse or significant other (hate that term).  Oftentimes the decisions we make are a combination of both voices of a couple so in effect they speak as one.  But again, I ask, what would happen if a third voice were interjected into the conversation or debate. 

Back to the Dodge Charger.  It may be one of the best cars I have ever owned.  My kids refer to it as Dad’s Hot Rod or Muscle Car.  I smile when I see the 29 miles to the gallon it gets on the highway while still looking very mean.  I smile when passengers do not have to climb over the front seats to get into the back seats.  I smile when I see the trunk space it affords.  I smile when it just wants to “run” on the highways like a wild mustang (horse, not car).  Is it safe to say I am very pleased with my purchase?  Absolutely. 

Let’s set the scene.  You are now in the market for a new car.  You walk into the dealership and you have one little fellow on one shoulder and another little fellow on the other shoulder.  You are getting advice from each one not to mention your spouse (I refuse to say that S O phrase again).   What if you could hear about how I feel about my purchase of my Charger?  Would it make a difference?  What if you could hear the voices of hundreds if not thousands or even millions of satisfied Charger owners describing just how pleased they are with their Chargers?  Would that make a difference?  How could you even think otherwise?  It would absolutely make a difference.  You may understand their pleasure regarding their purchase and do likewise.  You may see the numbers of Charger owners and decide you want to be different and own something not quite as visible on the highway as a Charger; your loss.  Either decision is okay.  What is important is that you made a decision and your decision was hopefully based on facts rather than feelings or unfounded opinions. 

The real question becomes, if I am so happy with the purchase of my Charger, why has no one from the Chrysler Corporation taken the time to ask me?  Would you not think that such an overwhelming support of their product might make a difference to someone sitting on the fence regarding purchasing a Charger?  Have you ever sat on a fence?  It is not a comfortable place to sit. 

This is not about Chrysler; it is about you and your sales career. 

Why do so few real estate agents, like Chrysler, ever poll their customers or take satisfaction surveys regarding the products and/or services they provided, or not?  I think the reason is the same as why Chrysler doesn’t ask the questions or poll their customers; they are afraid that the answers to the questions may not be good and in Chrysler’s best interest.  What if I were to tell Chrysler that the arrangement of the locking mechanism on the trunk is placed so low that whenever you load something into the trunk you tend to hit your head if not your eye on the mechanism?  What would Chrysler do?  Here are some choices: 

1.      Ignore the comment or problem.

2.      Fix the problem by either relocating the mechanism or providing owners with safety warnings

3.      Fix the problem and then notify the world how responsive Chrysler is to the customer’s needs

4.      Apologize to the customer for the inconvenience, explain that fixing the problem has been assigned to the corporation’s engineers and will certainly be taken into consideration for future models

5.      Ask the customer “Other than the locking mechanism issue, were there any other issues with the car that we should know about?”

6.      Ask the customer, “Other than the locking mechanism issue, would you recommend a Dodge Charger to your friends and family?”

7.      Ask the Customer, “Given the issue of the locking mechanism, would you consider purchasing a Charger in the future?

8.      Some or all of the above

9.      Did I mention ignore the comment or problem? 

You could most certainly add to the list of 9 above, oh, by the way, did I mention “ignore the comment or problem”?  Can you figure out what they did? 

Have you ever asked to see the comments submitted by customers of a product or service you are considering purchasing?  Did a company ever provide you with an unsolicited list of customers to interview yourself?  Question:  If a company were to give you a list of customers you could talk to, do you think there would be any customers on the list that would provide you with negative feedback?  Doubt it.  But how would you feel if a company did just that?  What would you think about the person providing you the list?  I can’t speak for you but I personally would be very impressed that this person feels very comfortable in his or her own skin, that they are aware of their product or service and are not ashamed of it.  That they are willing to share the good, the bad and the ugly to demonstrate the lengths they are prepared to go to improve upon their service and/or product.  That they are not afraid of the truth.  And even more importantly, what they will do if I feel I have purchased an inferior product or service. 

How many REALTORS actually survey their customers? Do you?  If not, why not?  What are you afraid of?  Dare I suggest that you are afraid they will tell you they do not like the home they purchased or that something is wrong with it?  So by ignoring the issue you are improving your product or service how?  Or do you do like most REALTORS® and bury your head in the proverbial sand thinking that if you are not aware of any problems or concerns it will go away and you just let other customers literally “hit their head on the locking mechanism of the trunk?” 

Clear your mind.  Put yourself in the position of the customers you are working.  You hand them copies of surveys/polls you have conducted with previous customers, most are glowing reports of your professionalism and how their needs were met.  But some, just a few, indicate there were problems with the sale but there in big red hand written letters is what you did to correct the problem and modify your business to prevent similar situations from ever arising, ever again.  Now how would you feel about the REALTOR® you are thinking of working with? 

How could you not be impressed?  How could you not understand that this REALTOR® is very comfortable doing what he or she does; being comfortable with the way they conduct their business?  Comfortable with creating long-term relationships with the people they work for?  Why would you choose NOT to work with this REALTOR®?  Except for you-know-who, that is not a trick question. 

For example, what would happen if you actually guaranteed a home purchaser that they would love the home they purchase and if not, you will sell their home at no cost to them for your services?  Wait you say?  How can I do that, I can’t afford to work for nothing?  Really?  Read it again, “for your services”, you are only talking about the listing side of the sale not the coop side so the owners would still pay for the coop commission.  So what if a buyer took you up on your guarantee?  How many buyers do you think would be so willing and ready to move again if they just moved in?  Not that many I dare say.  Your offer would only be valid for the first 2 or 3 months of initial ownership, your choice; not something that would linger on forever.  You would make it contingent upon the owners buying their next home from you or at least obtaining a referral on their next purchase.  Remember it was NOT YOUR HOME they purchased, you only put the sale together.  You are NOT responsible for the HOME they purchased only the PROCESS.  You may have to point this out to the buyers because the natural tendency would be to blame you.  Remember you are only responsible for the process, not the home.  Of course you would have to work for a real estate company that would empower you to take this kind of BOLD and rarely used or seen action. 

Here’s the big question:  Now that we have discussed it (actually I wrote about it, you read it), what are you going to do about it?  Are you going to ignore it and let the customer hit his or her head on the trunk’s locking mechanism or are you going to fix what you don’t even know as yet is broken?  Great question, I’ll wait for your answer……………..