By Julie Escobar
Ever been to Nordstrom store? It’s truly like no retail experience you’ve ever had. Why? Because customer service is NEVER an afterthought. In fact – it’s the foundation and culture for their entire organization. And – it has a lot to teach us as real estate and sales professionals about success in today’s world.
In an economic time that has seen markets dramatically shift, competition get fierce and sales professionals who were either unwilling or unable to make the leap from “how it’s always been done” to “what works NOW” leave our industry, one thing is for sure, SERVICE has never been MORE important. Those agents and brokers, managers, team members and even folks like our organization that work to support sales professionals in their success are finding that today’s consumers expect more and deliver their business, interest, referrals and attention ONLY to those willing to DO MORE.
I’m not talking about just offering more SERVICES – but instead offering a better quality of CONNECTION. A better EXPERIENCE. An exceptional level of COMMUNICATION. Nordstroms? Oh yeah – that’s what they DELIVER. And what you should too if you want to rise to the top and stay there.
If you get the chance to read the book The Nordstrom Way, do it. It’s insightful and honest and may just give you a different perspective. I loved the back story of the Nordstrom family, their humility and inspired approach to the relationships in their lives. It’s hard to find the kind of commitment that has been fostered so passionately for generations anymore. And it is a motivator to want to truly step up and take care of all the people that cross your path – both personally and professionally in an entirely new way.
There were three philosophies to their success I found particularly inspired for agents. I hope you will as well.
1. Value the nobility of good service. NOBILITY. Love that word – don’t you? It really resonated with me because all too often – not just in this business – but across the board you find that when the ‘going gets tough’ – many people turn to the ‘short cuts’ – which almost never include high levels of service. Truly caring for your customers. Delivering what you say and more. Putting their needs, wants and experience above your commissions, your daily obstacles or your desire to get to the next place or person FASTER really IS noble when you think about it. And smart. And effective. And the root of creating a customer for life.
2. Finding and bonding with customers. Ever been to a car lot or retail store where you felt swarmed by commissioned salespeople to the point of being uncomfortable or almost bullied into a sale by an overly-aggressive salesperson who CLEARLY was more interested in what they needed or wanted to get from the experience than what you wanted? Unfortunately we see this in the real estate sector as well.
Just this morning, I was reading a post on Facebook from an agent who successfully listed a home with a new client AFTER one of her competitors had met with the same folks and bad-mouthed not only this agent but other top agents in the market as well. Listen, creating new relationships is a serious business, I know. And sometimes an agent wants or needs the next commission so much that it is the only thing they can focus on. To the point that they forget – that in the moment it is NOT about them. And frankly, it doesn’t have anything to do with their competition either. In fact, I’d say running down the other agents in your area is probably a sure-fire way to present yourself as an agent who LACKS integrity, character and honesty. Show up. (ON TIME!) Create a great EXPERIENCE. LISTEN. Be RESPECTFUL. And do your bust to work on ‘building your own house’ or business the right way – rather than tearing down what others do or what they’ve built.
The same goes for your marketing efforts. Be it social media, direct mail, email, face-to-face or phone-to-phone – attracting customers and helping them get to know you, like you and trust you enough to do business with you takes finesse, it takes relationship skills, consistency, clarity and commitment. No shortcuts. Make it about them.
At Nordstrom, you won’t find pushy salespeople. They won’t steer you to a higher ticket item for their own purposes. They won’t bad mouth – at all – about anyone. They make each customer their number one priority at that moment. Smart. Very smart.
3. Serving and keeping customers. Love the way Nordstrom professionals not only take care of their customers at the time – but their follow up skills are phenomenal. They get it. They don’t want just customers RIGHT NOW, they want customers who will return time after time and ask for them specifically – and oh yeah – refer their friends. ProspectsPLUS! President Jim Morton was sharing his recent experience with me and how impressed he was that Nordstrom’s team members not only are delivering great service – but they are stepping up their game in terms of connecting (and staying connected) with their customers in new ways with today’s technology. He handed me his Nordstrom salesperson’s business card – complete with QR code containing her vCard information. With a push of an app on his iPhone he now can reach her at a moment’s notice. Again – very smart – very savvy and a great lesson for sales pros in any business.
It reminds me of my friend and Realtor- extraordinaire Virginia Munden. Even as a successful agent, business partner, coach and mother of three — she still sends hand-written thank you notes to clients, customers and fellow agents almost daily. She engages people via social media. And her passion for what she does and the people she connects with is almost infectious! Don’t have the time? Make it. It really will make the difference between a spectacular career and a mediocre one.
Thank you Nordstrom for setting the customer service bar high and keeping it there and for creating an example for salespeople from every industry around the globe. You guys truly do deliver the WOW factor!
If you haven’t read the book The Nordstrom Way, get your copy. It’s a great read and packed with real world strategy. If you need help connecting with customers consistently give us a shout at 866.4o5.3638 today. We’re always ready to meet your needs and help to solve your marketing needs. Oh – and if want to channel your inner Nordstrom associate and add your own QR code to your marketing postcards or business cards – we can help you with that too!
Oh – and we’d love for you to join in the conversation! Join us at www.facebook.com/prospectsplus!
Have an incredible day – the Nordstrom Way!