By Sandie Orlando

Real estate agents, like other professional service providers, understand that the recipe for success depends on the three Rs: Reputation, Referrals and Relevance. Your reputation is critical and leads to strong referrals if your service and approach are relevant to what the client needs.

But are reputation, referrals and relevance enough?



As a move coach, I have the opportunity to work directly with clients as they make decisions about selecting other service professionals to help with their move. Having an inside perspective on the process illuminates another factor that counts heavily in their choice – aligned values.

Let’s take an inside look at how one client in Forest Hill in Toronto made their decisions about selecting a moving company, contents sale manager and their real estate agent.

In the case of the moving companies, several were capable of moving their furniture and goods from one place to the next and they had an abundance of positive testimonials from happy customers. The short list included one that had been in business for more than 80 years, another that had been around for well under 10 years. Both sent an agent to the client’s home before providing an estimate and spoke to the client about how their company would handle the move. The younger company’s estimate was about 13 per cent higher, but ultimately won the contract. Why?

The client’s decision came down to what was more meaningful for them. In this case, the fresh approach to customer service, transparent pricing policy, environmental stance, up front discussion about how their employees are treated and motivated, openness about what they will deliver and how they would handle any problems, were all more important than 80 years of experience and a lower price.

Moving day proved that decision to be an excellent one. Not only did the crew handle the move carefully and professionally, but they demonstrated customer care well beyond their promises. They detected a gas leak that averted a potential disaster for the client – something that could easily have been ignored without the proper training and concern for doing the right thing. This was an especially selfless act because the extra time it took to ensure everyone’s safety meant spoiling any chance of the movers achieving their own time bonus. My client was understandably thrilled with his choice.

In the case of the contents sale manager, the criteria for making a selection came down to good, old-fashioned values. Clearing the contents of a family home more than 25 years in the making sometimes requires more than online marketing and a promise to just “get rid of everything”. There are too many memories associated with items that simply won’t fit into their new chapter.  In spite of a growing number of online options and referrals for competent managers, the client selected a family company that had built its business through word of mouth. They had earned their reputation and referrals by listening to the stories of their clients and delivering what they valued most – care and respect for their possessions and their homes while conveying confidence in their ability to maximize sales revenue. It was a big success and their home was left cleaned and ready for the new owners to take possession.

Further up the food chain in this story was the client’s choice of real estate agents. In this case, there was an interesting dynamic at work. As a person who never took his considerable success for granted and always felt that gratitude was an essential value in his life, he selected a highly reputable agent he knew he could trust, and who also shared and expressed the same strong set of values.

All the service professional choices this client made came down to something that runs much deeper than the things associated with reputation, a strong referral and a relevant service offering. It came down to values that resonated in alignment with the client’s own.

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