By Michelle Risi

If the goal of business is to identify what the client needs and deliver it, why do we think this is going “over and above”? Going over and above means to go beyond a normal amount. But what is normal? And whose measuring stick are we using?



Is it going over and above if you personally deliver the deposit cheque because your client is at home with their newborn baby? Is it going over and above if you send them birthday cards or deliver a gift to them on closing? Is it going over and above if the client needs to see 20 properties before finding the one they love?

When we look at our actions as going over and above, we lose sight of the fact that what we are really doing is listening to our clients, delivering what is necessary and then creating a memorable experience. And isn’t that what customer service is? Shouldn’t that be a normal part of how we do our business?

If you are looking for ways to set yourself apart and create an exceptional experience for your client, here are a few things to consider.

1. Listen to what’s not being said.

Listening is one of the most important communication skills. When you actively listen, you are not only paying attention to what is being said, but also to what isn’t. What is the unique situation your client is experiencing? What obstacles will they face along the way? When you can identify hidden pain points, you can deliver solutions that will not only help the client but will also help you create an exceptional experience.

2. Redefine your measuring stick.

Your clients are the benchmark for whether you did a job well. It’s not about your expectations or even those of your past clients. It’s about the client you are working with now and what matters to them. Work with your client from the beginning to establish what the expectations are, and then find creative and meaningful ways of delivering on them.

3. Deliver the unexpected.

If you really want to create a memorable experience for your clients, deliver a bit of the unexpected. The only person who can say you went “over and above” is the client. Think outside of the box and aim to meet their needs – and then provide a little something extra.

4. Ask for feedback.

It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of things. And when you have been running your business for a while, things become second nature. Be sure you are taking time to ask for feedback and doing frequent check-ins with your clients. This way you know you are staying on track.

5. Create a lasting relationship.

Just because the sale is done doesn’t mean your job is over. Create systems for staying in touch so that you can continue to deliver a memorable experience well beyond closing day. Taking the time to nurture the relationship you have created is the key to creating a client for life.

Instead of thinking of taking these steps as going “over and above,” consider those measures a standard part of business. Create an exceptional client experience by going truly beyond the call of a real estate agent’s duty.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Your article is excellent, Michelle

    One of the most important things I personally learned, right up there with listening, while one is being quiet, is “watching.” Watch for what isn’t vocalized. Watch the body language. It’s of vital import in order to fulfill your mission. If you are working with/for a couple (whether buying or selling), watch their body language with each other – whether viewing properties or at the offer table.

    Secondarily, but equally important, is: as an agent, don’t EVER offer your personal opinion (on anything); not the colour, not the size, not the location – nada… As the agent, you have no right to a personal opinion; you aren’t buying it and you aren’t selling it.

    Speaking of offer table, one of the most demeaning trading acquisitions in the industry, in my opinion is the demise of “at the table” offer presentations where the agent has lost the opportunity to personally “engage;” not able to watch or listen. As a result so much people-power opportunity is lost.

    Here is a perfect example of what you write: (at each thank you posted on my website at “Carolyne’s Clients Speak,” I in turn wrote a few storybook-related comments that personalized the commentary so website visitors could get a feeling for how they, too, would be cared for.)

    = = =
    A USA REALTOR, herself, returning to Canada, the buyer wrote:
    “I relocated to [city] from the USA about 3yrs ago. When I knew that I was making the move, everytime I was here, I would drive and drive and drive through the area I wanted to live in. Looked at signs, looked at the area, how close to shopping, etc.

    But the house I am in??? Found by CAROLYNE. SHE did the work, found the house, figured it was a good fit and called. Off we went to look at it, and here we are.

    [I] LOVE my house, and AGAIN a huge thank you to Carolyne for finding it.

    So, in the end … yes yard signs — because they really showed me what was for sale in the area. But I never called the agent. I would check in online or have my agent get me the info.

    Thanks again — for finding us “the best house in [City]”.

    = = = = = = = = =

    (My posted response:)

    “I have to tell the truth. I watched [Mr. buyer’s] reactions (and yours) at other properties in areas you had discovered on your own and wanted to explore.

    It wasn’t rocket science – you gave off all the right signals. I just “listened.” And when I discovered this property, thinking it was underpriced for the market I set about trying to figure out why.

    And when I discovered this one I felt it was an EXACT “fit” for several reasons (kitchen for you; pond for [Mr. buyer] & gazebo type deck and finished basement for your entertaining lifestyle in all seasons) however I nearly didn’t show it to you because it was slightly outside the area you wanted to be at.

    But you agreed to view, and as they say the rest is history. Every house sells from the front door, in my opinion.

    Buyers simply then walk the property to validate the decision they even unknowingly, sometimes (but you knew) made back at the front door.

    Had we not persevered that night we never would have got it for that price. The difficulty I encountered was that the Seller was in the midst of recalculating market pricing and wanted their agent to take it off the market.

    You acquired not only your home but a grand investment. Instant equity in large $$$. Timing is everything.

    It was, simply put, YOU – as in “both of you.” A natural “fit.” It SPOKE. Glad you love it.

    That’s what a professional REALTOR(r) does that makes the difference… We listen to unspoken words.” ~ Carolyne L

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