Take good care of your rep­u­ta­tion in this world of on­line shar­ing

Prop­erty Opin­ion

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY NEWS -

Alex Gold­stein, prop­erty con­sul­tant, www.alex­gold­stein. co.uk

GO­ING THROUGH my 2016 fig­ures last week­end, to my amaze­ment I found that 92 per cent of my busi­ness came from word of mouth re­fer­rals. Not that I’m blow­ing my own trum­pet (ok, per­haps I am), but that fig­ure even took me by sur­prise. Then it got me think­ing: why was it so high?

I was dis­cussing it with Sarah, a pre­vi­ous client and mar­ket­ing ex­pert, who said: “Alex, there are three things peo­ple value most: trust, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and, above all, the knowl­edge that you will do, what you say you are go­ing to do.”

Well, of course I blushed at the com­pli­ment, while se­cretly high-fiv­ing my­self un­der the ta­ble, but jok­ing aside, she is spot on with that trio. I be­lieve they should be sacro­sanct no mat­ter what busi­ness you’re in, as it ab­so­lutely demon­strates that you care and have the needs of your client at the fore­front of ev­ery­thing you do.

I bet you can think of a dozen times when you’ve been let down in all of these ar­eas – the builders who go AWOL half­way through a project, the col­league who never re­sponds to emails, cus­tomer ser­vices who say they’ll call you back, then don’t. What do you do when you are look­ing for a top notch restau­rant or need to find a good trades­man for a job? You ask the peo­ple you know for help.

As a re­sult, you are more likely to use that trade/ser­vice, which has been rec­om­mended to you by a trusted source. It is usu­ally lower risk and no has­sle.

The power of the cru­cial three el­e­ments were demon­strated very clearly in a re­cent client case of mine. She was try­ing to sell her home and, be­fore I be­came in­volved, she had been promised a top ser­vice and mar­ket­ing pack­age by her pre­vi­ous es­tate agent.

Through rose-tinted spec­ta­cles, she un­der­stand­ably en­vis­aged a world in which her house would be fought over by a queue of ador­ing buy­ers, fall­ing over them­selves to se­cure her home. That is what ev­ery­one thinks and this is a nat­u­ral re­ac­tion.

The first six weeks of mar­ket­ing went re­ally well with view­ings-a-plenty. The agent did a solid job of keep­ing in touch with the vendor. But when the prop­erty still hadn’t sold eight weeks later, it was as if the agent van­ished into thin air. Sud­denly, the home owner had to do all the chas­ing with phone calls and emails. She said it made her feel like a nui­sance, which is not the im­pres­sion a client should have, es­pe­cially one who is pay­ing a sub­stan­tial fee.

Thank­fully, we quickly got to grips with the sit­u­a­tion. Hav­ing up­graded the photography, over­hauled the brochure, sorted out the mar­ket­ing and on­line en­tries, plus view­ing ar­range­ments and other de­tails be­hind the scenes, we were able to re­launch the prop­erty with re­newed vigour.

The agent was de­lighted to have ad­di­tional ideas from a prop­erty con­sul­tant with ex­pe­ri­ence in the es­tate agency busi­ness and within five weeks of the re­launch we had se­cured a buyer on the right ba­sis.

The client was de­lighted to have the agent back on the right terms with re­freshed en­thu­si­asm and to have my­self keep­ing a proac­tive check on progress.

How­ever, the dam­age to the agent’s rep­u­ta­tion was al­ready done thanks to the power of so­cial media. The client, up­set at be­ing ig­nored, had told her friend about her ex­pe­ri­ence and then she men­tioned it to an­other friend on Face­book. That post was then shared and shared again and sud­denly lots of peo­ple knew about her ex­pe­ri­ence.

In this age of on­line shar­ing, it is more im­por­tant than ever to of­fer good ser­vice. One should never lose sight of the power of word of mouth when you are in busi­ness. A good rep­u­ta­tion can take years to earn, but only a mo­ment to lose.

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