Imagine that you are a first-time homebuyer shopping for a house. The perfect home, ripe with potential comes on the market, and you move as quickly as possible to the closing table.
Excited about the opportunity to create the home of your dreams you make a list of repairs, upgrades, and renovations. After prioritizing your list, it does not take long for you to realize that you are in-over-your-head. You need professional help, but as a newcomer to the neighborhood are not sure where to turn.
A phone call to your agent is a good starting point. She sends over a well-organized list of trusted local home service providers from plumbers to carpenters. How likely are you to call these providers and share them with your new neighbors? Having just had a positive home-buying experience, chances are pretty darn good.
Your real estate agent has now created expert status in her field. How did she do this?
1. Give trusted referrals
Providing a customer with a referral builds trust. In the real estate and home service industries, the customer’s expectation is that even the experts are only looking out for their own best interest. A well-timed referral eliminates buyer-skepticism.
There is no benefit to the agent to lie in this scenario, so the customer feels comfortable with the referral and now has trust in both the contractor and the agent herself.
How does this work?
A real estate agent doesn’t get a commission after referring business to a contractor. Money is not the currency in this relationship. Loyalty is more valuable.
The contractor knows that by providing consistent, high-quality service to an agent’s clients, he or she will be rewarded with referral business. Most home service providers make their careers on referral business.
The agent’s reward for making a quality referral is that they will build trust with their client and be regarded as an expert in their field. The result for the agent is also an increase in referral business.
The best way to create expert status is to give high-quality referrals.
2. Have an opinion
A key indicator of expert status is the ability to offer an opinion on the industry. Share your knowledge of all the options to a customer. Effectively communicating your personal review of competitors, colleagues, and complementary businesses will build credibility.
Not having an opinion on key competitors makes you look like a beginner. Do not dismiss your competitors or put them down. That will also decrease your credibility. Instead, offer a comparison that highlights how you are different.
Use industry language but don’t overwhelm your customers. If you use industry buzzwords, follow up with a layman’s definition or a relevant example. The customer will appreciate your knowledge and clear communication at the same time. Do not shy away from these two words: “for instance.”
3. Over deliver
Mediocrity does not get remembered. Surprising your customers with outstanding customer service, product quality, delivery time, or referrals are how you are going to get remembered.
Reward your customers for placing their trust in you. They could have chosen any one of your competitors, but they didn’t. They chose you. Be thankful and offer a reward.
By over-delivering consistently, the following things will happen: 1. You will be remembered 2. You will get more referral business 3. You will build more relationships. And 4. You will create expert status.
I’d love to hear what you think about building expert status. Whom do you view as an expert and how did they achieve that status? Or, are you seen as an expert in your field? And if so, how did you go about getting there? Please leave your thoughts in our comments section below.