Submitted by Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI
One Saturday this past spring, my lovely wife asked me if I would accompany her to the outdoor garden center. For the uninitiated, let me interpret: That was not a question, it was a statement. It means, “Get your shoes. You are going.” (Unlike some husbands, I don’t let my wife tell me what to do.)
Big-box stores are not known for great customer service. Once we got to the garden center, I was blown away when a high-school kid went out of his way to help us. I’ll call him Tim. Tim actually seemed interested in helping us. Instead of simply pointing toward the South 40, he patiently walked us to the correct aisle and even loaded the potting soil that we needed onto our cart. I said, “Thank you, Tim.” He smiled and said, “You saw my name tag.” I told him he was correct, but next time I won’t need to look at his name tag. He went out of his way to help us, and I’ll remember him for that.
On other occasions at the garden center, the helpful staff merely pointed to the general area where we might find what we needed or they simply shrugged. Nothing builds confidence like a shrug. People don’t remember the shruggers or ask them to come and interview for a job. They remember the Tims.
No matter if you are in the property inspection business, have an accounting practice, are an insurance agent, or are a Realtor, you should make an impression that lasts. If you listen to your clients and truly care about helping them solve their problems, then it will come back to you many times over. The Internet notwithstanding, word-of-mouth is the most powerful form of advertising there is. If you make an impression on people, they will pass along your name. Just make sure it was a good impression. There’s an old maxim that says if you do a good job for someone, they will tell five people, if you do a bad job, they will tell 10. Those are words to live by.
A true milestone for any business owner is when he/she gets the first phone call that starts this way: “My friend Bill told me to call you.” You made a positive impression on Bill, and he has paid you a huge compliment by passing along your name. Good luck, and keep up the good work.