Sean Carpenter: How to be an agent for life

Good customer service can make or break you as a real estate agent, but it can be difficult to know exactly what potential clients want. Coldwell Banker sales associate Sean Carpenter breaks down the key ways you can bolster your client experience, build an unbeatable reputation and become someone's agent for life.

When Sean Carpenter describes good customer service, he doesn’t relate a real estate story.

Instead, the Coldwell Banker sales associate says the best example of customer service he has experienced came from an airport shuttle bus driver named Fred.

What was so special about Fred? He did all the ‘little things’ right, including greeting customers with a smile, taking their luggage, offering them candy and providing an update on events visitors could attend that weekend, along with a weather report.

“I had the greatest shuttle bus ride of my life that night,” Sean says. 

Speaking as part of Elite Agent’s Zoomathon, Sean also relayed how he went home and wrote a blog about Fred, as well as contacted Fred’s employers to praise his service.

And Sean believes real estate agents should aim to be just like Fred if they want to become a client’s agent for life.

He says agents often do the bare minimum instead of building relationships, helping clients solve problems and having fun along the way.

“There’s a sign that hangs on my office wall, and I totally believe it, it says, ‘doing what’s required only prevents customer dissatisfaction. You must do more than is required to truly satisfy a customer’,” Sean says.

He says there are five key ways you can improve your customer service.

Be a resource and move the needle

Offer your services and resources to help clients, or potential clients, move from one chapter of their life to another.

Talking versus listening

You can move the needle two ways as an agent – by talking or listening.

You can either stand on the street corner and shout as loudly as you can to get people’s attention, or you can go and do what you do well and earn people’s attention.

Do the little things

Once you get people’s attention, you better earn their trust. You can do this with fine attention to detail and doing what you say you will. Once you earn people’s trust, you need to keep it.

The long haul

How do you retain people’s trust? Patience. You’re in the real estate business for the long haul. Aim to be someone’s real estate agent for life.

Create an impact

Some agents, and indeed some agencies, believe they’re too small to impact the overarching level of service the industry offers. But consider the impact one tiny mosquito can have if it’s trapped in your bedroom overnight.

Sean says real estate is all about having an impact and helping out one client at a time.

“Every single thing we do can make a difference,” he says.

“It’s about helping one person who raises their hand and says, ‘Hey, I have a problem, can you help me?’

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a first-time homebuyer with barely two pennies to scratch together to buy a house, or a multi-million dollar seller who wants some time, attention and care.

“It’s the little things that make a difference.”


Sean says if you get all of these elements right, you’ll build yourself a solid reputation in the industry and be known for building relationships, your enthusiasm, preparation, and under-promising but over-delivering.

Using the word reputation as an acronym, Sean says trust, a positive attitude, trying your best, inquiring about your clients’ needs and stepping outside your comfort zone will be other traits that stand you in good stead.

“And finally, N is nice people win,” he says.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.