Who are your customers?

If you listen to podcasts, TED talks or even speakers at conferences, you’ll hear the phrase “you must get closer to your customers”. The future will belong to businesses that do just this according to Mark McLeod.

At what point does someone become our customer?

While there is not too much travel going on right now, let’s say you go online and book a flight with Qantas, you proceed to check-in and head to the lounge before boarding the plane.

When do you think Qantas believes you become their customer?

If the experience at the online booking stage is terrible, do you think it would affect Qantas’s business?

If the check-in was gruelling and the customer saw alternative airlines flowing freely, do you think it would affect Qantas’s business?

I think you would all agree, a poor experience at each of these customer interaction points could have a detrimental effect.

If I was to ask the majority of agents who their customers are, many say “my vendor”.

If you use the airline analogy, then the vendor is getting on the flight, completely ignoring all of the customer touchpoints that preceded it.

Our industry’s lack of understanding of these early touchpoints, and inability to understand that all members of their community are their customers, will ultimately have a detrimental effect on a business.

There are many stages that a property owner goes through to list their home.

I don’t subscribe to the belief that on a Saturday morning a typical couple (in normal circumstances) wake up and suddenly decide to list their house.

They will go through a process, which may take a couple of weeks or even months.

However, most sellers are not in real estate mode.

They are just living their best life.

They are all part of our community, they are our customers, and we need to connect to them through community involvement, and enhanced content that provides value long before they move into real estate mode.

They may move out of real estate mode to fact-finding or pre-decisional stage, looking for information about their next move, whether it is upsizing, downsizing, refinancing, building, renovating or even apartment living.

All of these moments create opportunities for us to support and further deepen our relationships with our customers.

These early stages are relatively uncrowded and often the greatest opportunity for agents to create long-term success.

In the decision phase vendors are considering which agent they will use, what method of sale, and how much it starts to get crowded.

The reason a lot of commissions are being lowered and lead generators emerging is because many agents believe the vendor is only a customer once they get to the decision phase.

You know the drill from here.

List it, sell it and then, for many agents, never communicate with either party again as they are no longer who they consider to be their customer.

This is the simplest industry in the world.

It’s the only industry in the world where we know where our customers live.

You just need to think about it.

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Mark McLeod

Mark McLeod is the Ray White Group's Chief Strategy Officer for Real Estate. He works alongside agents and businesses across Australia, helping them reach their ultimate potential to achieve success.