We had our office kick off meeting last week with several local developers there to discuss construction projects and the planned Sound Transit expansion.
One of the speakers was Jim Melby, the president of Kemper Development. They are expanding their project downtown Bellevue with additional shops, restaurants, office space, hotels, apartments and much more. What really struck me during Jim’s talk was the amount of time and money spent on parking.
Even Jim laughed about how focused they were on it, but as he talked, I realized what a big deal it is and how it is a perfect metaphor for our businesses.
As the consumer, how often do you pay attention to the parking garage? Do you enjoy it or endure it? On the one hand it seems insignificant, yet it is the one element that virtually everyone who visits the project will experience.
It is also the first impression and the last impression. Two key elements that shape the entire experience and influence, whether or not we come back or refer others.
Seem like a stretch to relate this back to your business? Consider this:
- It sets the tone and expectations: A beautiful, well-lit parking garage tells you that you are in a nice place and sets the expectations for an enjoyable experience. What is your first impression with clients? Are you on time, well dressed and prepared or are you late, frazzled and distracted? Do you follow-up after the appointment with a thank you note and email summarizing the meeting and next steps? Or are you on to the next one leaving the client to figure out what’s next? These 2 experiences are the book ends of your client relationship and effect everything that happens in between.
- Make it easy for your clients: Jim talked about having a ramp at the side of the garage so that you can turn off on the level you want rather than spiraling down via hairpin turns that make you nauseous. The support columns will be place at the head of the parking stall rather than the middle so that you are less likely to hit them with your car. How do you make it easy for your client? Do you send them marketing and closing timelines so that they know what will be happening when?
- Make them feel safe and valued: They paint the garage white and light it so that their clients feel safe and not like they are in a dungeon waiting for someone to leap out from behind the next corner. Not only does it make their consumer feel safe, but it sends a message that they are valued and they genuinely want them there. Do your clients feel like they are participating in the wild west of real estate or do they feel safe and secure knowing that you have a process? A process let’s your clients know that their interests are protected and you value them as a person vs viewing them as your next paycheck.
- Make it easy for them to find you: In this next phase they are adding more elevators making it easier to access amenities. Do your clients know when they can reach you? Do you have regular communication schedules such as Monday listing updates? Don’t make them work too hard for the info.
Ever wonder why it seems like you are trying it push a boulder uphill in your business? Maybe you are blocking your momentum by ignoring seemingly small things that make a big difference.
Take a few minutes to look at your business from your clients perspective. What are the seemingly small things that are actually opportunities to have a huge impact?
Sometimes the solution to growing your business is easier and closer than you think.
Nicole Mangina is a Windermere Real Estate broker on the Eastside out of the Bellevue Commons office. She is also a success mentor who coaches you through the three keys to success and achieving your goals. Visit her real estate website and her website, The Success Perspective. If you have any questions about her work, feel free to email her at nicole at nicolemangina dot com
Make sure you check out her original blog post!