Friday, August 19, 2005

Setting the right expectations

Real estate agents aren't the only ones with this problem but recent experience has highlighted it to me.

My wife and I are looking for a new place to rent and we have been talking to agents around London.

We have given them our budget, preferred location, required specs, etc. "Oh yes," they say. "We have properties that meet your needs." So then we spend time discussing various properties, going off to view them and arranging times to see other properties. Problem is, the agents have set expectations that what they will show us will fit our needs. However, the reality doesn't match what they have said.

But worst off all is when the agents set the expectations that they should be able to negotiate a with the landlord to come to a price close to offer. But again, the reality is not very close. Most can't get halfway.

The end result is that any agents who mess us around are immediately 'dropped' from our list of people to deal with. There are plenty more to fill their place. And that's the strange thing. Competition is high so you would think that makes customer service an obvious way to create a point of difference. But they choose to ignore customer service in turn trying to keep you in their grasp long enough to find you something that will fit your needs.

No wonder more landlords, vendors, tenants and buyers are turning to the private market!

But, as I said at the beginning, real estate agents are not the only ones guilty of setting expectations and then failing to deliver. Look at your marketing - your call centre, your website, brochures, etc. What messages are you delivering to your market? And are you able to back them up? If not, how are you going to deliver on those messages? Remember, here's your chance to create an advantage, a unique selling point.