The Expertise Opportunity | The Zebra Blog

The Expertise Opportunity

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For this week’s Zebra Report, I’d like to start off with a quick exercise. Ready?

Think about the last vendor you were really impressed with. It could be a lender, inspector, or it may not even be someone in the real estate industry. It could be a florist, an interior designer, an accountant, or even your insurance representative. Who was it and what was it about that particular interaction that was so memorable?

I will give you a hint. It probably came down to two things – expertise and time.

We love people who have expertise at their jobs. Think about the last time you called into your cell phone carrier with a problem that needed to be solved. There is usually a feeling we get when we are on the phone with someone we know has no hope of being able to solve our problem. But there is a feeling of relief we get when someone swoops in and saves the day. It can even be something as simple as ordering flowers. Would you rather go to a florist and have to pick out lilies and baby’s breath or would you rather let the florist know the occasion, color palette and your budget and let the experts create a memorable bouquet?

Time is the second component. When vendors give you their time, whether or not they are getting paid, it shows they care about helping solve a problem and being a resource. Time says, “you are important.”

My insurance representative calls me every year to schedule an appointment to review my insurance needs. Our lives change each and every year. Think about October 8, 2014 and how much your life has changed since then. Did your family grow? Did any kids go off to college? Did your parents or loved ones pass? Did you get a new car? Sell a car? Have a car accident? Quit smoking? Obtain new jewelry or artwork? A lot can happen in a year and I welcome the opportunity to meet with my insurance representative to learn about insurance that I may not need anymore along with potential exposures that have developed in the past twelve months. There is no charge for this time and my insurance representative proves his competency year after year, looking out for my best interests.

Same with my doctor. I utilize his time and expertise every year when I have an annual physical. His office even calls me to remind me it is time to schedule.

I appreciate it when the heating and cooling experts call to schedule annual service on my furnace and heat pump. Yes, I know there is a fee involved, but preventative maintenance is a lot less expensive than learning I have no heat on a wintry Saturday morning. And I appreciate the time they take to explain what I can do to better-maintain my system once the inspection is over.

Sure I can simply call my insurance representative when a shopping cart hits my car in a parking lot, I can call my doctor when I get sick, and I can make that emergency call in the dead of winter, but because these vendors have reached out to me and indicated they care about my investment and our relationship, I take advantage of this offer of their time and I utilize their expertise.

I refer my insurance rep. I refer my doctor. I refer my heating and cooling experts. I have probably made the vendors I refer a lot of money over the years, but they have earned it by taking the time to build that relationship with me.

As we head into fall, I encourage you to think about your expertise and your investment of time in your past clients. They have likely invested in what is their greatest asset with you as the navigator. As a homeowner, I would be thrilled if my agent contacted me to review my investment on an annual basis, just like my financial planner does. Even if my asset depreciated, I would want to know.

When you invest your time and expertise, especially when you are not getting paid, people talk about it. That is how relationships are built and referrals happen…naturally…without having to ask for them. If asking for referrals makes your skin crawl (and it did mine!), then stop asking and instead invest your expertise and time in your past clients with an annual review of their property. Prepare an Annual Client Review report, and sit down with your past clients to go over it. They will be appreciative, impressed, and you will be top of mind when they are ready to make a move or know someone else who is.


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