Those of us who are in sales need to develop relationships with our customers and / or our referral partners in order to earn business and develop loyalty, who you know. In situations when I have been the consumer, I have turned to people who were experts on the product I was buying and then rewarded that expert by buying from them because of what they know. People who take the time to educate themselves on the products they sell can then offer a better buying experience to the consumer and I believe that should be rewarded.
My pet peeve are the sales people who get business simply because of who they know despite a lack of what they know. Admittedly I am jealous of the business they get, but I also can't help but feel sorry for their clients who don't really get very good service. This wouldn't be such a big deal if we were just talking about toilet paper, but we are talking about buying and financing real estate and using the wrong people can ultimately cost thousands of dollars. Even if the consumer gets lucky and doesn't pay any more, I believe the consumer deserves a competent professional who can provide the expertise they deserve.
I know three top producing loan officers who each close 15 transactions or more per month and I know either from first hand knowledge or because I know people who worked for them that these loan officers don't really know the business that well. In fact, I have heard that these loan officers don't fill out their loan applications and they don't understand the basics of a loan, let alone advanced mortgage planning strategies. The only reason they get so much business is because of who they know. Good for them that they have developed these relationships, but it seems like such a disservice to the client that a Realtor or builder would refer a client to a loan officer that doesn't really know the business and, therefore, can't offer the best service.
In my opinion, customers deserve to deal with professionals that can explain all aspects of the transaction to them and any choices they may have. Continuing education, formal or informal, should be the norm, not the exception. We should expect excellence and honesty from everyone in all of our dealings and when the occasion occurs that we fall short, we should accept the responsibility and make it right. Don't get me wrong, relationships are important and having a good relationship with a processor and underwriter can help get things done more quickly. However, we shouldn't rely solely on our relationships; it is a disservice to the customer. We need to provide excellence. What do you think? Should it be more about who you know or what you know? Please share your thoughts and comments for all to see.