Over this last weekend I was in Seattle visiting a friend that has a catering business in Seattle. His business is strictly high end and he does zero advertising! Everything is word of mouth and he is booked up well in advance...even during the last few years he was booked when others were trying to figure out what hit them. The secret to his success; keep the overhead low, provide a premium product and be sure your level of service and customer response is very high. He does so well that some others have even asked to borrow his staff and have him consult on their events. But his main emphasis is service! His staff is specifically hired because fo their ability to relate to people. He allows the lowest waiter authority to solve a problem, on the spot and of course my friend is personally involved.
Our business can be a lot like that. There are two basic styles...transactional (get it, book it and move on) and relational (keep a longer term relationship, make the client part of a client community of which you are the hub). It is not easy to do and requires work... but the payoff is your business will soar... the transactional type may beat you in $$ today and even tomorrow but the relational type approach will keep you going in good and bad times and your business will grow. Advertising becomes less important and is replaced by client contacts, personal notes, visits and constant written contact. More meaningful than a trickle email and most "social media" ideas are only a tool rather than an end. But the business and opportunity are there.
When I left my friend we had agreed in his business that you could have excellent food and crappy service and you will be quickly burned out. But you can have mediocre food and first rate service and people will give you a second chance or even better recommend you. Same is true in our business you can get someone a hot deal but provide poor service and you will be remembered but not the way you want.... or as my dad used to remind me...the customer is always #1
Perrin Cornell, Broker, ABR
Century 21 Exclusively
Wenatchee, WA 98801