Ask An Ambassador: Does Your Performance Match Your Claims?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747

A few years back my wife and I needed some housepainting done.  The work included both exterior trim and interior work.  Not the biggest job in the world but not the smallest.  A friend highly recommended a painter and we hired him.

Ultimately the work got done, but the performance and attitude just didn't match up with the 5 star recommendation.  The painter didn't make our list of contractors to recommend.

Flash forward a few years and buyer clients from out of town wanted some recommendations for painting their new patio home.  We did some research and found two highly reviewed and recommended area painters and provided names and contact numbers to our clients.

The result?  Despite the many great reviews for both, ONLY 1 of the 2 bothered to respond to our buyers.  The one that did respond came out for the quote and promised a response by that evening.  If he lives up to his promises, the painter will have the job.

Perhaps the non-responding painter has a very valid reason for not responding.  Family emergency?  A tech glitch that kept the message from getting through? 

But for the buyers, none of that matters.  One responded, one is getting hired.

Now admittedly online reviews are a bit of a stacked deck and just a starting point in a hiring decision.

What business person is going to reach out to the absolute worst client they've had in the last 5 years and ask for a review on Google or Zillow or wherever else they prefer?  And I recognize that no matter how good a person or company is, there's going to be that ONE person that's going to be an issue.  I am not a firm believer in "the customer is ALWAYS right".  Sometimes the customer wants you to do things you can't legally or ethically do, and might just be ticked that you won't do as they say.

The bottom line?  Does your real life performance close to matching up with your online persona?  Your blog posts, your online reviews, your comments, your Facebook posts, all that and more add up to creating an impression of how you'll perform and set up an expectation for referral partners and potential clients.

And the confirmation starts early in the process with something as simple as responding to an email or answering a phone call.  Personally I despise robocallers and it would be easier to just let everything go to voicemail and hope for a message.  But whenever possible, I answer and proceed from there, because sometimes that call is from an agent with a referral or an out of area home buyer. 

I know not everyone will leave a message, and too often those callers have a list of candidates and the first agent to answer the phone wins.

Answering the phone is just part of making sure my real life performance matches up with the online promises.

And of course there are other tests.  If you claim a speciality, the customer is going to quickly figure out if your knowledge doesn't match the claim. 

We're in a profession that is rife with people claiming to be gurus to the agents, and all too often when the rubber meets the road you find out they're snake oil salespeople.

It's a match game, claims vs. reality. 

Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,

Bill of Bill & Liz aka BLiz

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas


The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
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Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

It's a puzzle. Apparently they have so much business they don't need any new clients. Sure, that must be it.  

Jan 29, 2020 08:40 AM #15
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Sometimes it doesn’t matter who is the best it’s who answers first.

Jan 29, 2020 10:28 AM #16
John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

I was on a training call today covering this very topic - ANSWER THE PHONE!!  

Re: surveys, I use a platform called SocialSurvey- EVERY closed client gets a survey, so there's no hiding or filtering only our clients who were absolute joys to work with.  The platform is great at accurate portrayal of working with someone

Jan 29, 2020 11:08 AM #17
Kurt Uhlir
Showcase IDX - Roswell, GA
Real Estate Marketing Coach & Speaker

I'm amazed at how many agents do not answer the phone and how many do not reply to emails within a few days, much less a few minutes or hours. It's one of the questions I ask at talks and it's incredible 1) the honesty of agents that humbly admit they miss the bar and 2) sometimes it's 80% admit they almost never answer the phone if they don't know the number. 

Simply hiring a VA to answer may not be as personal as picking up yourself but can have a huge impact.

Love your examples of the painters. Just had a minor roof repair done and it was the GC that answered that got my business.

Jan 29, 2020 12:30 PM #18
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Sobering thoughts for anyone who puffs up more than can be delivered.  Thanks!

Jan 29, 2020 03:50 PM #19
Peter Mohylsky, Beach Expert
PrimeSouth Properties - Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Surprise, surprise.  Welcome to the world of being too busy to respond.

Jan 29, 2020 07:03 PM #20
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Liz and Bill Spear 
So true - "as simple as responding to an email or answering a phone call" and yet not everyone does that. All the best - Lynn

Jan 30, 2020 01:12 AM #21
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

It makes so much sense Liz!

I recognize that no matter how good a person or company is, there's going to be that ONE person that's going to be an issue.  I am not a firm believer in "the customer is ALWAYS right".  Sometimes the customer wants you to do things you can't legally or ethically do, and might just be ticked that you won't do as they say.

Jan 30, 2020 04:21 AM #22
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

It's really a tough road out there with recommendations. You need them but again, it ends up not matching your results like your painter. In fact, I won't even recommend painters anymore. There is something terribly wrong with how they do business. They never return calls, complete bids & show up when they are supposed to.

I do go check them out before I begin work, go to eat, etc. I do use them but sometimes they are not very valuable for a 'complete body of work'. One whiner sometimes can do alot of damage for totally ridiculous expectations 'they were out of straws' at Micky D's.'

Jan 30, 2020 07:21 AM #23
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

I just now saw this but I kinda touched on it in the latest QA about listings/closings.

You CAN'T take 'to the bank' what someone says about someone else or themself.

You can only EXPERIENCE what is real for you--and it is subjective even then.

Jan 30, 2020 07:43 AM #24
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


You raise some excellent points about performance vs. claims and reviews. I have had a couple of experiences with vendors that came highly recommended but did not respond or deliver. Sometimes mistakes get made but it's certainly frustrating when the results are not as advertised or deliver. But then there are those who under-promise add over-deliver.

And unfortunately expectations not being met happened a couple of times (only) regarding real estate referrals. I am pretty careful about any referrals I make, in the business or outside.


Jan 30, 2020 10:50 AM #25
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

I often wonder why people really don't answer the phone. I realize we are busy professionals, however when we complete a project (showing properties, meeting with a prospective client, or doing a CMA, etc.,) we are usually going to then get in our car and do some possible errands before heading out to the "next" appointment. It's during that time we should be checking our cell and getting back to anyone who contacted us.  I make it a habit to set a little CUSH TIME in between my appointments for exactly that.  I do my best to be the professional other's say I am.  Otherwise, my question is "What's the Point?" "Why bother trying to get business if you are going to then ignore the very persons who you are trying to do business with?  I am stumped.  Just does not make DOLLARS or CENTS!  IMHO

Jan 31, 2020 07:26 PM #26
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

Several things in this post hit home with me.

1. AATP= always answer the phone. If you can't, have an answering service with the ability to schedule and answer questions for you. 

2. Show up when you are scheduled to show up. No lame excuse. Get so well known for showing up that people comment if by a fluke you're late. And if you will be late, have the courtesy to call before the appointment time.

3. I will only refer a vendor (HVAC, Cconcrete repair, exterior siding, roofer etc) once if I find out they can't perform a basic business function like I mentioned. It refelects so poorly on me that I can't let my client think "Hmmm, does Scott think this guy is a good referral? He's gotta be nuts."

Feb 01, 2020 05:00 AM #27
Theresa Akin

My husband's company had purchased a new building instead of leasing. I was happy to represent them. After a couple years they wanted a new roof. I gave them a list of a few with of course best at top from work I've seen and was also referred. Took couple days for 3/5 including the top to respond. Husband's company chose of course the top one after seeing their work on nearby building on same street. More expensive but quality they had seen looked great. Owner and his wife of company wanted to see the 'new' building and she wanted to do some interior furnishings. They invited my husband and I both ( akind gesture I thought). It was my first time meeting her and we hit it off pretty well. We both arrived at the office and so ironic, great minds think alike, when we got out of the cars, she said as I thought; building color looks like that of a newborn baby's butt and the roof is horrible. We both looked at the buildings on each side and across the street. We had conversations with a couple and asked if they could give an idea of their cost. We looked up the number and she asked owners of the roofing company why the difference when all the roofs were done with in 18 months of each other and ours looked like a 5 year old could've done better. She demanded they get out there and look at it. Problem was husband already approved and okayed payment. 2 weeks later a torrential downpour and every room in the office and the warehouse had leaks. She demanded they replaced the whole roof or they could go to court. It was going to require her approval. Her father was the founder of the company so she always had final word and didn't let anyone forget it. 

Feb 01, 2020 05:09 AM #28
Don Baker
Lane Realty - Eatonton, GA

Communication is key for sure.  If you say you are going to do it you better let them know why if you don't.

Feb 01, 2020 09:17 AM #29
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

You know the very best review I ever got (IMO) is a young first time home buyer who said "she answers questions right before I ask them".  That coming from a proclaimed first time buyer has been mentioned to me over and over again as I've helped others through the process.  

I seriously try to surpass my best reviews every time.  And furthermore I don't run around claiming a bunch of production I don't do.  I just got a referral and I explained to her I don't have the "big giant" production numbers because I a) run and office b) am also an instructor and c) only work on a referral or past client deal because I have "agents for leads".  

Feb 01, 2020 09:33 AM #30
Greg Mona
Revelation Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Great, thought-provoking post, Liz and Bill Spear


First, I do read reviews of a prospective business I may want to use. I believe most reviews are accurate, so while there may be some that are padded and some unnecessarily brutal, you'll get the general idea of the business's performance. The same holds true with us brokers/agents.


As for recommending businesses to our clients, it is a good practice to suggest a few versus only one. That can be a slippery slope if their performance had fallen off since the last time you had used them for anything. It's best to provide our clients with a choice.


As for answering the phone or not, while the robocalls and general solicitations are a "PITA" to deal with, the number one complaint against Realtors is a lack of or poor communication. Because of that, I tend to choose to answer my phone. You never know when that person on the other end could end up being a future client.

Feb 01, 2020 10:10 AM #31
Thom Abbott |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

This brings my roofing fiasco of 2019 to mind. The roofer had glowing reviews and I could not possibly of had a bigger disaster than I had. 

Feb 01, 2020 07:03 PM #32
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

In these days of robocallers, answering our phones is more annoying than it used to be, but I firmly believe people want results when they pick up the phone, so I do my best to answer as often as possible.     Or at least call people back on the same day!

Feb 02, 2020 09:52 AM #33
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I recently contacted two fence companies--recommended to me by an agent I know who has worked with them--and neither of them returned my call.  I understand if you are SO busy but don't even bother to make a quick call back? Forget it.  I try not to let online reviews for contractors sway me too much. Would rather  hear feedback from people Iknow who actually used the service

Feb 03, 2020 07:04 AM #34
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