How to Profit in any Market

Education & Training with Berman & Pollinger, LLC.

The magazine, Fast Company, recently declared that Americans are becoming a nation of "free agents". They described a generation of consultants and professionals, all selling their services for the length of a project or until a problem is solved. That brings tremendous freedom, and new responsibilities to run our careers as businesses! Unfortunately, many "free agents" have never run a profitable business. The following are my list of critical issues in creating a career/business that will remain profitable for years to come.

  1. Customer Benefits. You and your customers must clearly understand the benefits that your services provide. What are the 5 benefits of working with you vs. anyone else in your market place? Can you communicate that clearly? Customers buy benefits.
  2. Extra Value. Customers must receive more in value than you charge for your services. Most of us don't want a "fair" exchange; we want a bargain, the sense that we got extra value for our money. Can you communicate the 5 extra your customers get from you?
  3. Superb Service. This means attention to detail. Answering the phone on the first ring, providing an 800 number and 24-hour customer service numbers are examples. L.L. Bean has made a fortune with it's "no questions" guarantee. Do you have a guarantee?
  4. Know your Audience. Who are you 5 best customer types.
  5. Location. In the old days, this meant the street address of your shop or store. Now it means getting your marketing messages into your customer's hands when and where they are receptive. Be certain your website is located at the top of the search engines.
  6. Convenience. Customers expect to shop at their convenience, to pay by credit card, to call an 800-number, and to have their questions answered correctly the first time. Make it easy to contact you!
  7. Innovation. New is good, newer is better. Customers expect the benefits of the most modern technology. At a minimum, they expect the convenience of email, voice mail, and efax. If there is a faster, better, cheaper and more reliable way to do it, adopt cutting edge techniques before your competition does!
  8. Reliability. Consumers assume they can rely on your services. If they are purchasing your time and expertise, they rely on your availability, your advice, your attention to detail, and your follow-through. Durability may be less important in a throwaway age, but consumers demand 100% reliability. Be there for them every single time!
  9. Planning. Planning takes on strange twists when a computer chip "generation" lasts 6 months and a website may be "old" in 6 weeks. Planning is the ability to monitor, influence, and profit from change. Planning means having a mission statement and the flexibility to respond instantly when new information allows you to fulfill your mission more effectively. Planning means you control your destiny.
  10. Communication. This means instant, 2-way communication between every level and every branch of an enterprise. It means communicating with your vendors and competitors, and working with your customers so they become your most important designers, researchers and customer service experts. It means an "open door" policy and flat organizational models. It means listening is more important than speaking. It means ideas rule the world.


Carpe diem,


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Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

Hey, Chris. All wonderful points. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with everyone. I hope that you and your family have an awesome week, Jim

Jul 16, 2008 03:13 AM #1
Meli Gerogianis
JKA Properties (Meli G Realty & Investment Group) - Clarksville, TN
Broker, CRS, ABR, SFR, CDPE, Licensed in TN & KY

Well put! I am a new agent and I found that very informative and inspirational! I enjoyed it so much that I printed your blog and put it on my board so I can remind myself of what I need to aim at and how to better service my clients. Thank you!

Jul 16, 2008 03:43 AM #2
Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing

Chris, I love how your blog has evloved into really usable content.  This is one that I'll bookmark. Thanks!

Jul 16, 2008 01:55 PM #3
Sue Rutherford

Chris, you definately have some great points here.  A lot has changed, especially in the last few years , thanks to technology. It's definately important for agents to think differently and act in a way that fits today's marketplace.

Your point #6 about being reachable was of particular interest to me since I work for a company that helps with that need. Making your clients cycle through several phone numbers to try and find you when they need you is fairly common, but it's not a best practice. As you say a couple of times, it's better to have an 800 number. The question is, if you're out of the office when a client calls that number can they still reach you?  They can't with a regular phone company 800 number, but they can if you are using a hosted PBX service like our my1voice ( Not only do these services let you create phone extensions off a single 800 number, they also let you forward calls to your home, another office, or a cell phone. You can either have them ring in sequence or all at once, making you a lot more convenient to reach than you are with a traditional phone number. You can even put two separate offices on the same phone number (up to a certain number of users) which helps with branding too.

They don't cost much either. Our my1voice starts at just $10./ month for a single user, and goes up to $50 a month for 15 extensions. Making one additional sale in a year because you could be reached in a convenient and timely way more than pays for it. It's certainly something to consider.

Jul 17, 2008 05:17 AM #4
Barbara "Barb" Bodnar, Licensed Associate RE Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Yorktown, NY
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


All points are well taken.  Service and professionalism are key in any market.



Associate Broker

Dec 20, 2008 01:03 PM #5
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Chris,

Some interesting trends, and some good advice.

Thanks for the post. I am reading it several years later, but it still has value


Jun 24, 2011 10:34 PM #6
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Chris Pollinger

Consulting for Luxury Teams and Brokerages
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