AgentIndustry Voices

Lessons brokers can learn from non-real estate companies

The way these companies conduct business offers a range of lessons real estate professionals can draw from

Life is busy, and it can be easy to get so focused on our own world and our own issues that we need to take a step back and look at things from a different angle. Let’s look at the way six companies that operate outside of a real estate function, see what we can learn from them, and apply those lessons to make us better than we are today.

1. Chick-fil-A

While Chick-fil-A proclaims that they have perfected the chicken sandwich, it is their customer service that sets them apart from others in the fast-food industry. Their employees say, “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome,” but their overall attentiveness, pleasantness and professional appearance are elements of customer service that sets them apart.

Bottom line, true or not, it seems like they care and are trying, and the appearance of effort goes a long way. How do your customers perceive the efforts of your team?

2. Buccee’s

Gasoline is a commodity. It is the same thing from one gas station to the other. However, my
son wears a hat with a gas station logo, posted a picture from a gas station on his social media and went so far as to call me to tell me I had to go to Buccee’s.

This is a gas station that is about so much more than gasoline. They have multiple fuel pumps …

And they claim they have the cleanest bathrooms …

And they have fresh BBQ brisket and excellent food items …

And they sell their own logo merchandise on clothes and coolers and blankets …

And they have multiple flavors of their own branded snacks, candies and jerky …

And they have an entire team on-site willing to help.

They have made their business about more than just gasoline. How can you provide more than just mortgages to your customers?

3. Southwest Airlines

According to JD Power and Associates, Southwest Airlines consistently ranks near the top, if not the top, of the list for customer service in the airline industry. But when December 2022 came around, an issue was exposed.

Bad weather hit and all of the airlines had troubles with delays and cancelations, but Southwest seemed to have more issues than the other airlines. It turns out their software had not been updated, enhanced or improved — and this left them in a lurch.

We need our technology and people to be working efficiently to keep up with today’s market demands. Has your technology been updated and are your people fully trained to utilize it?

4. Apple

I am biased. I like Apple products. I am typing on a MacBook Air right now and I have an
iPhone (not sure which version). What makes Apple so relevant is that they, unlike
Blockbuster, have never rested on their laurels. They continue to evolve their products and add new products.

IPad is on version 16, iPhone is on version 14, there are 8 versions of the Apple Watch and iOS is on version 17. They make something, sell it and are immediately looking to make it better, more efficient, and improved.

Are your technology, staff, communications and culture continuing to evolve to become better — or are you doing the same way as you always have?

5. TikTok

Love them or hate them, we can all learn from TikTok. And what we learn is people are visual
and like video.

As reluctant as many people are about using video calls, Zoom and creating marketing videos – video works. Video is the channel that people flock to.

Have you overcome your video apprehension?

6. National Association of Realtors (NAR)

In 2022, the NAR was the nation’s largest lobbying spender at over $84 million, and the
takeaway is glaring. What the government does on a local, state and national level has a direct, immediate and large impact on the real estate and mortgage industries.

The mortgage broker world has had a rejuvenation and major expansion over the last few years due to changes in laws and policies. Are you engaged at all levels of politics, making your voice heard and making quick changes to capitalize on new rules and regulations?

Lessons to learn from

While these companies aren’t real estate-focused, the way they conduct business still offers a range of lessons real estate professionals can draw from. In summary, it may benefit those in the real estate industry to:

  • Review every element of the customer experience.
  • Be about more than just your product.
  • Update your technology.
  • Continue to evolve and examine customer wants.
  • Embrace video.
  • Work with the government.

Steve Richman has spoken in every state to more than 500,000 professionals at more than 1,000 companies. He draws on his experiences as a litigation attorney, business consultant, account executive, loan officer, disc jockey, father, and husband to deliver a practical message.

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