Some readers may recognize already that my brother, Kevin McKenzie, and I are both blogging for AllBusiness.com; he on the restaurant page, me here in real estate. Aside from our obvious familial ties, I am finding interesting and compelling parallels in the topics we write about. No, we’re not getting on the phone to coordinate subject matter. Still, as I read his talking points, I see commonalities pertinent to my own experiences in real estate.
We share professional common ground in that I studied and worked in the hospitality industry both in Europe and when I returned to the United States in the early eighties. In fact, at the tender age of twenty three, I co-managed the food service efforts for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee at its UCLA athlete village during the 1984 games. My small team of co-managers and I oversaw daily service of approximately ten thousand meals.
I also worked with and for Kevin in his catering kitchen on a few occasions. My point is this. I get his perspective, both as someone who knows what life in the kitchen or front room looks like and as a professional who continues to be of service to his clients. In Kevin’s posting, “I hate to admit this”, he makes a statement of fundamental importance to any small business’s bottom line, “I believe it is very important to have a vision for who you want to serve when you create a business and then stick to your guns.” I don’t think there’s anything more crucial to insuring a successful, fruitful and lasting career.
Kevin’s customers are Wine Country culinary enthusiasts, a demographic of typically well-heeled, cultured food and wine aficionados who presume certain expectations when it comes to quality of product and service. My real estate clients in Seattle are similar. Well educated and hands-on with their personal finances, they chose to work with me because they are confident I will provide a service which places their needs and expectations at the forefront. They expect of me a combination of skill, knowledge and professionalism serving to protect their investments of time and money.
I have been very deliberate in determining the caliber of client I attract. In my early business plans, I articulated an exact description of the buyer or seller I wished to represent. I bracketed price ranges, neighborhoods, employment sectors, anything which helped solidify for me the characteristics, if you will, of my perfect client. Why did I do this? I am motivated by a desire to succeed and believe firmly that if you have a well-defined understanding of who it is your business is supporting, not only will you attract that business, but it will come more easily, flow more naturally and lead to greater ease in the process. Furthermore, satisfied clients or customers become your referral base and a referral-based business is one which is working for you.
Brian Buffini and his organization are the leaders in real estate coaching. I attended one of his seminars many years ago during which he related a story which resonated thoroughly for me. He cultivated a couple dozen or so key clients who, through the year he knew would each refer three or four new clients to him. This consistency made it possible for him to project a predictable and significant annual revenue stream. Consistency is the key to success in real estate and it comes from knowing your clients, their needs and expectations and how best to provide them with your highest level of service.