In any business, there is something that you as an individual should strive to be known for and that is your “expert status”. When I say this I’m not talking about putting yourself above another person or about being better than another individual.
What I am talking about is merely that when someone thinks about your niche or a particular real estate investing strategy, it should be you or your company that they immediately think about; it should be the one that comes to their mind first.
Once you have begun to carve out that name for yourself and your business, it’s imperative that you guard your reputation like your life depends on it because it does.
How Do You Get To Be This Person With Expert Status?
Now you might be thinking. “There are a million real estate investors out there I’m competing with.” Well maybe not a million, but there are certainly a lot. Yet there are always certain people that come to mind when you think of a particular niche or a specific type of information that you need. These are those folks that you think of as the experts in your field. So how do you get known as the expert in your field?
There are a number of ways that you can achieve expert status; specific steps you can take to stand out from the crowd. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen over time if you have a plan. I believe the biggest way is just to put yourself out there and network with like-minded individuals. Be the person that represents your niche. Get known in your industry.
It used to be that you had to belong to a lot of different groups and attend those meetings. Face to face networking is still very important, but the internet has opened up a whole new world to us. It’s vital to your success that you get good at networking to build and nurture those relationships both online and offline. The internet has opened many doors for me, and it can do exactly the same thing for you.
3 Ways To Strut Your Stuff
- Start a blog. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just do it. Begin to share your knowledge with other people. Give freely of what you know. Mentor other real estate investors that show up and interact with you.
- Write Articles and post them on article sites.
- Comment on other industry blogs and in forums. Offer quality comments. Simply saying “great job” won’t cut when it comes to comments.
The Importance of Protecting Your Expert Status
I was reminded a few days ago of just how quickly you can lose ground when it comes to being thought of as “the expert”. It takes so long to build your credibility and be respected in your field, and it can be gone in a flash.
I was dealing with a company that I have worked with for over a year now, and one that I have often recommended. They have been a valuable member of my team in a number of ways. But recently I have begun to see problems where none existed before. They have some folks working at their company that – simply put – just aren’t very good at what they do. They can’t seem to get the details right. They make the same mistakes over and over. Up until this point If you had asked me for a recommendation, I would have told you that their customer service was exemplary.
So What Changed?
Several times in the past few weeks, I have discussed a particular project with them and detailed exactly what I needed from them. This particular person who we will call Susan “got it”. I knew that she understood my business and exactly what I needed and would be expecting.
Since the next step (actually doing the work) wasn’t her job, she passed me along to the appropriate person that we will can Jan. This is where the problems started. Somehow, the entire communication I had with my original contact was either not passed on to Jan or she didn’t understand the specifics. So when my work was delivered a week later it was completely wrong. I contacted Jan and told her exactly what the problem was. There was no apology, but she said she would get to work on the changes and get back to me in a day or two. 8 days later when I hadn’t received anything, I sent an email inquiring about my project. Jan replied and simply said that I would have it in the morning. There was no explanation and once again there was no apology; just silence.
Well, I got it back the next day it was still wrong; in fact it was done exactly the same way it was done the first time. There are several things going on here:
- A lack of communication between the two people in that company; that is obvious.
- No review of the original (incorrect) work against the new work.
- Zero understanding of my business by Jan who is person #2.
- No concept of the value of a long term repeat customer.
Can you see what has happened here? I have lost faith in this company to meet my needs without constant micro-managing which I don’t have the time or the desire to do. Their “expert status” has been compromised. That is something that you just can’t allow to happen in your business.
So What’s the Solution Here?
If this company is going to cater to real estate investors as one of their many niches, they had better be sure to have someone on staff that understands this business. Since they are a big company, they need a real estate specialist.
You need to be absolutely sure that each person in your company is representing your brand authentically with every contact.
Here Are 3 Tips For Your Business
- Forget about trying to work short staffed and juggle so many hats that you start dropping the ball. People have a lot of choices when it comes to selecting a business to work with. You want them to choose you.
- Don’t grow so fast you fail to properly train your staff members. This is a recipe for disaster. You can see all of your hard work go down the drain pretty quickly if you mess up on this step. It’s not really their fault if you didn’t train them properly.
- Select the right team members from the beginning. Don’t rush the hiring process. You need to make sure that the person you select has the same values and company culture that you have.
The one thing I have noticed that is different about “Jan” is that unlike the rest of the people I have dealt with in this particular company, she doesn’t seem to care that she messed up the whole project. There were no apologies; no “I’m so sorry; I will fix this right away ”. She just doesn’t fit with the existing company culture, and she has just about driven me away as a customer.
There will always be problems. Have a plan to fix them quickly, and always be sure to quickly say “I’m sorry”.
Photo: Alan Cleaver