Category Archives: business tips

One Question You Must Ask Clients

One Question You Need To Ask?

Communication is key, whether it’s a business or personal relationship.  If you have something to say, you certainly want your message to be received, don’t you?

So it is important to ask people this one simple yet specific question, a question that could make or break you.

Want to know what it is?  Here you go:

“WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED METHOD OF COMMUNICATION?”

Let’s face it, what you say, and when you say it are important, but nothing is more critical than how you say it.  As the old saying goes, if you give the people what they want, they’ll keep coming back for more.

PHONE, TEXT, OR EMAIL?

Remember, this isn’t about me or you, it’s about those around us. Some people love email, while others rather text. There are also many folks that still prefer speaking by phone or face to face.

While many of us don’t give it much thought, it is important to recognize how other people prefer to get their information, otherwise the message can get lost.

My parents learned the hard way as they continued for years to try to call my kids by phone. They grew frustrated at the lack of response until I suggested they start texting instead. Now, communication between the two generations has never been better.

Even if you have a preferred method to communicate, the people around you may prefer a different way.  By asking this one simple question, it could make a huge impact and lead to better relationships with those around you.

So please, get in the habit of asking your clients how they would prefer to communicate. It will make a huge impact.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

The above information is compliments of The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. They specialize in Solon luxury homes, relocation, and first-time buyers.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or 216-403-9189 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

The Schumans service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Aurora, Bainbridge, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Woodmere. We would be happy to refer you to a qualified agent if you are buying in an area that we do not service.

One Question You Must Ask Your Clients is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent.©October, 2015

So You Think You Give Great Service?

 

 

If we polled 100 business professionals, I bet over 95% would say they give their clients great customer service. But are we really as good as we think we are?

What prompted this post was a bad experience I had recently with a local printing company. I had used them before and worked directly with the owner, so I felt there would be no problems. Unfortunately, after receiving poor service I had to take my business elsewhere. This could have easily been avoided with just a little effort.

WHAT MOST PEOPLE DO WRONG

I was never asked questions up front regarding what I wanted in terms of service.  In my mind, how can you meet and exceed someone’s expectations if you don’t define them upfront?

To make matters worse, when I told the owner I was unhappy, he was shocked and a little defensive.  In his mind he was giving me great service and even told me as much. There was obviously a huge disconnect between what he thought I wanted and what was actually going to make me happy.

He confused giving me a great price as giving me great service, which was not the case. It just so happens that my project was very time-sensitive and speed was more important than price to me. The failure to recognize this caused the printer to lose my business.

COMMON MISTAKES THAT COST US BUSINESS

During the time we worked together, I noticed that the printer made many mistakes that business people make every day. He:

1. Failed to ask me up front what was important to me.

2. Told me that he was swamped every time I spoke with him – making me feel that my business wasn’t important.

3. Didn’t communicate with me proactively, making me call him for a status.

4. Didn’t offer to correct the problem.

5. Failed to recognize he gave me a bad experience.

 

In our real estate business, we ask our clients a lot of questions up front regarding their expectations.  Our belief is that if you don’t know specifically what will make a client happy, how in the world can you properly service them.

Plus, every client is different. Some want constant communication, while others don’t want to be bothered unless it’s an emergency. Many people prefer to communicate by email or text, but some still like the personal aspect of a phone call or face to face meeting. Everyone has a different definition of “great service”, so without asking what they want, you’ll have a tough time giving them a truly memorable experience.

When it comes to customer service, asking the right questions and communicating effectively are the keys to success.  The ability to do these things well will make a huge difference to your bottom line.

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About The Authors

The above information is compliments of The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or 216-403-9189 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

The Schumans service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

So you think you give great service? is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©January,2012

A Secret LinkedIn Tip You Must Start Using

Although we tend to write quite a bit about real estate in our posts, we occasionally offer business tips to our corporate contacts and sphere.

Here’s one that could have a huge impact on your business:

 

***  RECOMMEND SOMEONE ***


Sure, it’s rather simple, but could be beneficial for both you and your contacts.

Why Recommend Someone?

  • It may help them obtain business or get a job.
  • It helps build their profile.
  • The recommendation gets announced to their contacts.
  • A way to show appreciation to someone that has been good to you.
  • It will make their day and they will remember you for it.

Who should You Recommend?

  • Former Colleagues or Co-workers.
  • Affiliates, in our case inspectors, lenders and title companies.
  • Current or past clients.
  • Fellow board members or people that network with you.
  • Someone with less than 3 recommendations, as this may significantly build their LI profile.

How Do You Do This?

On Linked In, there is a function that allows you to recommend one of your contacts. It is on the right hand side of your contact’s main page. Here’s a snapshot of Amy’s personal page to show you:

All you have to do is click on the “recommend” link as shown above and you can write a recommendation for someone in about 2 minutes, it’s that easy and the impact can be huge.

So, go log into your LinkedIn account, look through your contacts, and recommend a few of them. They will be notified that you did this as well, so don’t be surprised if you get a thank you phone call or lunch invitation from a very grateful contact.

We hope you find this little tip to be helpful, and look forward to sharing more tips with you in the future.

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About The Authors

The above information is compliments of The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

Visit our official team website at www.schumanteam.com

The Schumans service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

A Secret LinkedIn Tip You Must Start Using is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©November,2011

The Most Important Question We Ask Our Clients

 

If you were to ask our past clients what they liked about working with us, they’d probably mention the high level of service they received. We like to think we offer not good, but “legendary” customer service. This starts by asking good questions.

 

 

When we sit down with our clients, whether they are a buyer or seller, we ask them a series of questions. We want to find out their goals and what they expect from us. After all, in order for us to meet and exceed their expectations, they must first be defined.  Here is the one particular question we ask that really makes a huge difference.

“What is your preferred method of communication?”

It may seem simple, but it seems like everything comes down to communication. What you say, when you say it, and the method in which you communicate are all important. Problems in any type of relationship usually arise when there is a breakdown in the lines of communication.

In today’s society, everyone communicates differently and we acknowledge and respect that.  Some people prefer email, while others like to text. There are also many that like speaking by phone as well.   And if you want to go real old school, face to face interaction still has its place.

With all these ways to interact, we feel that it’s important to find out which methods our clients prefer and act accordingly. If our hip tech savvy clients prefer texting, then we text. The ones that prefer to talk on the phone, we call them. We have notes in our files and know how everyone wants us to communicate to them.

Our hope is that our clients will appreciate how important we view service and communication.  At the end of the day, we simply want to make our clients happy and finding out how they prefer to receive information from us is a good start.

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About The Authors

The above information was provided by Dan and Amy Schuman of The Schuman Team Howard Hanna.

Dan is an Accredited Luxury Home Specialist and Amy is a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist. They can be reached at:

216-403-9189 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

The Most Important Question We Ask Our Clients is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©September,2011

When In Doubt, Refer It Out

 

Tough Business Decisions

When Should You Refer Out Business?

 

While we often write  about buying or selling a home, we also enjoy sharing information pertaining to business practices. Today, we are going to discuss the idea of not working with a client.

The idea of not working with someone seems to go against conventional wisdom.  After all, if a business doesn’t make a profit, they won’t be in business. However, there are times when a professional is faced with a major dilemma: do they work with a client who they can’t properly service, or refer it to another professional?

Sometimes it’s very cut and dry, while other times it can be a tough decision, especially for real estate agents.

KNOWING YOUR LIMITATIONS

The key thing here is to know what your strengths are, and understand what you cannot do.  After all, no one can do everything.  For example, a foot doctor won’t do open heart surgery, a real estate attorney is not going to represent someone in a criminal case, and a real estate agent shouldn’t take on a client who wants to buy or sell in areas they do not service.

In the case of an agent, we realize it can be tough because it means turning down a commission, which is how we get compensated.  However,  a good agent will do it because they know it’s best for the client.

A RECENT STORY

A friend of ours referred someone to us who wanted to buy in an area that we didn’t service. So what did we do?

With the buyer’s permission, we referred them to a great agent who knew that area like the back of her hand. They ended up finding a home in just a few weeks and are thrilled. The person who referred the buyer to us was happy too, because we took care of her friend.  Although we didn’t personally work with the buyers, we did put them in very good hands, and everyone ended up winning.

IT’S NOT ALWAYS CUT AND DRY

When posed with the above scenario, many agents struggle.  Some agents  will take any business, for a variety of reasons.  Some are simply very competitive and want all the business they can get their hands on.  Others really need the business, especially in today’s tough economy,  and then there are those that feel obligated and don’t like to say “no”.

At the end of the day, each agent has to make that business decision.

As for us, we believe in a simple principal—look out for what is best for the client. By doing that, the decisions made on a day to day basis really aren’t that difficult.

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About The Author

The above information pertaining to Cleveland Real Estate News was provided by Dan Schuman of The Schuman Team Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.  Dan is an Accredited Luxury Home Specialist and can be reached at 216-346-3235 or via email,  danschuman@howardhanna.com.

We service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

When In Doubt, Refer It Out is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©August,2011

Please Hire Me, Don’t Just USE me

You Can Hire Me, But Don't USE me

Ok, consumers, I don’t do this very often, but it’s time for a mini rant and some lessons on etiquette.

Over the last 20 years, I have worked with a lot of you and like to think I understand how you think and act.  Sometimes though a small percentage of you lack  manners.  Today, I want to share some things about those of us in sales so we can have a better understanding of each other.

Here is a typical email I get on a regular basis:

Dan, I was checking out homes in the area and noticed your website/and or blog. You seem to be very knowledgeable about your area and I wanted to get your help.

So far, so good, right?  People read our information, liked what they saw and  contacted us.  While a majority of these people end up working with us,  a few are looking for a free ride.  They are already committed to another agent, but  want a second opinion or market information. They have no intention of hiring us.

Now, do I think these folks are users, that they are bad malicious people, of course not.  I think they simply don’t “get it”.  Most of them have probably never been in sales or in the business world and don’t understand how things work.  When they say time is money, it not only applies to our clients, but to people like me who only get compensated when they actually sell something.

( On a side note,  if these people are contacting me for help, they obviously aren’t being properly serviced by their current agent.  But that’s a topic for another day. )

We are aware that in a service profession, it’s our job to get you what you want, and make you happy.  But in order for us to do this, and utilize our time and full array of resources, there needs to be a commitment on your end.   Otherwise, it’s a one-way relationship, and that won’t work, at least not for me.

Summary—if you find my website or blog to be helpful in some way, great, that’s the point.  We are happy to help educate you and make you comfortable with the major decisions you will be making. However, if you have no intention of ever hiring us, don’t call or email and expect to get advice and my insider information.  It’s not fair to our actual clients, and it’s certainly not fair to our team.

Rant over, have a nice day.

Please Share With Your Sphere And Comment

If you enjoyed this article, I would greatly appreciate if you could share  it with your sphere by using the buttons below or at the side.  Sharing helpful information is a great way to build credibility and relationships with your friends and contacts, so share and re-tweet away!

Also, we would love to hear your comments below and promise to return the favor.

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About The Authors

The above information pertaining to Cleveland Real Estate News was provided by The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. They are Solon residents and can be reached at 216-346-3235 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

We service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

Please Hire Me, Don’t Just USE me is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©March,2011

How To Take A Picture Of Your Computer Screen

We love sharing great technology tools with our readers and today, we wanted to show you an easy way to take a picture of what you see on your computer screen and even turn it into a video.

The tool is call Jing® and can easily be uploaded to your computer.   It is free, with an upgraded version that costs only $15 ( well worth it ).  There is even a tutorial to show you how to use it.

IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION

Here are a few examples of how you can use this tool to increase your levels of communication:

1.     Add a visual to a blog post.

2.     Communicate information to a client:

Jing - great communication tool

3.    Share information on Twitter or Facebook

TURN SCREEN SHOTS INTO VIDEO

Another great use of the Jing®  program is turning a picture into a video.  Here is a picture of a market report that I turned into a video, and it took me less than 5 minutes from start to finish.  It even allowed me to automatically upload it to YouTube.

So, if you want an easy way to share information with people, give this tool a try.  It is simple to use and will add a little spice to your daily communication with others. Plus, people will think you’re cool for knowing all the latest hip technology, at least that’s why I use it:)

Please Share With Your Sphere

If you enjoyed this article, I would greatly appreciate if you could share  it with your sphere by using the buttons below or at the side.  Sharing helpful information is a great way to build credibility and relationships with your friends and contacts, so share and re-tweet away!

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About The Authors

The above information pertaining to Cleveland Real Estate News was provided by The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna. They are Solon residents and can be reached at 216-346-3235 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

We service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

How To Take A Picture Of Your Computer Screen is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©February,2011

Welcome To Our Cleveland Real Estate Blog

 

Cleveland Real Estate Blog

 

Welcome To Our Cleveland Real Estate Blog.  To begin, this article is a little ill timed.  You see, we have been writing a blog for over 2 years now and never officially introduced it.  That’s kind of like opening a restaurant and then having a grand opening 2 years later.  At first, we wanted to work out the kinks. Then, we got so busy writing that it just slipped our mind.  It has actually become one of the most popular real estate blogs in Ohio and has been a great source of business for us. So, without further ado, welcome to our….

Oh wait.  Before we actually talk about our blog, I think we need to take a step back and explain what a blog is all about.  Initially, we assumed most people were familiar with blogs, and have used the term frequently in conversations. However,  I was at a social event recently and told someone that we have a very popular blog and invited her to check it out. To that, she replied, “what’s a blog?”

So, while it is certainly possible that most people are aware of the term, they may not know the particulars, because every blog is different.  There are personal blogs, which read like diaries, corporate blogs, photo blogs, etc… Heck, I didn’t even understand the entire concept until I actually started blogging, so I suppose we shouldn’t assume others will know anything about our blog, unless we explain it to them, or better yet, show them.

For the purposes of trying to explain the basics of our Cleveland Real Estate Blog, so people like my parents ( who are still trying to get a grasp on this “email” thing ) can understand, here is an easy way to think of it.  A blog is like a newspaper, with “articles” being added to it all the time, sometimes even daily.  The newspaper is called the “blog” and the articles are called “posts”. So, what you are now reading is a post on our blog.  If that’s not clear, than I don’t know what to tell you because even that explanation made sense to my parents.

The best thing about our blog is that we have total control over content. Yes that’s right, it’s basically a free for all, but we do understand the importance of great content, otherwise, no one would read it.  The thing that has made blogs so popular is because they are more personal and often offer deeper insight on a particular topic than the typical article someone may read. That’s what people can expect from this blog.  Our goal is for everyone to feel like their time spent reading was worthwhile, and that they actually learned something new.

WHAT DO WE WRITE ABOUT?

We give general information that would be of value to anyone, regardless of where they live. Since we are real estate agents, naturally we do write about real estate, but also discuss other topics as well.

On the real estate side, we give basic tips to home buyers and sellers, and sometimes even talk about complicated subjects such as the different styles of negotiating.  Also included are posts on our areas of specialty, luxury homes and home staging.  We also love sharing tips to our corporate and business contacts.  Here are some examples of what you will find here:

Nationally Featured Articles:

C’mon People, Stop Posting Vacation Plans On Facebook

Does Hiring Cousin Vinny Really Make Sense?

Real Estate Agents Are Not Just Door Openers

Is Zillow Really Accurate? Take A Look For Yourself

Local Articles:

The Complete Guide To Buying A Home In Cleveland

Solon Ohio –  A Special Community

Signature of Solon

Business Tips and Advice:

How To Increase Your Website’s Ranking

Rating Your Social Media Personality,Are You A Sitcom, Drama, or Informercial?

The Art Of Working With Athletes

The last great thing about our Cleveland Real Estate Blog is that it is interactive.  At the bottom of our posts, there is a link that will take you to a comment section.  Here, readers are encouraged to make a comment.  Ideally, we would love to hear your thoughts and opinions about the post you just read.  However, if you just want to send us a note, that’s ok too.

So, we would officially like to welcome you to our blog. Please visit often, save it as one of your favorites, or better yet, become an official subscriber and get new posts emailed directly to you:

Enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner

Also, if you know of someone who would benefit by reading our blog,  please share it on Facebook or Twitter. There are buttons at the top of each post that make this simple to do.

For the record, most of our posts are much shorter than this.  But after two years, we had a lot to say.

Is Your Message Being Tuned Out?

Is Your Message Being Tuned Out?

Everyone is using social media to help grow their business these days, but some may be actually doing more harm than good.  If you are simply going through the motions without considering how you are being viewed by others, it may be costing you business and you don’t even realize it.

When we first got started doing social media, we attended a seminar and got some great advice.

The speaker ( Bruce Hardie ) compared our presence on social media to that of a TV show.  Basically, we would be putting out information ( our show ) in hopes that other people ( our audience ) would tune in to watch.  If we did a good job, people would tune in on a regular basis, and also tell others about us.  He said commercials were ok every now and then, but concentrate on the show and give away value.  His main point was that we should get people engaged and not just ask for business, and good things will happen.

After taking the speakers advice, we have found that people are appreciative of our efforts, and business has come as a result. However, we have noticed that some people are still missing the boat on how to properly engage in social media.

Just yesterday, I decided to “follow” a company on Twitter because I thought they would be sharing some great information. Instead, I immediately got 2 emails and a call from this company soliciting my business.  In my opinion, any “show” that starts selling before giving gets “canceled” immediately.

And let’s be honest, this doesn’t apply just on line either. The same principles apply in person at networking and social events. Have you ever met someone at a function who immediately gives you their business card and proceeds to talk about nothing but themselves?  I’m sure their on line presence isn’t much different.

What message are you putting out on line

If Your On Line Persona Was A TV Show, What Type Would It Be?

So, as we all move forward, we should all ask ourselves,  “what kind of show am I putting out there?” Whether you are a news channel, drama, sitcom, or even a game show, that is your choice.  However, if you choose to be an infomercial, you may be tuned out by today’s audience and see poor results from your efforts.

So, I hope you found this episode of our “show” to be helpful and will continue to “tune in” to future posts from us, or find us on other social media sites. We promise to save the hard sell approach for the other guys.

Please Share With Your Sphere And Comment

If you enjoyed this article, I would greatly appreciate if you could share  it with your sphere by using the buttons below or at the side.  Sharing helpful information is a great way to build credibility and relationships with your friends and contacts, so share and re-tweet away!

Also, we would love to hear your comments below and promise to return the favor.

__________________________________________________________

About The Authors

The above information pertaining to Cleveland Ohio and Cleveland Real Estate News was provided by The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna. They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

We service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

Is Your Message Being Tuned Out? is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©December,2010