Growing a business requires forming a strong relationship with your customers. According to Roger Pettingell, positive client experiences make up a central tenet for a healthy company. As a top producer for Coldwell Banker Realty, Roger Pettingell is well-versed in understanding salesmanship and customer service.
With a team of five, Roger Pettingell has taken a highly personalized approach to luxury real estate sales in Sarasota and Manatee. After decades of experience, he’s shedding light on how to offer a better client experience for a stronger business.
Listen Carefully to Pinpoint Needs
He realized early on that people don’t buy because you are selling something—people buy because they believe what you are selling will fit their needs or wants. So to offer a truly customer-centric approach, Roger Pettingell says you have to really listen to the customer.
“People are more than happy to tell you what they want, but sometimes that goes beyond the surface-level words,” he says. “Sometimes, customers aren’t entirely sure what they are looking for, and there is that element of ‘I’ll know it when I see it.’ You have to read between the lines and understand them better than they understand themselves. That only happens if you are listening more than you are selling.”
Form an Authentic Connection
You need to connect with customers beyond business alone. Roger Pettingell explains that people crave interaction that is meaningful and authentic. He says it’s essential to know the difference between forming that relationship and wasting someone’s time with chit-chat. “People’s time is valuable, and you don’t want to get in the way,” he notes. “However, it’s also important to connect. It’s hard to offer a great sales experience if you can’t identify with them or find common ground.”
Offer the Latest Tech AND Traditional Options
Pettingell is a huge fan of tech and looks for every opportunity to use it within his own company. He encourages learning the ropes for the newest tools and software available. For his real estate business, Pettingell has used FaceTime for years, even writing clients’ offers while meeting over the video chat platform.
However, he says not every client is going to be thrilled with new tech. “I think it’s so important to be on the cutting edge,” he explains. “But, you still have to offer traditional options for your clients who aren’t as thrilled about learning new things.”
Focus on Client Needs Over Sales
Roger Pettingell attributes a lot of his professional success to his desire to meet client needs. He says selling is much more powerful when you aren’t focused on the selling part. Since the start of his real estate career in 1995, Pettingell has always been interested in understanding what people want and helping them achieve it.
He says not every person is suitable for the sale, and a good salesperson will be able to recognize that most of the time. “It can be challenging to spot sometimes,” he admits. “Some people just seem perfect for a property, and you have to ask yourself, ‘Does this match what they want? Is there a better option I should be showing them?’ It’s your job to help guide the clients as best as you can.”
Offer Thorough Descriptions
One of the ways Pettingell offers high-quality customer service is in the way he lists and presents properties. Beautiful drone footage of sweeping property shorelines and luxury homes gives buyers a chance to really examine the property from all angles. His attention to detail in the product listings helps spark more interest in the property and helps potential buyers get a better feel for what is offered.
Be Available and Quick to Respond
He says it takes a healthy balance between being available and never “clocking out” when you can work at any hour of the day or night through your devices. However, it is essential to be available when clients need you—especially during normal business hours. Clients want to feel confident that their concerns are being heard that their business is on your mind.
Roger Pettingell says to let clients know the best method of contact and when you are usually available. He says your time should be as flexible as possible to accommodate valuable clients. Also, if you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s good practice to still respond—letting the client know you’ve gotten their message and are looking into their question.
“Don’t sit on your calls, texts, or emails,” he notes. “In the last few years, trends have changed. People expect to hear back within an hour or less during working hours. They are willing to wait if you are in a meeting or with a client, but they want to feel important. If you are chronically unavailable and slow to respond, they are not going to feel like their business is important to you.”