Marq Cobb, MemphisInvest.com
Since we have just completed the second month of 2011, I sat down this weekend to look recap our numbers and see if I could dissect any patterns that I needed to be aware of. Since I head our Wealth Advising department and oversee a small team of advisors, I am always looking for insight that could help us deliver better results for our clients. After all, our typical Memphis investment property buyer is located outside the area and completely relies on our company to provide satisfaction in their experience. As I reviewed the numbers, I knew that our training and planning in the 4th quarter of 2010 was paying off, but something really jumped out at me. We closed 51 transactions for our clients in the first two months and had 31 outstanding contracts to carry into March and April, but it was where those transactions came from that surprised me.
There are many reasons for our sustained growth over the past 6 months. In October of last year we closed 38 transactions in one month which is still the single best month we have had, but that month really set our company into thinking about what was truly possible. By concentrating on the experience for our clients, the inter-action they have with our company and pursuing a deliberate strategy of inter-action, we created an atmosphere of great customer service.
Case in point - the success we have had in the first two months this year with clients actually referring business partners, colleagues and family members to our company. In January, 13 of 26 properties closed were purchased by investors who are direct referrals from other clients. In February, 12 out of 25 were direct referrals. I read somewhere that people are 14 times more likely to tell others about a bad experience they have had rather than a good one. Granted, there is a financial incentive for our clients to refer other possible clients to our company, but as great as a $1500 per property is as an incentive, I would never refer someone I care about to invest their savings or retirement accounts with a company I could not speak of with 100% confidence and satisfaction. In fact, we have had several clients who refuse to accept the referral fee as their way of saying thank you back to our company for the service we have given.
Kent Sr. is constantly asking our customer service ladies how their conversations are going with our current clients during their routine phone calls. He sometimes refers to their conversations as ‘the temperature of the water.’ I’ve got to tell you, and I think everyone on our team would agree, that the number of closings that we have had the last few months does not bring us near as much enjoyment as seeing that our clients believe in our company and our people so much that they are actively sending us new clients each month.