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David Bartels of Everhome: “The customer experience epitomizes your brand”

The customer experience epitomizes your brand. Today’s consumer does more research and is more discerning than ever before. The internet and online reviews magnify your reputation and can accelerate the speed at which it is shared with others. They want evidence that you will deliver more value than others and they will trust what others […]

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The customer experience epitomizes your brand. Today’s consumer does more research and is more discerning than ever before. The internet and online reviews magnify your reputation and can accelerate the speed at which it is shared with others. They want evidence that you will deliver more value than others and they will trust what others say far more than what you say about your business.


As part of my series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Bartels.

David Bartels is the Founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Everhome, his fourth real estate venture, and is a thought leader in consumer-focused real estate solutions. He has been inventing and improving information-based, technology-assisted sales processes for over 20 years. He believes the traditional real estate model is on the verge of massive change and technology-assisted, information-based services are the future of real estate.

David is a member of the National Association of Realtors, California Association of Realtors, Conejo Simi Moorpark Association of Realtors, Southland Regional Association of Realtors, and the Ventura County Coastal Association of Realtors. As a regular contributor to real estate seminars, David’s thought leadership credentials within the space are undisputed, and his extensive knowledge and experience consistently yield successful outcomes for clients. A firm advocate of homeowners rights, David has a rich history as a genuine innovator and agent of change for the US real estate sector, spearheading a number of consumer-focused real estate companies such as Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty, Home Loan Advocates, Inc. (HLA), and Selling Smarter.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

My name is David Bartels and I am the Founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Everhome, my fourth real estate venture. I have been inventing and improving information-based, technology-assisted sales processes for over 20 years and am a firm believer that the traditional real estate model is on the verge of massive change and technology-assisted, information-based services are the future of real estate.

I am a member of the National Association of Realtors, California Association of Realtors, Conejo Simi Moorpark Association of Realtors, Southland Regional Association of Realtors, and the Ventura County Coastal Association of Realtors. A firm advocate of homeowners rights, I have a rich history as a genuine innovator and agent of change for the US real estate sector, spearheading a number of consumer-focused real estate companies such as Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty, Home Loan Advocates, Inc. (HLA), and Selling Smarter.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

After buying my franchise I was not prepared for my first listing, however, I decided to grab the bull by the horns and go for it. I successfully secured the listing, charging just 695 dollars and quickly sold the house. The problem was, I was supposed to charge 6,995 dollars! I reverted back to the customer to tell them of my mistake, honored the price, and got my first of many testimonials. That testimonial helped me to secure many more transactions in that first year of business but it could have been a very different story!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I have been blessed to have had a number of mentors to guide me through my journey, most of which were sales-focused professionals and trainers. Others included individuals that I have never met before, such as Dale Carnegie, Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins, and Brian Tracy when I would listen to their cassette tapes (that is how old I am!). These tapes instilled in me a very positive “can do” attitude about life and business.

I previously worked with Grant Cardone to teach the automotive industry how to use technology to provide automotive consumers with a more friendly, information-based sales process in order to dramatically increase sales results and customer satisfaction. During this time I was interested in refinancing my mortgage and, after making calls to a few lenders, I remember saying to myself, ‘This is worse than the car business’. The next week, I took the principals we were teaching automotive companies and applied them to the mortgage industry. Shortly after, I started Selling Smarter, a program that would teach the mortgage industry an information-based, technology-assisted sales process. We trained more than 10,000 mortgage sales professionals, sold thousands of software subscriptions, and built what was at the time, the longest-running, most successful seminar series in the mortgage industry. This is what resulted in my transition into the real estate industry and this idea has evolved into our latest project, where we are creating a new category for home sellers where they can leverage technology to sell their home themselves via our collaborative For Sale With Seller program.

Thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main focus of our interview. This might be intuitive, but I think it’s helpful to specifically articulate it. In your words, can you share a few reasons why great customer service and a great customer experience is essential for success in business?

The customer experience epitomizes your brand. Today’s consumer does more research and is more discerning than ever before. The internet and online reviews magnify your reputation and can accelerate the speed at which it is shared with others. They want evidence that you will deliver more value than others and they will trust what others say far more than what you say about your business.

We have all had times either in a store, or online, when we’ve had a very poor experience as a customer or user. If the importance of a good customer experience is so intuitive, and apparent, where is the disconnect? How is it that so many companies do not make this a priority?

I think for the most part the disconnect occurs when management fails to properly communicate that customer experience is part of the company’s vision. It is especially important to highlight this fact to frontline employees who are interacting with customers on a day-to-day basis. It could also be that they fail to empower employees to immediately address customer concerns, or they may fail to ensure that employees are properly trained and incentivized to deliver outstanding customer experiences. Why is this not a priority in every company? I believe that sometimes companies want to take a shortcut to success and focus on the bottom line, rather than understanding the connection between customer experiences and driving sales and profits.

Do you think that more competition helps force companies to improve the customer experience they offer? Are there other external pressures that can force a company to improve the customer experience?

Absolutely. Competition drives a search for differentiation. Customers will search for differences in price, service offerings, value, or the level of customer experience. Of these, a reputation for superior customer experiences allow companies to sell more, maintain prices, and generate repeat and referral customers.

Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?

We are blessed with many examples of “wowed” consumer experiences, many of which you can read here. However, I recently received a review that really struck a chord with me and reminded me of the importance of offering clients more value, without compromising on expertise or results. I had helped this individual sell their home for well over the asking price, after being on the market for only two days. The customer was extremely complimentary of the service they received from myself and my staff, as well as the handyman and moving truck I provided her with. They reiterated how smooth the process was and how they couldn’t give us a higher recommendation. I don’t think you can ask for much more than that!

Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?

It did! That person is now looking to buy a home and is currently working with us. The estimated compensation for the home purchase is about 15,000 dollars, not to mention the referral business and impact the public review will provide.

Another recent example includes a person who referred a new listing to us due to the previous experience they had using us to help them sell two of their homes. The home referred to us will generate three times the amount of compensation of the first two homes combined.

Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a founder or CEO should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience. Please share a story or an example for each.

From my own experience, the top five most important things to know to generate a Wow! Customer experience are as follows:

Understand what your customers really want and figure out how you can achieve this. How can you make it easier for customers to do business with you?

Know how you can add value in comparison to your competitors, without driving up the cost of the service.

Understand the impact that a negative customer experience has on your business, and ask yourself how much you would pay to avoid this.

Remember, customers will not take your word for it. Ask yourself, what are your clients saying about you? What is the best way to share these experiences with potential customers?

It’s important that every employee strives to deliver a Wow! service experience. To do so, a process must be established that will empower each individual to try their best to achieve this.

Are there a few things that can be done so that when a customer or client has a Wow! experience, they inspire others to reach out to you as well?

There are a number of ways that this can be encouraged. One of the simplest ways is ensuring that the process of leaving a review is easy. This can be done by letting customers know exactly where and how they can leave a review. We would also encourage customers to copy and paste their review to multiple websites if they feel so inclined. On our side, we make sure to share all the reviews on social media to maximize their reach. We also feel it’s important to personally thank people for referrals. We treat every relationship like it’s the first time we’re doing business together.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I like to keep things simple by really taking the time to find out what my customers want, and then spending the rest of my time helping them to achieve it. I think it’s important to work with your customer as if you were on a team, working better together. To be successful, it’s important to have an open conversation with your customer and work towards a common goal.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

“You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.”

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