Be kind to everyone,this is my life motto in general. People should be kind to one another. In business, you don’t know if you will run into that person ever again. They might be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company in the future. Anything is possible and nothing positive comes from being unkind.
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 Geoffrey Gottlieb, Senior Partner Meier Estates, and Ventures at Christie’s International Real Estate. Born in New York City, Geoffrey is quickly rising as one of the most well-known and respected real estate agents in the industry.
Since becoming a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson in 2012, he has distinguished himself as one of the most insightful and knowledgeable agents, with a track record that speaks volumes.
Geoffrey has been a part of several hundred closed sales in the past 8 years. In the final 32 calendar weeks of 2016, Geoffrey was a part of 32 closed sales. In 2017, Geoffrey was a part of over 20 closed sales on the seller’s side alone. Despite a weaker seller’s market, Geoffrey increased his closed sales on the seller’s side to 28 in 2018. In 2019 Geoffrey was a part of 29 closes sales. So far in 2020, Geoffrey is on pace to shatter previous sales numbers. Geoffrey has represented developers, sellers, buyers, and investors. Many of Geoffrey’s closed sales failed to sell with the previous listing agent.
Geoffrey is best known for his, exceptional work ethic, organization, and his data-driven approach to real estate. He takes an A — Z approach: being involved from start to finish and providing comprehensive customer service.
“I strongly believe in analytics and data. I look at real estate not just as someone’s home, but as a financial tool for their future. My tenacity is simply unmatched and I will not let anyone outwork or outsmart me. I take pride in being accessible to my clients twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I strive to build relationships that will last a lifetime.”
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?
I started selling Real Estate in 2012. Growing up, I moved often. Real estate always spoke to me; it was the first point of contact to the place that was home. I wanted to build on that feeling after realizing the value an agent brings, while also having a career where I wasn’t in an office all day. I knew I wanted a career with unlimited growth and income potential. Being able to interact with people who are moving on to a new stage in life is the ultimate reward.
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?
This isn’t necessarily funny, but I think my biggest mistake early on was not publicizing the fact that I worked in real estate. Starting out, it felt like being new in the industry meant I didn’t have the experience to post about it on my social media and share with the world. That was the wrong approach, you never know who is looking to buy or sell their homes. From friends, cousins, or a fellow player in my hockey league, how else would they know I was their resource? I would advise anyone getting into real estate, let the world know right away. It will benefit your career!
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?
My mentor, Brian Meier. I started working with Brian as soon as I became a real estate agent almost a decade ago. Brian and his wife Kate have taught me so much. Brian has been more than a mentor, more like an older brother to me. I am lucky because I still learn things every day from them. They have become like my second family and each has different skill sets that helped cultivate my growth as an agent and a person. I feel there is always room for growth even after doing something for years. I use that as a driving force to become a better version of myself every day. One of the first things Brian taught me in Real Estate is, the business creates more business. This has definitely been the case. The more business I do, the more business comes my way. This is why it’s important to not pass up on any opportunities no matter how big or how small they might appear to be. There is no substitute for hard work.
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?
Business is about reputation. Your reputation depends on how people perceive your business. If you’re known for providing a great experience, you don’t just leave with a trusted client relationship, you have also grown your business and your brand. That’s a winning strategy for long term success.
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?
Lack of incentive. While I don’t mean to box every company, that’s life. Not everyone owns the company, they might be overworked or unhappy. They might feel stuck and their focus is not on customer experience being the priority. When companies create incentives for their employees, it doesn’t just help them focus, it creates a winning circle. The incentives help create a company culture where employees feel valued. That crosses over to nurture customer relationships, which then helps build the company’s reputation and brand.
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?
100%, Companies don’t want to lose business to the competition. In terms of external pressures, it could be any number of things. From market conditions, or a change in management. There are so many factors that can force a company to want to improve. A good company will want to improve no matter what because it was built on those values from the get-go.
Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?
In its perfect form, real estate is a people business. You are the trusted guide to navigate them through the process. I knew getting into the industry, if I provide a great experience, I would gain referrals from my customers. I also knew I would remain as their “go-to” when they were ready to buy or sell their next property. I am literally available to my clients 24/7. I take calls at midnight. This has led to a lot of my clients referring me to more clients. By understanding the nature of the industry and the vulnerable feeling many people have (as it might be their biggest asset on the line), clients feel that authenticity. For example, one For Sale By Owner (FSBO) I worked with was originally hesitant about hiring any real estate agent. After the apartment didn’t sell they decided to hire me and give me an opportunity. I worked very hard and sold their home. That great experience led them to refer me to a family member who was looking to sell their home. This has been a constant theme in my business because I always put the customer first.
Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?
Aside from the additional business it garnered, the biggest ripple effect was meeting great people and gaining new friends. My clients have become more than just clients to me; they have become real friends who I stay in touch with even after the business transaction is done.
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.
1. Always put the client first. If my client wants something, even if it isn’t necessarily realistic, I do whatever is necessary to try to make it happen.
2. Be available to answer your customers 24/7. I take phone calls all day and night. My clients appreciate that I am always reachable. Even if I don’t have an answer, I will update them that I am waiting to hear back. People appreciate that (especially in real estate).
3. Provide a product or service that is simply unmatched. In real estate, this is our platform. I feel Meier Estates and Ventures at Christie’s International Real Estate provide my clients with a global marketing platform that truly can’t be beaten.
4. Provide value. I work incredibly hard to get my clients the best deals. At the end of the day, this is not just a home, it’s an investment. I want to make sure my clients come out on top.
5. Be kind to everyone,this is my life motto in general. People should be kind to one another. In business, you don’t know if you will run into that person ever again. They might be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company in the future. Anything is possible and nothing positive comes from being unkind.
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?
1. Give them an authentic, great experience where they want to refer business to you because they felt the value you provided.
2. Ask. If you don’t ask for referrals, you might not get them!
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. 🙂
Be kind to everyone. In life, we all have different things we go through. You never really know what someone is dealing with at any moment. I would love for a movement where everyone treats everyone kindly.