“When better is possible, good is not enough,” says Shad Bogany of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene. Read the following article to glean Bogany’s top tips on providing excellent customer service as well as staying ahead with technology and marketing.
Lesley Geary: How did you get your start in the real estate business?
Shad Bogany: First of all, I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in real estate. But when I graduated, I was very young and had a family that I could not support on a commission-only salary—so I went to work for Xerox selling copiers. That experience has been crucial to my success as a REALTOR® because I learned all about customer service at Xerox. When I was finally able to get into the real estate business in the ’80s, I was dealing with a terrible market.
LG: How were you able to build a successful real estate business from that point on?
SB: My whole concept is quite simple: Customer service means everything. The key to success is simply never forgetting that. I please people by going the extra mile and giving strong customer service, and I make a point to always follow up with my customers. Of course, the more successful I am, the more work I am doing, and the more difficult it becomes to follow up, but that level of service is the only way to keep a business growing. And it is the same today as it was in that terrible market in the 1980s.
The other key to building new business in today’s market is the same as it was in the ’80s: I can never allow myself to get to a point where I think I know everything. I am always learning and trying to do things better, and I am always willing to change. I am committed to keeping up with what’s new in the business in order to stay ahead of the game. The difference between being ordinary and being great is the willingness to change.
LG: How has your dedication to great customer service impacted your success?
SB: I make sure everybody is satisfied with what I do for them, therefore, all of my business is due to referrals from past clients. I do not do any farming. Today, in fact, I work for the children of past clients.
LG: How have you evolved your strategies in this environment?
SB: When better is possible, good is not enough. In this environment, I have learned to go back to basics. I follow up and call all of my sphere of influence (SOI) and I find leads. Someone is always looking for a place to live. You have to stay in constant contact and follow up to find that someone. I send magazines out with my name and picture on the front. Right now, I am also working on a television ad. I am constantly trying to keep my name out there. Also, it is important to remember that when you are having a good month, you still have to make phone calls. You have to stay consistent. Right now, for example, I am thinking about business in January. I don’t just take off the month of December because I have to think about generating business for February.
LG: Are you relying more on technology?
SB: Following up is much easier because of technology, and whatever you choose to invest in, you have to commit to. I have had to change and grow. I sell more than 100 homes a year and I have a system that I follow to stay successful. There is no doubt that technology allows me to better follow all of my systems.
LG: How does your website factor into your success?
SB: I have been actively utilizing my website as far back as 15 years ago. I am working on a new website right now to optimize my online presence. I have seen websites that are extremely unappealing, yet they come up first in search results. I am updating my website so that it ranks higher in search results. Even though my website has been around for so long, at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, are people calling based on your Web presence? I have learned that I can do a better job with my website. So I will change.
LG: Where do you get the biggest bang for your marketing dollars?
SB: I started a real estate show on the radio 21 years ago and it is definitely where I get the biggest bang. I am on for one hour every Tuesday night from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. I have had a wide spectrum of people calling me, including President Obama. The goal of the show is to educate the consumer about real estate. When I first started the show, I got calls but I didn’t get any business from the show. I realized that I had to provide consumers with help in a broader sense, not just when I serve as their REALTOR®. My show is called “The Real Estate Corner.” Because of the show, I am the most exposed REALTOR® in Houston.
LG: What are you doing differently this year to continue to grow your business?
SB: I sold my brokerage and have merged with Better Homes and Gardens Gary Greene. I am very big on branding. I have moved from owning a brokerage to being a broker associate. I am sitting in my same desk, but my name is no longer on the door and I love it.
LG: What are your three top priorities for sellers when they first list in this market?
SB: Price, price and condition.
LG: Why did you become a Member of Top 5?
SB: I actually joined Top 5 very recently in order to stay ahead of the curve. Top 5 gives me excellent new tools for learning. It also gives me extra information that I can use on my radio show.
LG: What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
SB: I hate to sound like a broken record, but it is customer service. I understand that I have no product to sell. The only thing I have to sell is service. New kids are coming into the market as REALTORS®, bringing with them great, new ideas. Even so, it is crucial to remember that a computer can’t have a relationship. If you have no real relationship with your client and something goes wrong, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to discuss it with the client and smooth things over. But if you have a one-to-one relationship, all will be fine. One of the most rewarding aspects of selling real estate is when you sell a house to someone who never thought he or she could ever be in a position to own one. My motto is, “Be the best I can be—push, push, push.” But in order for me to do my best for my clients, I have to take care of myself, and that means spending time with my family, too. As REALTORS®, we tend to forget that.