As so often happens, a blog post is born out of a real-life experience or customer question and this time is no different as I clearly saw the best example of Sales vs Service.
My husband and I are renovating our home and were in the market for a home equity line of credit. We have our mortgage with a broker and have been super happy with her service. Now, outside of the initial purchase of a mortgage, on the face of it, there is no reason for her to keep in contact until renewal time. After all, there is no money to be made before renewal – right? 😉 But our broker is different. She keeps her eye on rates for us (we have a variable rate and are enjoying the savings that it brings) and checks in regularly. She has become a close family friend.
We went to her first, and she presented us with some great options, and one of them was a big risk. Talk to our bank and see what they might do for us as a long-time customer. We did go to the bank, and that is where this post started.
The difference became glaringly apparent.
- greeted us with coffee and warm hugs
- listened carefully to everything we had to say
- knew enough about our spending and saving habits to comfortably recommend some potentially unconventional choices that she would not offer those who choose to live beyond their means
- answered every dumb question we threw at her
- gave us open and honest advice, that could have cost her the business…
- started off with questions before really understanding what our needs were
- threw in some “well, if you don’t switch to fixed rates now you are in real danger” talk
- only offered one solution – on their terms (move every bank account you own plus your mortgage to us and only then we will help you)
- offered us a financial incentive to go with them
- pitched us on new credit cards before we left
Both service providers did actually have answers to our needs. In fact, we were tempted by the cash savings the bank offered. So tempted, that we called our broker to talk it out with us. She said she had thought the bank might suggest pulling everything from her, but wanted to see what they were able to offer and if their deal was in fact better long term, she wanted us to take it.
Can you feel the difference here between Sales vs Service?
The experience with the bank was a sales relationship. It was transactional on their part. We will give you more money and a low-interest rate. Isn’t that what everyone wants?
The experience with a broker was a service relationship. It was based on her having our greater good in her heart when she spoke to us. It was based on her being of service, whether she ‘got the gig’ or not.
When you are talking to your potential clients, remember that the relationships you form with them, and the way you make them feel will long outlast that discount you offered. I firmly believe that the transactional business owners and speakers may always have their place, but the real growth, the long-standing businesses will always be based on relationships.
Do I even have to tell you what our choice was?