When organizations like Whirlpool, Deloitte, Volkswagen Australia, Principal Financial, and Zappos need to boost their customers’ experience, they call on Joey Coleman for assistance.
He is the creator of The First 100 Days® – a system that is designed to dramatically increase your customer retention and as a result, your bottom line.
Joey is a recognized expert in customer experience design and is an award-winning speaker at both national and international conferences. He works with organizations ranging from small start-ups that are fresh off the kitchen table, to large Fortune 500s, with hundreds of mid-size businesses in between.
Prior to starting his business, Joey developed his narrative skills as a criminal defense trial attorney, honed his communication and messaging skills at the White House, and did things for the U.S. Secret Service and the CIA that he can’t talk about publicly 😉
His book Never Lose a Customer Again debuted at #2 on the Wall Street Journal Best Seller List and is being used as a playbook for creating remarkable experiences in organizations around the world.
When not speaking to audiences around the globe, Joey enjoys playing board games, building LEGO sets, and reading bedtime stories with his amazing wife and two young sons.
Connect with Joey on LinkedIn.
Intro: [00:00:01] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, it’s time for Customer Experience Radio. Brought to you by Heineck and Company, real estate advisors specialized in corporate relocation. Now, here’s your host, Jill Heineck.
Jill Heineck: [00:00:17] Good morning. Welcome to Customer Experience Radio, I’m your host, Jill Heineck, and I’m a business owner, real estate adviser, and customer experience enthusiast. On our show, we talk to professionals who are dedicated to the customer experience and who understand that the customer experience is fundamentally changing the way companies engage, interact with their customers.
Jill Heineck: [00:00:38] Today, and especially in 2021, brands are facing these intense pressures to stand for something bigger than the products and services they sell. And to keep every customer that they can through effective team empowerment and strategic thinking at the highest possible level. Successful companies know that they can positively impact customer experience by starting from within.
Jill Heineck: [00:01:01] So, enter our guest today, Joey Coleman. When organizations like Whirlpool, Deloitte, and Zappos need to boost their customer experience, they call on Joey for assistance. He’s the creator of the First 100 Days, a system that’s designed to dramatically increase your customer retention, and as a result, your bottom line. Joey is a recognized expert and customer experience design and is an award winning speaker at both national and international conferences. He works with organizations ranging from small startups, that are fresh off the kitchen table, to large Fortune 500, with hundreds of mid-sized businesses in between. His book, Never Lose a Customer Again, debuted at number two on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list and is being used as a playbook for creating remarkable experiences in organizations around the world. Welcome, Joey.
Joey Coleman: [00:01:51] Oh, Jill, thank you so much. I am thrilled to be here. Big fan of Customer Experience Radio, and super excited for our conversation today.
Jill Heineck: [00:02:00] Me too. So, first things first, in your bio, it mentioned something about the CIA. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Joey Coleman: [00:02:08] Well, I can talk a little bit about it, but not a lot about it. Yes, I have had a very eclectic career that saw me kind of go straight from college to law school. I went to law school in Washington, D.C. While there and immediately following law school, I had the chance to work for the Secret Service for the White House Office of Counsel of the President and the CIA, and I worked for them in that order. When I worked at CIA, my job was to help support the CIA’s activities and mission globally. So, I did a lot of international law. I did a lot of litigation law. Fascinating place to work with some really interesting characters. And it was just an amazing experience that definitely contributed to where I am today and kind of the various types of things I do today as well.
Jill Heineck: [00:02:57] So, you’re not going to tell us what you did there?
Joey Coleman: [00:03:00] Well, that’s about the full extent. You know, I can tell you, there are two types of employees that CIA has. They have overt employees, which are the ones who can say they worked for the CIA. And they have covert employees, the ones who can’t say they worked. I was on the overt side, I worked as a lawyer, I supported the mission. That’s about the full extent of where we can get into it. But, yeah, great group of people, a great organization, and really enjoyed my time there.
Jill Heineck: [00:03:25] Okay. Well, I won’t push it then. I love the intrigue. Well, let’s talk a little bit about, you know, what I think is also very intriguing, what you’re doing. The work you’re doing now is specifically with the First 100 Days strategy and curriculum, what you like to frame it as. But I think that that is something that we see in our business, as real estate advisors, when we’re bringing on new real estate advisors. We have the first hundred days on, you know, getting them acclimated to what it’s like to be a full time real estate advisor.
Jill Heineck: [00:04:03] And that’s different than the customer experience. But we’re starting with the internal customer. So, the company looks at us as the partner and then the partner who’s then going to be customer facing. So, I think it streamlines, you know, how you end up with the final delivery of the service. So, talk a little bit about your framework around the First 100 Days and how you’re helping clients integrate this into their businesses.
Joey Coleman: [00:04:26] Well, Jill, I appreciate the question. And you’re spot on, the same way we want to think about onboarding new employees, making sure they’re part of our culture, making sure that they understand the goals, they feel supported as they kind of walk into this new endeavor, is the philosophical foundation of how we want to approach our interactions with our customers as well. The reality is, our customers are less familiar with our industry than the real estate professionals are bringing onboard.
Joey Coleman: [00:04:54] You know, the typical homeowner might buy or sell a house once in their lifetime or maybe it’s eight or ten times in their lifetime with a lot of experience in between. And so, we have a tendency, I think, in all professions, to forget that these newbies that are coming to us have a vision of what doing business in our industry is like. Which, in real estate, it’s mostly based on HGTV, let’s be honest. And as much as I love HGTV just as much as the next person, the reality is, we’re going to compress an entire home sale at our home purchase experience into 38 minutes of T.V. And let’s be candid, that’s not what buying or selling a house is going to feel like. Although in this market, sometimes 38 minutes is as long as the listing is around.
Jill Heineck: [00:05:40] Correct.
Joey Coleman: [00:05:41] But the reality is, we want to hold their hands. We want them onboard them. So, the entire First 100 Days methodology is built around a belief that, if you get the first hundred days of the experience right, you can have a customer for life. And specifically – if I may to real estate agents – this is something that I found absolutely staggering. So, the National Association of Realtors, NAR – which I’m sure folks are very familiar with – did some research where they asked people when you bought your house or when you sold your house, what was the experience like dealing with the real estate agent. And almost 90 percent of the people they surveyed said the experience was great. “We had a great experience. It was awesome.” They said, “Okay. Beautiful.”
Joey Coleman: [00:06:27] They then went back to those people when they bought their next house or sold their house. And they said, “How many of you worked with that same realtor that delivered the great experience the first time?” Eleven percent. Now, to me, Jill, this was staggering. But it speaks to this specific issue we’re talking about, most real estate agents think that the relationship is done when they go to the closing, hand over the keys. It’s the beginning of the relationship, not the end.
Jill Heineck: [00:06:59] Correct. You’re absolutely right. And it’s so funny because you bring that up. We talk about those National Association of Realtors stats, about 87 percent of people surveyed said that they were, you know, blown away by their agent. But then, again, to your point, when they go back for the second transaction, they haven’t thought about that agent again, and they went with somebody else. And part of that, you know, the onus is on the agent to keep that relationship alive. And the onus is on the company to keep those relationships alive with their customers in order to keep them, you know, customers for life, as you like to say. And that’s how we feel as realtors.
Jill Heineck: [00:07:36] When you were working at a high level, you are engaged in relationship for the entire life of, I guess, your business and the customer’s business. And in our business, we’re seeing every five to seven years, somebody is making a purchase or sale. And as I get into my second half of my life here –
Joey Coleman: [00:07:58] Late 20s?
Jill Heineck: [00:08:00] Yes. Thank you.
Joey Coleman: [00:08:00] Okay. Okay.
Jill Heineck: [00:08:02] … I’m working with a lot of my peers. There’s a lot of early retirees happening. There’s a lot of families who started early and who are now, you know, young retirees who are downsizing and trying to figure things out. So, they’re buying more in a shorter amount of time. So, it’s critical for agents and other real estate related service providers to be in a relationship with customers they’ve worked with recently, because they are going to make a change, particularly as the market changes, particularly as the stock market is changing, particularly as the pandemic is changing the way we live. So, it’s been really interesting how what we did ten years ago is actually being exponentially more important now in a short amount of time, if that makes sense.
Joey Coleman: [00:08:48] Absolutely. I mean, if anything, Jill, I think the pandemic has been an accelerant. People talk about how much it has changed the game. Yes, I get it. But I think it’s really just taken all the things that were happening before and magnified them and increased their velocity. That’s really what’s happened.
Jill Heineck: [00:09:05] So, how are you kind of coaching your clients in this environment, this accelerated environment? And if you’re still trying to apply the first 100 days, are we paring it down to, like, the first 60 days? How is that working?
Joey Coleman: [00:09:18] No, that’s a great question. I mean, the research and the science behind 100 days still holds firm. What I am talking to a lot of my clients about and a lot of the audiences I speak to about is this idea that how you take care of your customers during the pandemic will be remembered after the pandemic. And if you keep your customers and you keep your employees during the pandemic, after the pandemic, they will still be there.
Joey Coleman: [00:09:45] I think we are on the verge here, you know, as we start in 2021, see a light at the end of the tunnel. The crazy thing about the pandemic is it feels like we’re getting towards the end, but we don’t know when the end is going to be. And this is a change for most humans. As a general rule, the major seminal moments of our life, we know when they’re going to happen. We know the day we’re going to graduate high school the day we start high school. We know the day we’re going to graduate college, potentially, the day we start college. We know the day we’re going to have our wedding, six months, a year, maybe even more, in advance. But when is this pandemic going to end? We don’t know. We just have to keep moving towards the finish line.
Joey Coleman: [00:10:24] And I think the reality is, we need to look at this opportunity as a way to double down on the experience we’re delivering. But it’s a different type of experience than we’ve delivered in the past. I think this new experience, we want to focus more on things like empathy over solution. We want to focus on connection over transaction. We want to focus on the deeper, more meaningful conversations. And there’s nowhere where that is more evident than in the real estate world. Because the crazy thing is over decades we’ve talked about our home being our castle.
Joey Coleman: [00:10:58] Well, in the last year, our castle became our cage. And, now, we find ourselves in a position where a lot of people are investing to make their cage look better and/or expanding the size of their cage by buying a new house because they want a bigger footprint or, at least, being more conscious about the layout of their home. You know, do we need a separate space for working in? Do we want to create more individual space where we can go and retreat and hide from the other members of our family? You know, the shift that is occurring and how we live our lives is going to play out in the real estate industry for sure.
Jill Heineck: [00:11:36] Absolutely. And we’ve seen that because work from home, learn from home, that has caused a lot of questioning of, you know, can we stick to these four walls and live harmoniously, to your point, without killing each other? And they also want a lot of outdoor space. So, it’s changing the footprint, expanding the footprint, and some are even reducing the footprint. So, it just depends on who we’re talking to. But absolutely correct, I think that when you talk about empathy over – how did you put it?
Joey Coleman: [00:12:08] Empathy over solutions. We have a tendency to be like, “Oh, here’s what you should do. Here’s the next step. Here’s how you should be thinking.” It’s like, “Okay. We can get to that.” And as experts in the industry, your clients, your customers, want you to provide that perspective. But if we don’t lead with empathy, we never get a chance to get to the solutions conversation.
Jill Heineck: [00:12:29] You’re absolutely right. And so, one of the things we implemented initially because, you know, we were getting the calls from our family, friends, other business partners, we implemented care calls to our clients, you know, literally one year ago this month. And just want to make sure everybody was okay. And it was never about, “How is your house? Do you know anyone that’s buying or selling?” You know, never any questions about real estate. More about, “How are you and your family coping? Is there anything I can do? Can I grab some groceries, grab some prescriptions?” You know, things of that nature. So, it was a wonderful way to connect and actually have conversations outside of business and even get to know some things about them that we didn’t know, like four or five, six years ago when we worked with them.
Jill Heineck: [00:13:18] So, it’s actually proven really well. And I’ve heard other companies implementing these same strategies, you know, just reaching out to customers that either they’ve just worked with recently or repeat customers. Some people have gone back 20 years and started calling everybody they’ve worked with.
Joey Coleman: [00:13:32] Absolutely. Yeah. And let’s be candid, when it comes to a reaching out to see how you’re doing call, if that is truly the intention – and let’s be candid – there are a lot of people that claim that’s the intention, but care call is really the conversion call. But we’re going to call it the care call to feel better about it. It’s like, no, no, no. It really needs to be a care call.
Joey Coleman: [00:13:53] What’s interesting is, I don’t know that most people would react to that call negatively if they truly felt the intention behind it. Here’s the interesting thing about care calls though – and knowing you and your work, I’m sure that you’ve continued it beyond – the reality is, a lot of businesses did those type of care calls at the beginning of the pandemic for, like, one or two months and then they quit. And I liken this to the number of people who will reach out to you after a death in the immediate family.
Joey Coleman: [00:14:26] It seems like everybody comes out of the woodwork in the first week or two. They’re bringing meals over. They’re letting you know they care. They’re sending flowers. They’re sending cards. What about three months later or six months later when the reality is actually starting to set in? And I think that’s the opportunity that’s available to every business today. We’re a year out from the pandemic starting. And in some ways we’ve moved closer to the pandemic ending. But in some ways we’re still not sure what’s coming next. There’s a lot of uncertainty. You can still be doing those type of care calls today and having huge impact.
Jill Heineck: [00:14:59] That’s right. Absolutely. And I think that that’s key right now to moving forward, 2021 and beyond, business-wise. Wouldn’t you agree?
Joey Coleman: [00:15:09] One hundred percent. My hope – and we’ll see how it pans out – is that one of the silver linings of the pandemic is that we have reset our perspective as humans globally on what’s actually important. I think we had gotten caught up in the race, and caught up in the chase, and caught up in this belief that more was more and more was better. And I think the reality is, we’ve come to see who our real friends are, how we really want to spend our time, how productive we can be from home or a different setting, how comfortable we are having a conversation over Zoom versus driving halfway across town to meet someone in person.
Joey Coleman: [00:15:53] Now, don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of meeting people in person again. I look forward to that. However, most of the businesses I consult with have realized that they can do three, four, five times as many sales calls remotely or virtually than they can in person. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-in-person. But there are many of your customers that will actually appreciate the virtual connection more than the in-person. So, let’s meet our customers where they’re at.
Jill Heineck: [00:16:23] And that’s one of the cornerstones of our business, is, meet your customer where they are. And you have to do that by asking the right questions. And I think that’s what’s gotten lost. And I think coming back through this work environment now, I think a lot of companies are realizing they were never asking the right questions. This is why they were losing customers. This is why you didn’t have as many customers for life as you like. And as you and I both know, it costs more to retain new customers than it does to continue working with the customers that, hopefully, know and love you and want to refer you more business. So, in that vein, how are you coaching your clients at this moment? What kind of talks are you crafting right now along that vein?
Joey Coleman: [00:17:07] Well, what we’re looking at right now is, as I said earlier, we’ve just seen an acceleration of things that were already happening. So, this isn’t about bringing a wholesale new approach to business to the table. This is about doing the things that are working now. I’m not interested in the case study of what worked ten years ago. I’m interested in the case study of what’s working last week. And so, a lot of the conversations I’m having with my clients are about looking at the connection we’re making, getting clear on what we’re actually offering and what we’re going to deliver for that folks, and providing some semblance of certainty.
Joey Coleman: [00:17:46] In the last year, we have lived in total uncertainty. We still have a ton of uncertainty today. We actually have always had uncertainty, but it has been magnified in the last 12 months. So, I think the opportunity available to every business, regardless of the industry you’re in, is to double down on certainty moments. So, what does that look like? Friends, this isn’t rocket science. This isn’t complicated. This is something as simple as, for example, there was some research that was done by three amazing professors in Canada over the course of the last year. And they looked at eCommerce businesses and they looked at the difference in reorders between the eCommerce business, it says, “Your package will arrive next week.” and the business that says, “Your package will arrive next Wednesday before 4:00 p.m.”
Joey Coleman: [00:18:32] We have the opportunity to provide more certainty. So, when you’re talking to a new client and you say, “I’m going to get some listings together and email those over to you next week.” That is very different than, “I’m going to get some listings together and email those over to you next Monday at 10:00 a.m.” Now, I get that that’s more difficult for you. It’s easier if you say next week because you build in some buffers, who knows what might jump into your schedule, et cetera, et cetera.
Joey Coleman: [00:19:03] But when you start to establish that you are the kind of person that can be counted on to deliver on a set promise, on a set schedule, suddenly your client, who’s living in a world of uncertainty, says, “Oh. Well, at least I know that when I deal with my agent, things come when they’re promised. They’re delivered as promised.” That changes the entire conversation. And what that does at a biochemical level in our bodies as humans is very difficult to replicate in any other way. And so, I encourage people to think more about certainty and how you can use your language and your words to deliver that in these uncertain times.
Jill Heineck: [00:19:44] This is exactly what we talked about during our business coaching at high level, managing expectations from start to finish. And whether it’s setting up the initial consult with a Zoom call, or a quick walk through of the home to, “Here’s what’s going to happen after we meet. I’m going to send you a recap. I’m going to send you a recap of everything we talked about. Hopefully, I heard everything you wanted me to hear. If not, this is your time to correct it. Number two, we’re going to set up a timeline and we’re going to back into it. And number three, you’re going to tell me where you want to start. And I’m just going to wait for your green light.”
Jill Heineck: [00:20:23] And that’s how we set it up and try to manage expectations and create that level of certainty. Not every business can do that, I get that. But, you know, can you give an example of a company you’ve worked with that can’t necessarily give like, “I’m going to deliver on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. You’re going to receive your package.” How do you manage expectations in a different way?
Joey Coleman: [00:20:44] Well, I would posit that we actually can create certainty in every business and every industry. Now, we might not be able to create certainty on when you’re going to achieve your goal. But we can create micro milestones, little points along the way where we can have certainty.
Joey Coleman: [00:21:01] So, let’s take the real estate example. You know, I can’t, with certainty, tell you when you will find the house that you want and when your offer will be accepted and when we will close. I can’t tell you that at the beginning. What I can tell you is, we’re going to show you X number of houses in week one to narrow the field. And then, in week two, we’re going to take your feedback from those and go out and either double down into offers on those first houses or come back with some additional ideas.
Joey Coleman: [00:21:29] You know, when you were mentioning, Jill, outlining that program, a lot of businesses do a very good job of stating, “Here is our process. Here’s what we’re going to do.” And they presume that by saying it once, the client has embedded that timeline in their heart, body, and soul. The reality is they haven’t.
Joey Coleman: [00:21:49] I have two children, right? I have two boys, a five year old and a seven year old. I love my boys dearly. And every night we sit down at the table. And almost every night I have to say, “Where do our napkins go? Our napkins go on our lap.” Now, that could be that I’m a bad parent and I haven’t done a good enough job of training them. But anybody who’s listening, who is a parent, probably knows, you have to say the same thing a thousand times before it actually sets in.
Joey Coleman: [00:22:13] Our clients are tall children, and I don’t say that to be critical of them or to demean them. But the reality is, this is not their world. We know more about our process and our industry than they do. So, what I’d love to do is you have that conversation and then you hand them a printed sheet that details everything you just said. And then, guess what? You email them that sheet as a PDF attachment after they leave the meeting. And then, two weeks later, when you go to actually look at houses, you show up and you say, “By the way, I’ve got my little sheet here of our timeline. Just as a reminder, we’re on step two of eight.” And you show them, you physically put it in front of them.
Joey Coleman: [00:22:55] Now, some people are like, “Joey, that’s absolutely ridiculous.” Well, let me ask you this, have you ever gotten a new product that came with an instruction manual, and you just pulled the product out of the box and started using it without reading the instructions? Have you ever signed up for a program where they told you what the timeline was going to be and you found yourself going, “Gosh, I wonder what comes next? Why haven’t they called me? Why isn’t anything happening?” We do this in our own lives, and yet we’re shocked that our customers, that our clients, want something different. Friends, they’re human. They’re just like you. Just behave like you wish other people behaved when they interacted with you. And nine times out of ten, you’re going to know what to do.
Jill Heineck: [00:23:33] That brings me to a great example. We were interviewing six vendors to do a renovation project. And out of the six, one responded. When we made the appointment, they confirmed the appointment. Three days out before the appointment, they sent the appointment reminder. One day out, they sent another reminder and said, “We’re just reminding you of where our office is.” This is after they had seen the project site. And they said, “This is where we’re going to talk about X, Y, Z.” We get to the site, they had a complete spreadsheet of what the project milestones would look like, who would be managing it, how much approximately they thought it would cost, and how long it might take, considering the delay on materials and how things are going in pandemic times.
Jill Heineck: [00:24:25] And after the meeting, followed right up with the same spreadsheet we looked at on their walls. And with the same explanation, milestones, and then said, “We’ll wait on you for the green light to get started and we’ll send you the contract. Here’s how it will go once you sign the contract.” And then, outline that process. So, that person won our bid.
Joey Coleman: [00:24:48] And my gut instinct, Jill, is, they won the bid long before you looked at the dollar sign.
Jill Heineck: [00:24:56] That’s correct.
Joey Coleman: [00:24:56] Long before you had evaluated everyone else. And that’s the point of this whole First 100 Days methodology. You can change the game very early on in the conversation if you’re strategic and thoughtful with the interactions you’re having.
Jill Heineck: [00:25:10] And what I find is that, companies, to your point, just expect people to either read the website or look at the fine print on the bottom of an email to confirm a meeting. Rather than, reiterate how we’re going to connect, how we’re going to work together, and show the outline of how this working relationship is going to go down. To your point, setting expectations, giving clarity around how we’re going to be together. And so, you know, that is one way to retain a customer. I mean, gain and retain, right? Gain and retain, that’s the goal. Gain and retain.
Joey Coleman: [00:25:45] Absolutely.
Jill Heineck: [00:25:45] So, let’s talk a little bit about how you frame the customer journey. So, we’ve talked a little bit about the 100 Days. We’ve talked a little bit about, you know, the goal is to set clarity and give expectations. But what’s the journey looking like?
Joey Coleman: [00:26:01] Well, I believe that the customer journey can be broken into eight phases. And when I think of these eight phases, customer journey and the framework that I use with my clients, they all start with the letter A. And kind of the theory behind that is not to confuse you, but that it’s kind of like getting straight A’s from your customers. If you do all these things, they’re scoring you well, you’re getting a good report card.
Joey Coleman: [00:26:21] Jill, what I’d love to do is, I’ll give you a quick overview of all eight phases, and then we can dive into whichever ones you’d like. So, the first phase, Phase 1, is the assess phase. This is when a prospect is considering whether or not they want to do business with you. In common parlance, we call this marketing and sales. This is where most businesses spend the bulk of their time, effort, and money.
Joey Coleman: [00:26:41] We then go to Phase 2, admit. This is the first day of that 100 day journey. In the admit phase, the prospect acknowledges that they have a problem or a need that they believe you can help them with. They sign on the dotted line. In some industries, they hand over their hard earned cash. They officially transition from prospect to customer.
Joey Coleman: [00:27:01] We then go to Phase 3, the affirm phase. This happens immediately after that paper signing. In common parlance, the affirm stage is known as buyer’s remorse. They begin to doubt the decision they just made. Now, here’s the crazy thing, the research shows that every transaction produces a certain amount of buyer’s remorse. The bigger the transaction, the higher the buyer’s remorse. Friends that are in the real estate industry listening, this is the biggest transaction most people will ever do. So, buyer’s remorse is a real thing. But the buyer’s remorse isn’t only kicking in when they buy the house. They’re getting a little dose of buyer’s remorse when they decide to hire you as their agent. Most agents don’t want to admit that. Most agents think that that’s a criticism of them. That’s the reality of being a human. This is how dopamine works in the brain. Anyway, we have the affirm stage. And this affirm stage, we want to reaffirm the decision that they just made.
Joey Coleman: [00:27:56] We then come to Phase 4, the activate stage. This is the first real moment of truth. In a product business, this is where they get the product, they unbox it, and they start using it. In a service business, this is the first real interaction, maybe a kickoff meeting, maybe the first time you go look at houses. In the activate stage, I want you to energize the relationship. I want you to let the customer know that doing business with you is going to be unlike any business experience they have ever had.
Joey Coleman: [00:28:23] We then come to Phase 5 – and as a warning, friends, this is where most businesses start to fall off the rails. Most businesses are pretty good at that first meeting, not so good at the next meetings. The acclimate phase, Phase 5, is where you need to hold the customer’s hand and acclimate them to your way of doing business. You’ve sold dozens of houses, thousands of houses, tens of thousands of houses. To this customer, this may be the first time they’ve ever purchased a house. Or even if it’s the second or the third time, you’ve sold that many houses this week than they’ve sold in their lifetime. You’ve got to help the customer get familiar with your way of doing business. You have to hold their hand. You have to constantly remind them why we’re doing this, what our process is, how we’re moving forward.
Joey Coleman: [00:28:23] We then come to Phase 6, the accomplish phase. This is where the customer accomplishes the goal that they had when they originally decided to do business with you. See, every prospect has a vision of what goal they’re trying to accomplish. Every business thinks they have a clear understanding of what that goal is, but very few do. And very few track the progress towards that goal. And very few celebrate when the goal is actually achieved.
Joey Coleman: [00:29:33] Pro tip for everybody in real estate, the goal is not to buy a new house. That’s not the goal. The goal is to be living in that new house. Moved in, unpacked, and everything feels exactly the way they hoped it would feel. So, we need to stop thinking about celebrating on the closing day and delivering the gift then. And starting to think about what is the celebration 60 days down the road when they’re unpacked. Notice, I said 60, not 30, because I don’t know about you, Jill, I’ve moved a lot. I’ve never unpacked quicker than I think I’m going to, ever, in the history of all the moves I’ve made. So, we’ve got to recognize what their vision of success is may be different than ours.
Joey Coleman: [00:29:33] We then come to Phase 7, the adopt phase, where the customer becomes loyal to you and only you. They’re never going to look for another vendor or another partner again. They are committed to always doing business with you. And last but not least, Phase 8 – the Holy Grail – the advocate phase, where they become a raving fan, singing our praises far and wide, referring friends, family, and colleagues alike.
Joey Coleman: [00:30:37] Now, here’s the problem with the advocate phase. Most businesses want to jump right to the advocate phase. They want to jump into the relationship and say, “Who else do you know that needs the house? Who else do you know that might like my product?” We’ve got to get through all the other phases first –
Jill Heineck: [00:30:55] Basically, you’re saying slow your roll.
Joey Coleman: [00:30:58] Slow your roll. Exactly. You’ve got 100 days. You’ve got more than 100 days to play this out. Stop trying to make it happen in the first week. You know, I liken this stuff to dating, Jill. Can you imagine being in a dating situation, you go out on a first date. Let’s do a post-pandemic hypothetical here where you can actually go to a restaurant safely. And you sit down, and you’re getting ready, and the waiter or waitress comes over to take your order. And before they take your order, you turn to your new date and you say, “So, when am I going to get to meet your parents?” I think the average person would get up and leave the dinner. They’re like, “Oh, my gosh. We haven’t even ordered appetizers yet and you want to meet the parents?”
Jill Heineck: [00:31:38] “Wait. We haven’t even ordered a drink yet.”
Joey Coleman: [00:31:40] Nothing has happened. Stop it. Stop this behavior. It’s hard for me to feel like you care about me when before you’ve delivered any value for me, you’re asking for me to expose my Rolodex, my friends, my family, my connections to you. Slow your roll. Slow you.
Jill Heineck: [00:31:59] That’s my motto, slow it down, people.
Joey Coleman: [00:32:02] I like it.
Jill Heineck: [00:32:04] You know, I wanted to go back a little bit to your Phase 1 and talk about the $35,000 golf ball.
Joey Coleman: [00:32:14] Sure.
Jill Heineck: [00:32:14] I love it as you open the book and read about this, I think this is in the first chapter.
Joey Coleman: [00:32:20] Well, it’s in the first chapter about the first phases. So, there’s a couple of chapters explaining the importance of retention and why we need to pay attention to this. And then, I tell this story of the $35,000 gold ball.
Jill Heineck: [00:32:30] I love the story. It demonstrates a lot of different points. But can you just briefly give us an overview?
Joey Coleman: [00:32:36] Absolutely. So, here’s the quick version. I worked in sales for senior executives at Fortune 500 companies. And I went down to meet with this guy at a large energy company. And as I walked into his office, I felt like I was walking into the clubhouse at one of the finest golf courses in the world. This guy’s office was enormous. You know how in the movies sometimes you see somebody putting with a little green in their office type thing? This guy had a four-hole course in his office. He had not a bag of golf clubs. He had bags – plural – four bags, and they were all putters so he could play with different putters. And of course, I’m thinking, “Oh, my gosh.” Around the walls, there were these pictures of the top holes at the signature golf courses in the world. You know, Pebble Beach, Augusta, the old course at St. Andrews.
Joey Coleman: [00:33:24] We sat down for this 30 minute sales conversation and I said, “So, it seems like you enjoy golf.” He started laughing and I laughed. We spent 28-and-a-half minutes talking about golf. We get to a minute-and-a-half left in the meeting and I said, “Jimmy, I really appreciate our conversation. I know we haven’t had a chance to talk all about the consulting service we offer. Let me leave you some materials that you can read on your own time. And I’d love to call you in about two weeks and follow up, and just see if the membership is a good fit for you.” He said, “Joey, that sounds great. I’m so sorry that we didn’t get a chance to talk about you and your program.” I said, “Don’t worry about it. It’s all good.”
Joey Coleman: [00:34:01] The next week, I was on vacation. I was at Pebble Beach. For those of you that are not golfers, Pebble Beach is one of the most revered golf courses on the planet. Why I was allowed to play there is beyond. I am not qualified to play at Pebble Beach. But I was playing with my family, and my brothers and my dad are good golfers, so I was along for the ride. As I’m walking through the gift shop, I see a logoed golf ball that says 100th Anniversary of the U.S. Open. It was being played at Pebble Beach that year. It’s a $12 golf ball. I decide to buy the golf ball. I go to the concierge at the hotel. I get a FedEx envelope. I write a little note, “Jimmy, here at Pebble Beach. Thinking of you. Maybe someday we can play this course together. Joey.” And I mail the golf ball off for delivery next day.
Joey Coleman: [00:34:49] The following day, I’m on the course and my phone rings. For those of you that play golf, bad etiquette on my part to have the ringer on, on the phone, right? This is the early 90s before we got vibrate mode, okay? Sorry. Forgive me. Moral of the story, the phone rings, it’s my assistant. And she says, “What the heck did you do to Jimmy?” I said, “I’m sorry? I don’t understand.” She’s like, “I just got a call from his office saying, ‘Fax us the contract. We’re signing up for the $35,000 program.'” And that’s the story of the $35,000 golf ball.
Joey Coleman: [00:35:24] The moral of this story is, when you connect with people at a deep emotional level early on in the conversation and you give them a preview of what being in relationship with you is going to look and feel like, they can’t help but want to do business with you.
Jill Heineck: [00:35:43] I love that story so, so much. So, can you kind of tie it in a little bow and tell us how that relationship continued to move forward? I mean, I know you’re no longer with that company, but do you know were they a customer for a long time?
Joey Coleman: [00:35:59] They were absolutely a customer for a long time. They actually reupped into a different level of the membership, a higher level of the membership afterwards. And I think the moral of the story here is, you’re not necessarily going to be in touch with every customer you’ve ever done business with for the duration of your career. I wrote a book called Never Lose a Customer Again. And I have customers that I’ve lost. I have customers that aren’t with me anymore.
Joey Coleman: [00:36:26] But here’s what I hope holds true, I think if you were to go to anyone who ever did business with me and said, “What was the experience like of doing business with Joey?” They would have positive things to say. And it’s not as important to me to continue to deepen the share of wallet, the amount of dollars I’m getting from that person. My goal is to make sure in that time period that we know each other. And that time period that we work together, I deliver such an experience that decades later they still remember that. My hope is that Jimmy still has the golf ball. He still remembers the interaction. Even though we’re not in business together, we haven’t spoken together in over a decade, he still thinks as positively of that interaction as I do.
Jill Heineck: [00:37:16] I’m guessing that he does.
Joey Coleman: [00:37:18] That’s my hope.
Jill Heineck: [00:37:19] I just love that. So, when you talked about what can the client expect after the sale, after signing, you’ve signed the sales contract, you’re agreeing to work together, you’ve talked about what it’s going to look like when you work together, how are you coaching your clients? You know, what are you presenting in the way of a high level interactive Phase 2 after they’ve signed? So, I know we went through your original eight phases. But what does that look like right after it’s signed? How are you coaching?
Joey Coleman: [00:37:57] So, right after they sign, that’s the admit phase, where they sign on the dotted line. Remember, most businesses want to jump to Phase 4, the activate phase. And they skip Phase 3, the affirm phase, that buyer’s remorse. So, the first thing you need to do after they sign, within 24 to 36 hours, is reinforce the decision they just made. Now, most people overcomplicate this. They’re like, “Geez, Joey. How do I do that? What do I need?” It’s real simple. Let them know how excited you are to be working together outside of the meeting where they agree.
Joey Coleman: [00:38:34] So, let’s say you have the meeting, you present them with the contract, they sign, you’re going to be representing them, looking for their house. Send them a selfie video the next day. Just a little handheld video from your cell phone, “Hey, Joey. This is Jill. I just wanted to tell you I loved our meeting yesterday. I have been thinking all night about how we are going to find you the perfect four-bedroom house with a pool in the backyard in the neighborhood you want to be. I have been looking. I’m excited for our meeting next week. We’re going to review the listings. But I just wanted you to know, thank you. Thank you for trusting me with finding you the home that is going to protect, nurture, and accelerate your family for the next phase of your life.” Send. That’s it.
Joey Coleman: [00:39:19] It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. It doesn’t have to be more ostentatious than that. It just needs to remind the person that you’re excited about the relationship and you’ve already started working for them. That’s going to take care of any fear, doubt, or uncertainty that they have.
Joey Coleman: [00:39:37] You could also write a thank you note. Remember that old school tool, the handwritten thank you note? I mean, I know I can’t see our listeners here, but everybody play along with me just for a second, if you could. All right. I want you to think, answer a couple of questions. Number one, have you received a handwritten thank you note from someone that you did business with in the last year? Go ahead and raise your hand, listeners. I know we can’t see you, but just play along. Raise your hand high up in the air if you have received a handwritten thank you note in the last year. Okay. Great. So, you’ve got your hands up. Most of you have your hands up. Okay. Keep your hands up. Keep your hands up.
Joey Coleman: [00:40:12] Here’s the thing, continue to keep your hand up if you still have that thank you note. Now, guess what? Most people are still raising their hands. Most people still have their hand up in the air. Why? You read the thank you note, you know who it’s from, and you kept it. You kept it because in an increasingly digital era, we are dying for physical proof that we matter. We are dying for an artifact that shows we had an impact on another human being’s life. And I’m sorry, the thank you email doesn’t cut it. That gets archived and never seen or read again. The handwritten note makes a mark. It creates an interaction that the person actually feels guilty about throwing away the thank you note. So, they keep the thank you note and every time they hear the word thank you note, every time they come across that thank you note, they get another little dopamine hit of positive feeling towards you.
Jill Heineck: [00:41:15] It’s wonderful to go to a mailbox full of junk mail and get something that’s actually personal and related to a recent experience. And not something that you are not being sold to.
Joey Coleman: [00:41:29] Yeah. Or even related to your point earlier, Jill, to a past experience. What about thinking about your top ten favorite clients of all time? You maybe haven’t done business with them in years. Write them a thank you note. Track them down. Maybe they live in a different house, it doesn’t matter. Write the note, let them know how much you appreciated working with them and how much you love the interaction. And don’t make it about, “Oh, and by the way, if you’re looking to buy a house again in the future, let me know.” No. They’ll figure that out. Let them connect that last dot. It’ll be okay, I promise.
Jill Heineck: [00:42:04] I mean, everything you have said is like things are going off in my brain, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. We are so on the same page. I feel like that you have this really great way of connecting the dots and making it really easy for our listeners to kind of take these chunks and make some application today. So, if you wanted to add to this, what top one or two things would you give our listeners as a takeaway that they could implement? I mean, of course, we could write the thank yous and not every business is set up to do, you know, 2,000 thank yous in a day after they’ve sold 2,000 trinkets, so to speak.
Joey Coleman: [00:42:46] Well, interesting, yes. And I would challenge that assumption, Jill.
Jill Heineck: [00:42:50] And say no too.
Joey Coleman: [00:42:51] I think a lot of businesses do that. I’ve got a client who we worked with that they sell 500 of their online supplements. They sell supplements online. They get five hundred new customers per day.
Jill Heineck: [00:43:06] Okay. That’s a lot.
Joey Coleman: [00:43:07] Five hundred per day, that’s a lot. And this company has five employees. So, if you do the math, they would have to write 100 thank you notes each, every employee every day, just to keep up. That’s not sustainable. What is sustainable is hiring a bunch of stay at home parents to write thank you notes, where they provide them with the script, the note, the envelope, and the stamp. And every morning, those people wake up and they have an email with a spreadsheet that lists out 50 names. And while their kids are at school, while their kids are doing other things, or whatever’s happening, they write thank you notes and they get paid for every thank you note they write and send. You can outsource this stuff and make them part of the team and create these type of connection.
Joey Coleman: [00:43:52] So, I would encourage people to not be limited by their own belief about what’s possible within their schedule. And instead, think, if it was mission critical for our business that every customer got a thank you note, how would we do that? So, in terms of other ideas that I have for folks, well, a couple of things. Number one, how much time are you logging every week for new business development? Most people I know, especially real estate agents, are really good at saying, “I’ve got these three meetings. I’m going to this open house. I’m going to this networking event, et cetera, et cetera.” Awesome. Look at the last month and look at every week how much time you spent on new business development, write that down. Now, I’d like you to look in your calendar. Since those things were in your calendar, look in your calendar to see how many blocks of time you had allocated for existing client reinforcement. My gut instinct is, it is a fraction of the time you spend on new business.
Jill Heineck: [00:44:54] If it’s even on there.
Joey Coleman: [00:44:55] If it’s even on there. If it’s even on there, it is a fraction of the time. Do an experiment for the next 30 days. Every time you put something on your calendar that is a new business development activity, block the same amount of time on your calendar for existing client doubling down. And I’m not talking about the work you would do going and showing a client some houses and saying, “Oh, well. Look. That’s taking care of it.” No, no, no. I’m talking about in the same way energy you approach going out to get new business, approaching with that level of enthusiasm and focus and intentionality, a block of time where you’re serving your clients that you already have. So, that’s one thing that I might do right out of the blocks.
Joey Coleman: [00:45:39] Number two, how much time you spend researching your existing clients? What do I mean by that? Well, in this day and age, love it or not, social media is a big part of a lot of people’s lives. Are you following your clients on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Twitter? Are you seeing what they’re posting about? Are you paying attention to what’s going on in their life that has nothing to do with you but everything to do with what’s important to them? And are you looking for points of commonality or points of polarity? What I mean by that is, a point of commonality is something that you share in interest with them. Points of polarity is something where you’re the opposite of.
Joey Coleman: [00:46:18] Now, let me share something late in the interview. Hopefully, people have either decided whether they like me or not. So, what I’m about to say is going to push some people off, but that’s totally fine. I am a huge fan of Notre Dame football. I went to the University of Notre Dame. I believe there are two types of people in the world, people who are Notre Dame fans and those who haven’t been converted yet. It’s totally fine. Now, when I just said that, a number of people listening just said, “Oh, my gosh.” You know how someone is a Notre Dame fan, don’t worry, they’ll tell you. I get it. I know all the jokes.
Joey Coleman: [00:46:49] But the people who are not Notre Dame fans, we now have a point of polarity. They know they can tease me about that. They can tell me who their favorite team is. And we can spar back and forth and I’ll put my national championships up against theirs any day and still be quite happy. But the moral of the story here is, it’s not just about finding things that are uncommon. You can find things where there are moments of polarity and actually use those as a doorway for a conversation too.
Joey Coleman: [00:47:17] Are you doing that research? Are you writing that down? Are you putting that in your CRM? And are you thinking creatively of ways that you can feed that information back to them at a later date in a way that will let your client know that you were listening, that you were paying attention? This brings us full circle to some of the work I did at CIA, which is about figuring out what makes people tick and figuring out how to take that information and present it back to them as a way to build affinity and connection.
Jill Heineck: [00:47:47] Wow. Well, yes. Yes, yes, and yes to everything you just said. Joey, I don’t even know what to say. This has been such an incredible episode. I’m so happy you joined us on the show today. I want to give a shout out to Michelle Joyce and her team because I reached out to her and she immediately said, “You have got to talk to Joey. He’s amazing.” She did not disappoint. You did not disappoint.
Joey Coleman: [00:48:12] Oh, I’m so glad to hear that. For those that may not know, Michelle Joyce is my wonderful director of events. She’s responsible for coordinating all of my speaking engagements. And, gosh, I just love her and the whole team dearly. They take great care of me.
Jill Heineck: [00:48:27] They have taken great care of you. They’ve done a great job of promoting you and connecting you with me. And I’m just so happy you were able to spend some time with us today.
Joey Coleman: [00:48:36] Well, it was my pleasure. Jill. Thank you so much for the conversation. And thanks to everybody that was listening in as well. I believe there are three types of speakers, right? There are speakers who make you think differently, speakers who make you feel differently, and speakers who make you act differently. And while I certainly hope that after our time together, our listeners are thinking differently and feeling differently about the experiences they’re creating for their customers. If you don’t act differently, I haven’t earned your time and I haven’t earned your attention during this conversation.
Joey Coleman: [00:49:06] So, please, please, please, go out there and create remarkable experiences for your customers in the first 100 days and beyond. I promise you, it will make your business better. It will make your personal life better. It will lead to all sorts of amazing things you can’t even begin to imagine.
Jill Heineck: [00:49:24] Thank you, Joey. And thanks, everybody, for listening. I am so proud to share this show with you as these tips prioritize the customer experience as a legit business strategy. Reminding us that no matter the business you’re in, the customer experience should always be the heart of the business.
About Your Host
Jill Heineck is a leading authority on corporate relocations, and is highly sought after for her real estate industry acumen and business insights. As a published author, frequent panelist and keynote speaker, Jill shares her experience and perceptions with people from around the globe.
Jill is a founding partner of Keller Williams Southeast, established in 1999, and the founder and managing partner of Heineck & Co. Her real estate practice specializes in corporate relocations, individual relocations, luxury residential, and commercial properties. Jill’s analytical approach to problem-solving, along with her expert negotiation skills and sophisticated marketing, deliver superior results to her clients. Her winning strategies and tenacious client advocacy have earned her a reputation for excellence among Atlanta’s top producers.
While Jill has received many accolades throughout her career, she is most gratified by the personal testimonials and referrals she receives from her clients. Jill’s unwavering commitment to the customer experience, and her focus on the unique needs of each client, serve as the foundation of her success.
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