Brady Sandahl of KW Luxury Homes in Palm Springs, California is widely recognized as one of the leading forces in the Greater Palm Springs, CA/Coachella Valley real estate market, and in 2019, his group was recognized as being Coachella Valley’s highest producing team as well as the only team who sold over $100 million within that year.
In addition to representing clients as well as leading this award-winning group, Brady is an active member of Desert Estates Network, Coachella Valley’s premier consortium of real estate professionals who specialize in selling luxury real estate; a Board Member and President for the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce; a local, regional and national presenter on topics related to personal production, organizational culture and customer experience and engagement strategies; was co-host of the desert’s “Home Makeover in the Desert” and has presented on several HGTV shows including “National Open House” and “What You Get for the Money”.
Brady has earned a Master of Arts in Organization Management, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, and has completed a series of courses delivered by leading organizations like The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center.
Debbie Sharp is the founder and group leader of The Sharp Group, heading the sales team and overseeing all of the team’s listings. Prior to her career in real estate, Debbie had 14 years of leadership experience at Nordstrom, where she held several leadership and buying assignments that lead her to her final assignment, the Store Manager of Nordstrom in Palo Alto.
After leaving Nordstrom, Debbie launched into her real estate career and quickly became a rising star in the boutique brokerages she aligned herself with. Within a few short years, she became one of the top agents in the Peninsula area. After establishing and developing a real estate business on her own, Debbie realized she needed to build a team around her to help support her increasing number of clients with the high level of service that she is known for, which is why in 2011 she created a partnership with Keller Williams Peninsula Estates, and The Sharp Group was born.
Along with building a star-studded team of experts in customer service, design, project management, and marketing, the team of vendors that Debbie has built is unparalleled. Debbie’s clients enjoy priority scheduling, relationship pricing, and white glove service from some of the top service companies in the Bay Area, on any budget and timeline.
Debbie has also taken several leadership roles within Keller Williams over the years, most recently as an Operating Principle of the Keller Williams Peninsula Estates offices, including Burlingame and San Mateo. In addition, Debbie has taken supporting roles in a number of charitable organizations, such as The Burlingame Library Foundation and the Hillsborough School Foundation. Debbie resides in Hillsborough with her daughter, Ava, and their doggie, Frankie!
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] Welcome to this very special edition of Customer Experience Radio. I’m your host, Jill Heineck. I’m a business owner, real estate adviser, and customer experience enthusiast. One of the most important aspects of my business is making sure that you, as our client, is clear on the process, able to reach us for anything at any time, and to make it as stress free as possible. And I’m really so proud when I see others in my industry also striving for this level of experience and doing it at a very high level. And that’s why I’m super excited to have two of my very good friends and colleagues with Keller Williams Realty on the show with us today. They are our very first realtors extraordinaire to join us. Hello.
Debbie Sharp: [00:01:04] Hello.
Brady Sandahl: [00:01:04] Hello, Jill.
Jill Heineck: [00:01:06] Hello. So, Debbie Sharp is the founder and the group leader of The Sharp Group. She has not only built a star studded team of experts in customer service, design, project management, and marketing, but also the team of vendors that Debbie has handpicked to serve her client’s renovations needs. Debbie’s clients enjoy priority scheduling, relationship pricing, and white glove service from some of the top companies in the Bay Area on any budget and timeline. Prior to her career in real estate, Debbie had 14 years of leadership experience at Nordstrom, where she held several leadership and buying assignments that led to her final assignment as the store manager of Nordstrom in Palo Alto. And after leaving Nordstrom, Debbie launched her real estate career and quickly became a rising star. Duh. Within a few short years, she became one of the top agents in the Peninsula San Francisco area.
Jill Heineck: [00:02:00] Brady Sandahl of KW Luxury Homes in Palm Springs, California is widely recognized as one of the leading forces in the Greater Palm Springs Coachella Valley real estate market. Being recognized in 2019 as Coachella Valley’s highest producing team and the only team who sold over 100 million in volume within that year. He was also the co-host of the Desert’s Home Makeover in the Desert and has presented on several HGTV shows, including National Open House and What You Get For Your Money. Welcome, Debbie and Brady.
Debbie Sharp: [00:02:30] Thank you, Jill.
Brady Sandahl: [00:02:30] Thank you, Jill.
Jill Heineck: [00:02:31] I am so happy to have you both here.
Brady Sandahl: [00:02:38] You know, ironically, Jill, Debbie and I had a strong career with Nordstrom. Debbie took it to a higher level. I stayed more in the customer side of it. But she and I, we came from the same drinking fountain, compliments of the Nordstrom family. So, it’s great to be on the show with her today.
Debbie Sharp: [00:02:56] Yes. Hi, Brady.
Jill Heineck: [00:02:56] It makes all the sense in the world to me knowing who you are and how you both run your businesses. Brady, so let’s talk a little bit more about your background. So, you were at Nordstrom at some point and then talk a little bit more about where you’ve gotten your foundation.
Brady Sandahl: [00:03:14] Yeah. Well, it started by being a consumer at Nordstrom at a very early age. And I like to work there so badly that when I applied and they said no, I simply went to their sale date, and dressed up and started folding clothes. And, ironically, one of the companies saw me doing that and took me under his wing and put me to work right away.
Brady Sandahl: [00:03:35] But I learned the importance of customer service, which is, you take care of your internal customers first. You inspire them, you lead them, you grow them, and they are then empowered to take care of the customers that hire them. So, for me, taking care of our internal customers is a core value. And that allows our ladies and gentlemen to exceed the expectations of the customers who hire us or from within.
Jill Heineck: [00:04:05] Yes. So, Debbie, talk a little bit about your Nordstrom background and the other experiences that you’ve had around to build your foundation.
Debbie Sharp: [00:04:13] Thank you. Of course, I love it, Brady. I love it. It all comes down to shopping. It all starts and stops at shopping. I love it. So, yes. I, too, love that in a special manner going to Nordstrom with my mom and my sisters. Sometimes each one of us would go by ourselves. And I was like, “Oh, I want to work here.” My mom’s like, “Oh. No. You’re going to college, grad school. Retail, just shop there.” And so, of course, I get out of college after several years and I was about to go on a little – I think it was Europe but maybe it was just away. I can’t recall. And I said, “Well, I’ll just step into Nordstrom and introduce myself to the store manager.” And it happened to be Jim Nordstrom, Jimmy Nordstrom. Just the young Nord, Jim. And he is doing great and has a fabulous family and still involved slightly with the store.
Debbie Sharp: [00:05:03] So, that was in Northern California. And so, I stepped in and he didn’t have time for me so that I was able to meet with an individual, her name is Chris Rominger. I’ll never forget this. This was several decades ago. And I said, “You know, I’d love to just work for the summer. I’m actually just out of college and I’m going to be going on a vacation.” She goes, “Oh, we don’t have any room. There’s no jobs.” I go, “What? Are you kidding?” And then, I came back several times because I was, like, grabbing makeup, shopping, buy a pair of shoes, trying to be sly about it. I’m like, “Oh. Hi, Chris. I’m just stepping in.” And she goes, “Okay. Well, you can get hired for the half yearly sale. If you do a good job, you might be able to stay.” I’m like, “Okay. I’ll do a good job.”
Debbie Sharp: [00:05:47] And so, that’s how it started. I started at the June half yearly sale. I think I’ve never hung and folded clothes more in my whole life. And from there, I started a career at Nordstrom. And I just said, “I want to learn. I want to do this. How can I I contribute?” And then, from there, from within, like Brady illustrates with his current team and what we learned at Nordstrom is kind of elevating folks within the business community. And I just worked my way up as assistant manager. And then, of course, my last role was at the Stanford store in Palo Alto, and that was just under $100 million dollar building. It was like 88 when I departed in 2003.
Jill Heineck: [00:06:32] I’m sorry to interrupt. So, both of you, if you can think back to something that one of the Nordstrom said to you that stuck with you. As, you know, we’re talking about the customer experience and how to create that environment, what is something that stuck with you that they have said to you during your experience there?
Brady Sandahl: [00:06:56] Oh, for me, Nordstrom started, as Debbie knows so well, as a family business selling shoes. And the family started the company with the goal of selling shoes. But what they realized is that they had to create a brand platform, brand standards that others can execute. And so, they poured enormous amount of thought and energy into selecting, not hiring, but selecting the right ladies and gentlemen to represent that brand, that initial brand standard back when the company was started. And they never lost sight of that. And I think where companies go wrong, as they put a lot of focus on the customer, and while that’s not necessarily the wrong path, they’ve done it before, they focused on their internal customer.
Brady Sandahl: [00:07:44] Remember, the entrepreneur who is listening to your show right now, they’ve started the company. But, eventually, they’ve selected individuals to join them. And those individuals have to be so clear on the brand standards and the service platform so when that entrepreneur is not in the room, the customer gets the same level of service. Remember, organizations are designed to do what they’re built to do. And when organizations like Nordstrom or the Ritz Carlton are built to take care of the customer, the entire organization will take care of that customer. So, number one, selecting talent, pouring into those talents, noticing that they’re on a championship team. And to be on that championship court, they’ve got to hit those standards consistently time and time again.
Debbie Sharp: [00:08:37] I love it. Very similar, Brady. And, Jill, to answer your question specifically, the number one thing – and I have two, if I may – that I really deemed from my earlier years at Nordstrom is what Brady illustrated, which is the inverted pyramid. So, as you are growing up and contributing more in leadership at Nordstrom and making mistakes, and making new mistakes, and taking on bigger assignments, you slightly get further away from the customer. So, the inverted pyramid where the core leadership, be it family or otherwise, was at the bottom of the pyramid and the customers are at the top. And then, everybody closest to the customers as a leader was our customer.
Debbie Sharp: [00:09:16] And I do that very same action for my team. And nothing’s perfect. We make new mistakes. But my job is, of course, like Brady said, to give customer service to our buyers and sellers. But my number one job is to serve my team. To make sure they are taken care of. That they have what they need. They have the right coaching. They have the right tools. And so, that’s my number one takeaway that I learned at Nordstrom and executed at Nordstrom as I learned and made mistakes through that. And as I exited, I was very good at it because I had everybody giving me service to do a better job for my people. And so, that’s my number one focus for my team.
Debbie Sharp: [00:09:59] And then, secondarily, I think it all comes down as entrepreneurs and men and women, and people and humans, is we have to remember that we are not here to manage people. We’re here to manage the expectation. And if that’s the keeper of the brand, like Brady mentioned, we’re the keeper of the brands. This is what we do. We’re not here to say you do it this way and it’s only this way. And you didn’t do it right. It’s like, here’s the expectation on a document that is memorialized on posters and throughout the whole office or at home or on your laptop or whatever it is. Let’s make sure that we are managing the expectation with each other and to our clients. Because we’re not managing clients. We’re not managing our teams. We don’t want to be managed. But we all have expectations that we are expecting of others and folks are expected of us. And so, that’s what I’ve really utilized in my entrepreneurial role that I took from the corporate background that I had at Nordstrom.
Jill Heineck: [00:10:57] I love that. And, you know, it’s so true because, specifically in our industry as realtors who are caring for someone in a life transition and making a giant investment, managing expectations during the process is key. And I think that can make or break the experience, number one. And it can also make or break the relationship. And everybody wants things to remain intact. And I put myself in these positions a lot of the time and think, you know, when I’m calling to get a quote on some work done in my house, I want to know what the process is. Are you then coming to my house? Are we doing a virtual? Am I walking you through? Are you giving me an estimate? Like, how long do I have to wait before you send me something in writing? And so, I take all these and – similar to what you have done with your experiences in Nordstrom – I take a lot of my real life experiences over the last 20 years and really think about what would make me happier if this process went a certain way? How can I better manage my clients? I mean, I love that you take heed to this.
Jill Heineck: [00:12:06] So, with that being said, I’d love for each of you to touch on a little bit about, maybe, one or two things that you’re doing that have been really impactful within your team. Because, like you said, those are your internal customers. If they’re not happy or they’re not feeling engaged, the morale isn’t high, then we can’t serve at a high level because they’re helping you serve the client. So, can you talk a little bit about that?
Brady Sandahl: [00:12:32] Absolutely. And, Jill, what I want to say before we go into that is that, you’ve always done a good job of delivering anticipatory service for your customers in Atlanta, what it gets down to. And, Debbie, you do this also. Which is, you help paint a picture of the standard that you’re going to hit, but, also, what’s going to happen next. And, really, customers don’t hire you for character. They hire you for clarity. We sometimes forget that. Customers really want clarity. They may not say that, but they expect it. And that’s what’s going to cause them to go forward. If they feel comfortable and confident that you’ve communicated a clear path, they’re more likely to hire.
Brady Sandahl: [00:13:11] So, Jill, two things that we do, every day we do a lineup. And we really brought this over from the Ritz Carlton. It’s what we call the 3G lineup. And that is, we bring our ladies and gentlemen together, right now through Zoom, and we go through the 3Gs. And why that’s important is, the 3Gs address the culture of numbers and the culture of people. The first G is gratitude. What are we most grateful for in each other? What are we most grateful for in our jobs and our customers and our experiences? The second G would be the goals. And we look at goals from, obviously, volume. And we look at goals of personal growth. But here’s what’s interesting, companies fail because they don’t talk about goals on a daily basis. Push the conversation down to a quarterly meeting. And that just gets awkward. If you talk about goals on a quarterly basis or even on a monthly basis, it may be too far away for the front end consumer and too far late for the customer employee. And then, of course, that third G, Jill, as you know, is the greet. What do we need to do today to make the customer experience better? So, that daily 3G is something that we do really well at a high level on a daily basis.
Brady Sandahl: [00:14:33] Now, the next thing — fun, but it’s glamorous. Let me tell you, we have a core value system called ASPIRE, A-S-P-I-R-E, where we anticipate, serve, perform, inspire, respond, excel. And at 4:45, Pacific, we get on the phone and talk about what did we do to put those core values into motion. How did we surprise and delight the customer in the interaction – not the transaction – in the interaction that reflects those core values of ASPIRE? Because when you talk about a culture, it’s what you do and how you do it. And when we talk about it daily, it shows up daily. If we don’t talk about it daily, it won’t show up daily. And customer experience, as Debbie said earlier, it’s going to be defined one of two ways, either by you, the entrepreneur, or by the customer. It’s a lot more exciting when you set the standard and everyone knows the target.
Debbie Sharp: [00:15:34] I love it.
Jill Heineck: [00:15:34] Absolutely. Debbie.
Debbie Sharp: [00:15:34] Oh, my gosh. My footnote. I like typing. I love it, Brady. And my fingers hurt. I love it. I love to contribute and learn. Holy crap. So, we do similar, but not the same. We love to learn and execute at a higher level. So, on a daily basis, Monday through Friday, we have what we call the Sharp Group Pedal. And so, we do that every morning at 10:00, Pacific, of course. And it’s something that we set the precedent to yes. We don’t think it’s mandatory. We just make it fun and it’s consistent. It’s like brushing teeth, working out, having breakfast, whatever that you do. It’s just like clockwork. So, I used to, of course, remind like, “Can’t we just see you.” And, now, it’s just like, boom, we’re there. And you’re like, “Hi. Good morning.” And we go through the lineup as well for our team.
Debbie Sharp: [00:16:28] And it’s all about giving gratitude to our team, each other, and talking about our wins, and, also, about our opportunities. It’s okay. Nobody is perfect here. And we’re not looking for perfection, nor is our client community. But we like to make new mistakes. Not the same ones. And we like to understand, like, how can we improve, and what’s better, and better system. So, we just roll through the lineup of our team and talk about what’s working, what can work better. Again, opportunity strikes and then just kudos. So, we do that 10:00 to 10:30 on a daily basis.
Debbie Sharp: [00:17:06] The sales team connect over the weekend. But it’s not a specific time. It’s more fluid. And then, we are really trying to, of course, with our SIP platforms, still certainly see each other with the proper social distancing outside and really having some face-to-face time within the Sharp Group, and then our clients community, and the broker community. So, we’re planning that in advance. And not just go, “Oh, I miss you.” Because we can be out, we’re essential. We can be out, so we’re planning that weekly, monthly, quarterly. And, again, it’s very safe and very high level and very fun.
Debbie Sharp: [00:17:41] And then, lastly, we’re really just staying in close communication with our client and understanding how are we doing. What can I do for you? Our pleasure in calling without an agenda. We have an agenda because we’re calling and reaching out. We’re not calling them for anything. We’re not saying, “Can you do this? May I have this?” So, I’m like, what are our weekly calls? And we just love them, you know, the calling without an agenda. Like, how are you? What can I do for you? How’s your new puppy? And really understanding our horizontal and vertical platform just really what’s going on in their world. And it’s one minute, or it’s a text, or it’s a call, or it’s a voice call. So, we’re keeping it very fluid, very quick, very thoughtful, and very authentic. And that’s what we love.
Debbie Sharp: [00:18:31] When people call me and they’re like, “Can you do this? Blah, blah, blah.” I’m like, “Ah!” When you call me Jill and say, “I’m just thinking about you.” Or I check Brady, like, “Hey, you. Do you have time for this?” But it’s not like, “By 10:00 tomorrow.” I just don’t want to put more to-dos on my team’s list. I want to manage expectation and be fluid with both our clients, and our broker community, and our team.
Brady Sandahl: [00:18:56] Here’s how I describe Debbie to people, because we love to refer business to Debbie. She’s in San Francisco and we’re in Palm Springs. I say about Debbie is she has very few rules but very high standards. [Inaudible] know exactly the standard to hit. How you get across the goal line is really up to them. But they know. They know that they need to stay in to hit that expectation. It’s a great group to business with. If you want to buy or sell in San Francisco market, clearly, The Sharp Group is a great way to go. And Jill, you’re in Atlanta. I mean, you’re just crushing it on taking care of the customer. You, too, have very high standards and few rules. You always step up and your ladies and gentlemen do the same.
Jill Heineck: [00:19:46] Well, I appreciate the shout out. Back at you, Brady.
Debbie Sharp: [00:19:51] Back at you, Brady. On that note –
Brady Sandahl: [00:19:53] That’s why we hang out together. We seek the same language.
Debbie Sharp: [00:19:56] You’re awesome.
Jill Heineck: [00:19:59] So, with that being said, now that we’ve talked about managing the expectation of the internal customer, your teams, how do you track ROI on how these things are going? How do you know they’re being successful? Obviously, you’re going to see production, the usual benchmarks. But, I mean, internally, how do you know that things are jiving?
Brady Sandahl: [00:20:25] Well, I think there’s the qualitative and the quantitative side. When you’re talking with your own team every single day – as Debbie and I are doing. And, Jill, you’re doing this also – you can look for the cues and clues of what’s showing up. Its body language. It’s eye contact. It’s anxiety. And, yeah, it’s also profit and performance. But I think if you’re not talking about it daily, you miss the cues and the clues.
Brady Sandahl: [00:20:52] So, clearly, two sides of business. Quantitative, very, very easy. If you’re into this show, you know the quantitative success of your business. It’s a mathematical equation. The qualitative, it’s not as mathematical, but it’s as important as the quantitative. You really have to show up every day, like Debbie, with that high level of emotional intelligence. Your job is to pour into the people so they can pour into the people that have hired your employees to get the job done. But it’s a measure of looking at the numbers and having that high level emotional intelligence and intuition on the qualitative side. Critically important.
Brady Sandahl: [00:21:38] People join companies for two reasons, leads and leadership. They can find leads in many different places. They cannot find leadership. People leave people. Be a good leader. The leads less.
Debbie Sharp: [00:21:59] Yeah. I think so, too, Brady. I would say with folks, I mean, I’ve made my luck. I don’t think people are lucky. I think it’s a purpose. It’s purposeful to have luck in your life. And my team, we’ve had change, of course. There’s always reason for folks to move up and sometimes move out, be it we’re coaching folks out or there’s opportunity elsewhere for them personally and professionally. And we wish them well. We celebrate their wins and their changes. However, I’ve had several people on my team for a decade and two decades and several people that I led and was led by at Nordstrom.
Debbie Sharp: [00:22:39] And I always feel that the opportunity, to Brady’s point is – and we’ll get back to ROI – is leads and leadership. I always look at it as an opportunity. I mean, folks stay with individuals, groups, companies with opportunity. Not just a crappy atmosphere with great opportunity. It’s a combo. But if there’s opportunity to do a great job and opportunity not to be managed, to be led and expected, an opportunity to change a position within the company. I mean, all of my people that are on my team right now have a slightly different position than they did when they joined us. And that’s — and adjusting in doing hybrids and in being current as our business changes.
Debbie Sharp: [00:23:27] So, on that ROI, our business has changed in a decade. We didn’t do as we do now a decade ago. We’ve been perfecting it. And we’re not practicing anymore, but we’re always looking for opportunities to improve. So, in our ROI platform, especially on the listing side and then measuring our business at large on return on investment, we’ve taken it to a whole new level.
Debbie Sharp: [00:23:52] I mean, just right now, we’re preparing seven properties that will be going on the market this year. And one just went on. Another one will go on in October. And then, the line share will be November. And all of those have improvement monies installed for a better net income result for our clients and their properties. And some of them are 25,000 and there’s one at 520,000, we have 333,000. I just looked at it before the show started so I could be accurate. So, it’s not a save-up approach. It’s a business model. And we know what is the highest and best use for our property. And depending on our client’s wishes and reward and risk platform, then we’ll say this is what we believe would be good for your net income and this is why.
Debbie Sharp: [00:24:44] So, we really do measure the ROI. We understand what is the house worth today doing nothing? It just is sitting right there in a very big way. Land value is all fabulous. And our average price point at large in the Bay Area is 2.5 million. So, let’s just say, it’s existing condition. It’s 2.5 million. What needs to be done? Maybe nothing. Maybe that its highest and best use. And then, we go in and just tie a rope around them and do staging and execution. And still get more than they are expecting. And sometimes the properties are 5 million. Sometimes the highest best use is 3 million. So, what is the installation and how much time and money to get it to the highest and best use for the most net income?
Debbie Sharp: [00:25:25] In our business model is that we don’t do anything with spending money, only invest to get a three to five times return. There’s no sense to spend $1 and get a $1 or 2 back. It’s too risky. And it’s too much brain damage. So, we really do measure it. But to Brady’s point, this is not science. It’s art and science. We use to say real estate was number one. I guess science is number one right now. Damn it. I thought we were always number one. And, now, science is all sexy and number one. Damn it. But I just think it’s art and science, guys.
Brady Sandahl: [00:26:02] Here’s one thing that Debbie hasn’t shared. It’s a secret. So, I’m going to share the secret. But it’s important for this, Jill, and that is Debbie has always trapped one key measurable, which is client referrals. That’s a way to know you’re doing something right. And that is, if the phone calls are coming in with your clients with future clients, that is the first measurement that you’re going down the right road. So, certainly, as we talk about these big concepts, let’s go back to the basic fundamentals. And that is, step number one for measuring your success is, how many of your customers are giving you future customers. And we have to realize that when someone gives us a compliment, we’re generally not real comfortable accepting it. If I said to you, “Jill, I love what you’re wearing today.” Even though we’re on radio and I can’t see it, you might had it for years. When in reality, we should say, “Thank you for noticing. Shall I connect you with my personal stylist so — something like this?”
Brady Sandahl: [00:27:07] So, an opportunity to say, “Wait a minute, the customer is calling in as a cheerleader”, measurement number one, let’s be sure we’re ready to gracefully accept that referral and take advantage of it. You know something right when your customer either call in with customer referrals or they’re sending you gifts, you know you’re on something right.
Debbie Sharp: [00:27:35] Yeah. I love it.
Jill Heineck: [00:27:38] Absolutely. And I think you’re kind of bringing me to my next point was talking about what client feedback has been. And, obviously, when somebody sends you a referral, that in and of itself is feedback. But I’m wondering if you’re getting any specific feedback about the experiences that your real estate clients are experiencing. And if you’re getting anything specific that you kind of notate and then track or watch.
Brady Sandahl: [00:28:07] Sure. I mean, I love to start the conversation because I can see Debbie in my mind typing. But I’ve learned a lot from Debbie because she really has one of the biggest servant hearts in our company. And she knows Luxury like very few do. What I love about Debbie and what I learned from Debbie is that, customer service is ongoing. It’s not a negotiable select and select out. And what we’ve learned about feedback is, it should not wait until the very end. It’s very hard to chase a customer after that interaction or that transaction has ended. So, for those entrepreneurs listening, let’s put more attention to the feedback at the front end of that relationship.
Brady Sandahl: [00:28:56] Let feedback check in point early into the interaction, because that does two things. One, it allows you to pivot or recover the service, if need be. And, number two, quite candidly, it allows you to understand who else they know who would like to feel the same level of emotional engagement they do right now. Let’s take a lesson from the Ritz Carlton or Nordstrom. They understand how to surprise and delight their customers early on. Here’s the analogy, if the three of us were in a restaurant having a wonderful deal together. We’re enjoying that pasta. We’re having that glass of wine, maybe a second or third, I don’t know. Yes, we’re most likely going to fill out a survey at that moment and rave and crush on that restaurant. But if they give us the survey two weeks after, ladies, I’m not sure if we had pasta or salmon. I don’t even know the name of that restaurant.
Debbie Sharp: [00:30:01] You’re like, “What? Where were we?”
Jill Heineck: [00:30:01] I know I had wine.
Brady Sandahl: [00:30:04] We have to catch our customers when they’re most emotionally connected. So, what we’ve done is we’ve learned that in the wickedly, painfully, boring art and science of selling real estate, there are eight defining moments. And we surprise and delight our ladies and gentlemen, our customers, eight times in a transaction. Why? Because we can crush on them, love on them, ask how we’re doing, and candidly ask for the business. Who else do you know who would like to be as excited as you are right now? So, for those listeners, look at the rhythm of your transaction. Don’t wait until the end of chase for the feedback. Catch them at the front end. Look for the cues and the clues and see who else they know who connect you to future business.
Debbie Sharp: [00:30:57] I love it. And I also think it’s so amazing that if you’re front loading your service platform and you have a business model, like Brady does, which is amazing. I know it’s coveted. He shares. There’s no competition at the top. I know [Eric Copper] is like, “Oh, can you send me the eight?” He’s on the run and a phone call like, “We’re not talking about that, Eric.” Love you. Brady is like, “Call my team. I got you. Love you.” And I’m like, “Can we get back to the subject at hand?” So, I love it.
Debbie Sharp: [00:31:26] So then, what’s so cool about that is (A),as I said, there’s no competition at the top as an entrepreneur, especially with Keller Williams within this group and our extended group. And, again, it’s not a country club, a big 200,000 agents company-wide. And, of course, we have core relationships. But, again, I love the sharing. So, that’s number one. Number two is, I really believe that without being Pollyanna and still having a business model that we are focusing on surprising and delighting clients that aren’t even our official clients yet. So, in the interview process, we’re not gifting them. We’re not buying them. It’s about this is who we are and how we operate. And it could be just understanding who they are. And when we’re going to their home, we know that they have ten kids or one kid or a baby. And not over gifting. It’s not showering nobody.
Debbie Sharp: [00:32:23] But, again, it’s front loading with knowledge because, of course, we’re doing our research. And then, even before that interview process and well after the transaction process, is how we behave at large, be it in our community and what we contribute and how we present ourselves. And I see folks online virtually now and/or face-to-face that I may never officially interview with. But I would never walk by them without saying hello. And that really served me well. I will tell you, Blake Nordstrom taught me a lot. He was the hardest on my tail. In my younger years at Nordstrom I’m like, “He’s not my favorite. I don’t like that. I don’t like him.” And then, I learned I really did like him. I don’t know if he was my favorite because there were so many favorites and he’s not with us anymore, so it’s a big loss, in my opinion, to the family and to the Nordstrom business community. Because he taught me a lot.
Debbie Sharp: [00:33:21] And I knew this because my mom and dad taught me this. But he’s like, “Debbie, it’s not about me. It’s not about egos. If I’m with you, it’s okay that you act yourself. You need to be with your housekeeping staff and give them a hug or a high five.” You know, that’s the core. And it’s not about what position they’re at. It could be a stranger on the street, in the elevator, “Good morning”. It could be anybody at the gas station, the grocery store, people that you don’t see, people on line. You’re just waving to them because there’s so many Zoom calls. This is not a club, or a sorority, or a fraternity, or country club. It’s about what is your service platform? What is your authentic opportunity to be a great human being and contribute? And that shows up. So, when you’re doing it on a business level and you’re in business with somebody and your servicing them and surprise and delighting them, it’s natural. It’s authentic. Because you’re not being fake just because you’re in business together.
Jill Heineck: [00:34:23] That’s right.
Brady Sandahl: [00:34:23] I will say I absolutely loved Blake Nordstrom. Blake, to me, was the man I wanted to be when I grow up. And we were only, I think, eight years apart in age. He was someone that I looked up to in my entire time with Nordstrom. But I learned from him many things. One of which is what you just said, and that is, the Nordstrom culture is the foundation of the organization. And to be a leader in Nordstrom, you have to stay in the foundation. Meaning, you have to be at the level of everyone in the organization, from housekeeping to restaurant to store manager. It’s the foundation. Stay in the foundation of your core values. Go out with a servant humble heart for the cues and the clues and really pour into those ladies and gentlemen. I mean, that guy, he would be the first to pick up tissue paper on the floor. He’d be the first to realign a shoe rack. And that guy just never came in with a label. But when he entered the building, you felt it. You felt the positive energy of him in any store he walked into.
Debbie Sharp: [00:35:44] A very gentle giant.
Jill Heineck: [00:35:47] I love it.
Debbie Sharp: [00:35:47] It’s so good. I mean, it just makes a big difference. And, again, same with service. We’re not buying our clients Teslas. Not yet. Jill, Brady and I got you one. It’s coming.
Brady Sandahl: [00:36:01] Surprise.
Debbie Sharp: [00:36:01] We’re just going to ask Stone, the producer, what color you want. And then, bam, Elon is going –
Brady Sandahl: [00:36:09] It’s an Oprah moment.
Debbie Sharp: [00:36:11] Yes. Boom. I mean, guys, like as small as this Saturday, we have folks going into their beautiful over $4 million dollars soon to be home, closing on Monday. And they’re meeting all these great people and we’re lining it up and lining it up. And they’re starting at 8:00. And, of course, we gave them their own personal code and got permission for them to go in. And we’re joining them and giving them privacy. Style flexing, right? And then, I said, “Okay. Find out what they drink. Let’s just make sure order them lattes or breakfast sandwiches with -”
Jill Heineck: [00:36:43] They have on property when they get there.
Debbie Sharp: [00:36:46] And have them bring their dog. It’s okay. Bring Fin, bring Queen. It’s okay. It’s going to be your house in 48 hours. So, we’re not delivering, like, an orchid this big for $2,000. It’s breakfast. It’s just a little and they don’t know that.
Jill Heineck: [00:37:01] And it’s a nice touch. It’s a nice touch.
Brady Sandahl: [00:37:02] It’s the gesture.
Debbie Sharp: [00:37:03] It’s the gesture.
Brady Sandahl: [00:37:03] Absolutely. It’s the gesture.
Debbie Sharp: [00:37:10] We’ll get a Puppuccino for Fin. And a little something for Queen. And we know that they’re super young and healthy and they probably don’t drink anything. But like soy this, soy that, this foam, that foam with a straw, blah, blah, blah. We got it, you know.
Brady Sandahl: [00:37:24] Well, look at the two clues that Nordstrom gave us early in. One was the piano. The basic use of a piano played in the store was a core value that everyone looked forward to as soon as they walked in that door. And then, the second thing is – and you love this department, Debbie – personal touch. I mean, that was the department that you went to when you wanted to be really personalized.
Jill Heineck: [00:37:56] That was the personal stylist.
Brady Sandahl: [00:38:00] Yes. Personal touch.
Debbie Sharp: [00:38:04] Amazing. It’s true, Brady.
Jill Heineck: [00:38:05] When you walk into a Nordstrom store, I mean, I’m calm when I’m walking in because I automatically start hearing the music. And I can just be in there all day, which is a detriment to my pocketbook. But it is a place where you can just hang. I just feel very relaxed when I’m in there. And I think, obviously, that gives way to a great shopping experience. But I think that those two touches are really instrumental in their success.
Brady Sandahl: [00:38:42] Well, look at the fact that they’re one of the few department stores, at least that I’m familiar with, that actually has a restaurant which serves alcohol. They have a bar. They know, keep those men happy and they’ll just keep spending. That’s how we roll.
Debbie Sharp: [00:38:58] And it’s amazing, Brady, too, what you take from your childhood or your previous business as an entrepreneur and you bring it into your world. And like, I’m a stickler about our fabulous clients’ houses that we are representing to, obviously, sell big and fast. And I’m a stickler about music. Like, it cannot be too high, not be too low. We use [inaudible] Olson. Of course, they’re portable. We have about five to seven listens at a time and every platform has music. And when it’s not on, I’m, “Hello? Hello? Music director? Music on. I’m on my way. I’m on my way. Put your mask on and get your tail here because the music is not, “I love you. Bye-bye.”
Debbie Sharp: [00:39:45] And, also, we label every fan. We can’t have fans on. Like, a bathroom fan and like, “Fan. Do not turn it on.” And outdoor light. We don’t put fans on. People don’t like that noise. They want a little bit of music. Not loud. No fans and crap on. And then, just have the proper lights on. We’re not doing surgery. No brain surgery here. We’re not scalpelling people. Let’s get the lights on to the right level. There’s all this recipe. And I really learned that from growing up with my mom and how she expected things to be proper when folks came to visit. And that she wanted us to have her bed made and breakfast had. And she just taught us how to live, and be energetic, and give back to our family and our friends.
Jill Heineck: [00:40:33] Well, you’re giving the gift of a great experience and creating this ambience. And that’s exactly what you’re describing. So, that is the whole ups the crux of the conversation is the experience that we’re creating.
Brady Sandahl: [00:40:46] We underestimate that. I mean, scenography is what Debbie has described. What does the customer see? What do they hear? What do they smell? What do they feel? What are they experiencing. Something we learned from Ritz Carlton is that we could do everything right. But still 67 percent of customers may not come back because the brand connection of the customer interaction was not strong. And scenography is part of building that strength. So, you know, as crazy as Debbie sounds with her relation of labeling fans, I absolutely drink that same Kool-Aid. I am a fanatic. Do not turn on the bathroom fans when showing a house. We don’t need that sound when we’re going through the house.
Brady Sandahl: [00:41:32] So, we clearly, as part of the largest real estate sales force, which Keller Williams is, close to nearly a billion dollars a day, which we had 25 billion sell over a million dollars. The largest real estate sales force really following the same playbook. So, yeah, just like San Francisco, just like Atlanta, we don’t turn the bathroom fans on during a show in Palm Springs. It’s not going to happen.
Debbie Sharp: [00:42:06] It’s the little things. And then, of course, we always install new whisper fans just in case. It’s doing well in our area.
Jill Heineck: [00:42:18] Before we wrap up – I mean, this conversation could go on for hours. I know. But before we wrap up, I’d love to hear, maybe, if you guys can share a wow or a surprise and delight experience that you recently had with a company in your local market or online. Just to give us kind of like what companies you’re doing business with just interesting to know. I think our listeners like to know that. Anything off the top of your head?
Brady Sandahl: [00:42:50] Well, I’m a brand guy. I love brands. And I recently purchased a wonderful bracelet from David Yurman. Unfortunately, I was showing property and I caught the bracelet on something and it snapped. So, I went into the David Yurman store and they explained that they were so apologetic about the bracelet. That they would quickly have it repaired. So, they set the expectation of what quickly meant. And when the bracelet was off being repaired, they checked in three times to let me know that the bracelet was in good hands. And it was almost like I had sent a child off to college and the door mother was letting me know that — was okay. But what came back was the David Yurman bracelet in a David Yurman box in a David Yurman bag in a David Yurman packaging. And what I learned is that, the reinforcement of the brand, they took the fact that I ruined the bracelet, they took responsibility, and they surprised me by rebranding. You know what I did? I went on to David Yurman and I bought more David Yurman — packaging. That bracelet repair became a purchase. But that’s what we want — underestimate the importance of packaging. How we show up, packaging of what we want to buy, and we really want to make sure we put it on our business that those customers that buy what we sell, it is about the packaging. So — David Yurman.
Jill Heineck: [00:44:37] It’s all about presentation.
Debbie Sharp: [00:44:37] Go David Yurman. I love it.
Jill Heineck: [00:44:40] Absolutely. Debbie, do you have a recent experience you’d like to share?
Debbie Sharp: [00:44:43] You know, similar. I mean, I think you know this, Jill, too. Like, this necklace that says love that Ava got for me. I mean, I circled it and paid for it 500. She goes, “Do you like that?” I’m like, “Oh, cute.”
Jill Heineck: [00:44:55] Baby girl surprised you and bought it.
Debbie Sharp: [00:44:59] So, I’m like, “Oh, my God. I love it.” And, of course, it was on my credit card. She’s 13, we got to give her a break. I shop at Wilkes Bashford. And they do similar to what Brady kind of shared. And folks like us that give a lot, I’m often let down at either retail establishments or restaurants. I try to still have fun, of course. Of course, you know that, Jill. We do. And Brady, we have lots of fun when we travel and such and we will do that again. But, you know, I think that the small big things that Brady just illustrated is very similar.
Debbie Sharp: [00:45:43] So, first off, this chain broke. And I love it. It’s not a fancy piece. But it’s one of my favorite pieces and it’s from my favorite daughter, my only daughter. And last year it broke. And so, I’m like, “Crap.” So, first off, of course, I just texted my person that she’s ordered them. She said, “They’ll come by and pick it up.” So, that was number one.
Debbie Sharp: [00:46:04] Number two, when she arrived at the house, she had a another necklace for me by the same designer that didn’t say love, but it was in the shape of a heart. She goes, “Why don’t you wear this when this is gone?” And I’m like, “Oh, stop it.” Of course, I bought that damn piece. “And there’s a couple other pieces if you want to just alternate with them.” And I didn’t buy anything else. But I use the loaner because that was the same rose gold and I just love it. And then, you’re still loved right away. Then, of course, they repair it, bring it back, and then, of course, I bought the other piece, which is so funny. But little things like that, to bring a temporary necklace to wear, not because it makes you look it’s going to sell more property. It’s just they’re like, “We want you to be loved right away.” And we know this is from Ava. I mean, that is so nice that she knew about how I scrolled ten hundred times in the catalog. And then, Ava, my assistant, went down and picked it up and blah, blah, blah. So, that’s just huge. And I think that’s fabulous. And it’s a small gesture.
Debbie Sharp: [00:47:07] And then, I think, too, what the Sharp Group does a good job of – and I know you both do because I know you’re intimately beyond just this radio show and Kelly Williams at large – is that you’re doing that, we’re doing that, for our people in our life. Be it you, Jill, I love to surprise and delight you with little things or big things like a case of champagne. I mean, like, that’s just nothing nd it’s just something.
Jill Heineck: [00:47:31] Which was incredible, by the way. Thank you.
Debbie Sharp: [00:47:34] And it was like, “Why would you send a bottle? Duh. It’s so boring. Like, bam, do a case. And that still didn’t break the –
Jill Heineck: [00:47:40] So pedestrian.
Debbie Sharp: [00:47:42] So pedestrian. And you didn’t say, “Gosh. I wish I got gifts.” Or, “Nobody loves me, I’m going to go eat worms.” You were just taking care of your family and you had a lot going on. And I just want to be like, “Oh, my God. I’m thinking about Jill.” And Ava is like, “What should we get her?” “Champagne. She likes champagne.” So then, just take it to the next level without spending too much. We can’t just throw money at everything. But just a little bit. Like, getting $20 for breakfast on Saturday for our clients at their new house with dog treats. And that is really not going to break the bank. And it’s still business savvy, but it’s authentic. So, I just feel like surprising –
Jill Heineck: [00:48:19] And it’s also a giant – just to not to interrupt you, but I just wanted to say that, it’s a giant impact and that’s the point. Like, it’s not to break the bank and to show off. It’s to authentically care for somebody. And it could have been a bottle — it could have been a card, for me. To me, I’m all about the gesture. And I think that makes a big impact. And so, to both you and Brady’s points, in your businesses, you make a point to create these defining moments for both your team and your clients that you’re in business with. And I think you also do that with your partnering agents when you’re sending business, referring business. I think those things also are evident in those relationships as well. And I think that impact alone on those three segments of people that you touch is huge. And it’s the main reason why I’ve invited you to share what you do and part some insight on our listeners. Because I think you take the customer experience to the next level.
Jill Heineck: [00:49:29] And I aspire – no pun intended – to go in that direction and continue to improve on my client’s experiences and my team’s experience. And so, I really cannot thank you both enough for taking the time out to be with us today and share everything with us. Will you, Brady, just throw out how people can find you online, et cetera?
Brady Sandahl: [00:49:59] Yeah. Absolutely. So, we’re all things Brady Sandahl, B-R-A-D-Y S-A-N-D-A-H-L, based out of Palm Springs, California. And, of course, phone number 760-409-1540. But, again, everything online, Brady Sandahl. It’ll be our pleasure to help you learn about options in the Palm Springs market or share how we do things in customer engagement.
Jill Heineck: [00:50:24] Excellent. Debbie, how can we find you?
Debbie Sharp: [00:50:30] So, we are thesharpgroup.com. Thesharpgroup.com. And my mobile is 650-766-5333. And there’s eight of us Sharpies. We call ourselves the Sharpies. I love it. Yes, we have Sharpie pens too. And, yes, we’re happy to collaborate, contribute regarding real estate or beyond real estate as it relates to our business models. And thank you, Jill, for having us. I respect you and adore you. And I’m glad to learn from you. And I think this is such a great idea. I’ve always wanted to know more about this radio show. You’ve been so committed to it and consistent. It’s so savvy, so smart, and different.
Jill Heineck: [00:51:13] Thank you, my dear. So, thank you everybody for listening. Again, if you are looking for real estate help, you want to make an investment, or find a second or third home in Palm Springs, Brady is your man. And you can always reach out to the show page and I’m happy to connect you there. His bio as well as Debbie’s will be there as well. And Debbie and her team in the Burlingame area, she’s just right up the street from the San Francisco airport. And she is your girl there. So, you can always find them on our show page as well. And I want to, again, thank everybody for listening. I am really proud to share this show with you. As these stories prioritize the customer experience as a legitimate business strategy reminding us that no matter the business you are in, retail, real estate, or customer service, 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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