Ultimate Service® – how do you apply it?

This week I have asked one of our newer sales representatives, Nikola Bucalo, to tell us what Ultimate Service® means to him and his clients.

‘You’re in the public relations business’ was one of the key phrases my dad, a veteran REALTOR®, would often say. The brilliance was hard to grasp when I first started, because I thought of PR as just the people we see and read about representing big companies in the news. The depth of it is balancing the delicate relations between clients, their influences (family, friends), the agent and brokerage involved on the other side of the transaction, their clients, and about nine other people (bank, inspector, lawyer, etc.) during the process, plus yourself. This fine art truly takes a lot of practice to master, and Coldwell Banker’s Ultimate Service® system lays the perfect groundwork.

Early on there is a choice. Tell them what they want to hear, (it’s not lying if they don’t ask) and get the sale, or be proactive and risk losing the sale/client. You can guess what the Ultimate Service® answer was, but they don’t tell you how tough it is with the nature of commission-only careers, especially at the start!

The solid support of a global brand like Coldwell Banker and the Ultimate Service® program has encouraged me to stay on the path to sustainability. It has allowed me to launch and maintain a system that provides quality, consistent, reliable help to my clients. I have learned that those you lose because you won’t tell them what they want to hear, are not going to respect honest work wherever they go and are not loyal clients anyway. There is no ‘short cut’, though there is a big difference between working hard and working smart. 

These are the 5 ways I apply the Ultimate Service® program:

1. Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it.

2. Make sure you know what you’re talking about. Proactively research neighbourhoods, typical issues and any possible changes to the transactional process, and keep clients informed every step.

3. Become a master negotiator. This skill has become invaluable in saving and getting my clients real money.

4. Challenge clients to think about what is most important, what is behind the decision to buy or sell a home. It takes guts to ask questions that the vast majority will not risk asking because it can get very personal. My toughest hurdle, but most rewarding.

5. Clients must feel informed and comfortable asking ANY question at any time. I can’t tell you if this is the right house, the right buyer, or what it is worth to you, but I can make sure you have all the information necessary to make a confident decision.

I would like to thank Nik for sharing his insights to Coldwell Banker’s Ultimate Service®. It is quite obvious there are two winners, Nik’s clients as they reap the benefits of Nik’s hard work and Nik himself, as his success in real estate continues to grow.



Are You Receiving Ultimate Service?

I would hope so! Buying or selling what is potentially your largest asset should be done with the help of a proven professional who puts your needs first.

One way to assure yourself of the highest level of service is to select a Coldwell Banker Pinnacle sales representative. Coldwell Banker recently acknowledged the Ultimate Service providers working under our brand, and I am pleased to say that we had a very high level of sales professionals recognized in our company. In fact, our company was also recognized as providing the highest level of service throughout our entire sales force.

You may wonder why we make such a big deal of this, but consider this. Our profession has an overall satisfaction level of about 74%. Our company has a 98% customer satisfaction rating. Our reps provide a written guarantee of their service which includes a guarantee that you will be released from your buying or selling contract if they don’t provide the promised level of service. As the Broker of Record for our company, I can tell you that in the 10+ years that the Ultimate Service program has been in place, I have been asked to release very few contracts (you could count them on one hand).

I may be a little biased, but I think our sales reps are the best!

So, I want to say Thank You to our sales reps that consistently provide the highest level of service, ensuring we continue to be recognized as a company of top level service providers.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, be sure to call one of our reps. You will not be disappointed with the service and results you receive. And remember, “we keep our promises, or you don’t keep us”!

Why Mentoring is Important to a Real Estate Career

Let me introduce you to our guest blogger, Daniela Tofano, Sales Representative with Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate;

Daniela joined Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate in October of 2010, as a full time sales representative.  She has become a proven top producer, who works confidently with buyers and sellers.  She believes strongly in honesty, respect, and fairness and with those values does her utmost to serve her clients needs and protect their interests, while guiding her clients through the entire process of buying or selling, ensuring they have the best possible experience.

We recently asked Daniela what she thought was the most important assistance that was provided to her when she commenced her real estate career with us.  Mentoring was her immediate answer.  Daniela is passionate about our profession, so we asked her to tell us why mentoring was important.  Here is her answer;

“A Mentor: a trusted counsellor or guide; tutor or coach; and to any new professional, the most vital resource you could ever have when starting your business and career. Real estate is no exception. Not every brokerage offers a mentoring program, but I was happy to discover when I was interviewing the big name brokerages in Hamilton that Coldwell Banker Pinnacle provides just that. The mentoring program was one of the many reasons I chose to begin my real estate career with this organization. The program is not mandatory for new REALTORS®. The brokerage allows you the opportunity to request a mentor once their six week training concludes. The managers will connect you with a willing, experienced, and successful REALTOR® who will take you under their wing for a three month period and show you the ropes of the industry.

Traditionally, or from the stories I hear at the office, new REALTORS®  were and are often still let loose in to the market and those who manage to stay afloat, survive. There is no way you can predict who will swim or who will sink. The Ontario Real Estate Association provides the three licensing courses required to become a licensed REALTOR®. The information is helpful; however, it is all theory. The courses are not providing you with the basics on how to handle yourself in the industry, from a practical stand point. That is left to your brokerage. Again, traditionally, new REALTORS® are released into the real estate world to fend for themselves. No one is there for you on a daily basis, to take you by the hand and tell you or rather show you what to do when you are working with buyer clients, how to obtain a listing, what formalities should be demonstrated when sitting at the offer table no matter which end of the table/deal you are on, or how to handle other REALTORS®.

Joyce Hodgskiss and Ken Rossiter, a husband and wife team who have been with Coldwell Banker Pinnacle for about 15 years and share 30 years of real estate experience, were, still are, and will always be my mentors, despite our three month contract ending back in April 2011. I was lucky with my match. Joyce, Ken, and I have personalities that mesh well, which is why I grew very comfortable with them and continue to rely on them for help while I build my business.

Joyce and Ken performed all basics requirements of the mentoring program. Of course, they answered a multitude of questions and I had many! I watched them work professionally and confidently while having fun. I was their shadow on the wall in many listing, buyer, and offer presentations; I was the extra passenger on buyer client viewings; I became a sponge and sat in their office daily getting all the advice I could. Most importantly Ken and Joyce guided me through my own initial transactions/deals. For example, Joyce made herself available by phone through my entire first deal. In between every single counter offer I called Joyce to ask for advice, to vent my frustration, to ensure I did the right thing in every instance. She deserves a medal for putting up with me, because I was a wreck! In addition, they allowed me to host countless open houses for their listings, which enabled me to begin building my own leads, through their business. I also feel that Joyce and Ken went beyond their mentoring duties by allowing me to review their personal and exceptionally developed seller and buyer packages so that I could in turn use them as a guideline for my own packages.

I wouldn’t trade my time with Ken and Joyce for anything. It was educational and fun! I am often told at conferences and real estate events that to succeed in this industry you should surround yourself with fellow REALTOR® that share the same goals, work ethic, and mentality. You need to be inspired. Joyce and Ken inspire me to be a better REALTOR® and to work towards success similar to theirs. Joyce and Ken taught me a great deal about real estate that a book could never teach.  I might have gotten lucky with my mentoring match because as I stated above, after the mentoring period ended I continue to work with Joyce and Ken and always go to them first when I have any questions or need some advice in regards to my business.  I believe I have also made good friends and confidants in this overly competitive industry.”

I am sure Daniela would love to hear from you.  Perhaps you have benefited from her first class service, or would like to connect with her to ask her for more information.  She can be reached through her office at 318 Dundurn St. S., or by telephone 905-522-1110 or email her directly at Daniela-tofano@coldwellbanker.ca.

Or, even better, leave a comment below.  She will respond to any questions or comments you may have.



Last week you read some of the feedback from our clients who had experienced our Ultimate Service® when they bought or sold their home. It is obvious this service is a huge benefit to our clients. I was thinking the other day about Coldwell Banker Pinnacle’s Ultimate Service® and the fact that it is also a huge benefit to our sales reps, so I decided to get a REALTOR’S® PERSPECTIVE. I asked Joyce Hodgskiss and Ken Rossiter, sales reps from our Dundurn St. office to share a few comments on how Ultimate Service® has been a benefit and what it has done for their business.

They replied…

“As we discovered several years ago, there is no substitute for good service. Once we stopped worrying about how much money we were going to make and started focusing on the value that we deliver, our business really started to grow. By building value, using the Ultimate Service® platform, we are able to educate the seller/buyer about the Real Estate process, the Services that we provide, the value [benefits] of using a REALTOR® and all the while separating ourselves from the REALTOR® pack. Once you have established your own brand of Ultimate Service® the key is to work on the presentation until it is a part of you and what you do. Roll playing is still the best way to achieve this!

If we could give any advice to our fellow REALTORS® it would be: DO NOT compete on price (lowest commission rate), compete on value – the value YOU bring to the process. Only a small percentage of people will want the best price, most of the people want value. That is why companies like Apple and Starbucks are so successful. If the seller/buyer does not see the value, all they will want is the best price.”

I’d like to thank Joyce and Ken for their personal take on Ultimate Service® and how it  helped them be better REALTORS® as well as providing better service to their clients. If you’re a REALTOR® you need to ask yourself: Do your Buyers and Sellers see the value in what you do? Do you have the ability to compete in  today’s market place based on the value of your service?