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First Person

Tiffany McQuaid Shares the Importance of Going the Extra Mile

“It’s all about going the extra mile, helping them with movers, helping them with insurance, helping them with every little detail, concierge style.”  Tiffany McQuaid, broker-owner and President of McQuaid & Company.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Why leveraging your passion is always a good idea.
  • How to take things to the Mth degree.
  • When creativity counts the most.

Rather read? Check out the transcript below.

Mike Schneider: Welcome back to another episode of First Person, where we're talking about the intersection of relationships and business, particularly in real estate. And today I'm honored to have Tiffany McQuaid--

Tiffany McQuaid: Hi.

Mike Schneider: --uh, the president of McQuaid & Company on. And we're gonna hear a little bit about brokerage and relationships and tips and tricks. Um, but I wanted to start off with--

Tiffany McQuaid:Yes.

Mike Schneider: --why you got into real estate.

Tiffany McQuaid:Well, I got into real estate because I had a marketing promotion and special event management business for many years up north, and I was one of those crazy people that used to go to open houses for fun.

Mike Schneider: Mmhmm..

Tiffany McQuaid:You know, I just always was very passionate about real estate and architecture and design and, you know. So, when I moved and relocated down to Florida, I decided, "Okay, this is a perfect opportunity for me to take what I know and love, which kind of courses through my veins, which is marketing and promotions and, um, combine it with real estate," which was something that I was super passionate about. So, thus, I married the two together and here we are.

Mike Schneider: And here you are. I, I, I can relate to that. We stopped doing open houses. We felt bad for the real estate agents that we just wanted to take around and go see houses. Or I thought, "Maybe I need to get my license so my wife and I can go see real estate." Cause we love it.

Tiffany McQuaid:Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Schneider: Um, and you-- I, I definitely saw that design background at Indie Broker the other day.

Tiffany McQuaid:You did.

Mike Schneider: So, so now you're-- I mean, one of your big-- you throw a lot of events--

Tiffany McQuaid:Yes.

Mike Schneider: --and, and do a lot of design. Can you tell us a little bit about some of your, your projects around that?

Tiffany McQuaid:Sure. So the events, what we do is we, um, put together some of the largest events within our community and we utilize that as a tool to really help brand and put out the brokerage, uh, within our area, and give back at the same time. So, we kind of use it as a sweat equity type situation. So all of my team, um, works very hard and diligently behind the scenes to put it together. And then we put it out there for the community. So we do events like the Stone Crab Festival, which is a big two day event. We put ten to twelve thousand people through over those two days. And, of course, we're the only real estate office positioned there. Um, and then also, we do a big event called Taste of Collier, which we took over, um, five years ago and it is currently a 35 year event within our area.

Mike Schneider: Wow.

Tiffany McQuaid:Yeah. So, it's been kind of a big coup for us to be able to go in. It's a lot of work to put together, don't get me wrong, but boy has the capability and the ability for us to convert it, um, into business and just general branding-- it's been phenomenal.

Mike Schneider: Wow.

Tiffany McQuaid:Yeah.

Mike Schneider: You are the event planner in real estate. That's great.

Tiffany McQuaid:[laughter] Right.

Mike Schneider: Well, so, this is about relationships. I'm curious. Of your team and your brokerage, how much of your business comes through relationship?

Tiffany McQuaid:Um, I would say well over 75% for sure. Um, you know, we kind of pride ourselves on being a relationship brokerage.

Mike Schneider: Uh huh.

Tiffany McQuaid: So, you know, we tend to-- or, my goal is to lead with caring as our core component. So, does-- whether that means caring about our realtors first and foremost, our customers and our community. So, with that, you know, I think naturally relationships and the ability to grow and expand and, um, carry those on over a period of longevity, uh, is our main goal. So, we're not interested in turning over properties, thus turning over people. We're interested in going in, doing our best, turning over those properties, and turning those customers into lifelong customers and friends.

Mike Schneider: I love that. Can you give us a quick--

Tiffany McQuaid: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: --story or example of one of those that's become a lifelong friend through that? Is, is there a story that stands out? If you're sitting down with an agent and saying,--

Tiffany McQuaid: Yes.

Mike Schneider: "Here's how we do it at McQuaid & Company,--"

Tiffany McQuaid:Yeah.

Mike Schneider: --what's, what's an example story there?

Tiffany McQuaid: Well, an example story would be really going the extra mile, or as we talk about it in our office, to the Mth degree.

Mike Schneider: Okay.

Tiffany McQuaid: You know, not the Nth degree, the Mth degree.

Mike Schneider: No, the Mth. Mth. Yes.

Tiffany McQuaid: Yeah, it's a, it's a little--

Mike Schneider: Yeah. A little extra oomph.

Tiffany McQuaid:It causes you to stutter a little. Yeah, yeah. But, with that extra Mth that we're talking about--

Mike Schneider: Yes.

Tiffany McQuaid:--um, it's about really, uh, going in and looking at the situation, the dynamic, what they're going through, the reason why they need to sell, why they're looking to buy, and trying to fill those voids not only within the transaction but also be able to fill the voids of, um, what they're looking for and being able to go in and add value. And in adding value, you know, going the extra mile, helping them with movers, helping them with insurance, helping them with every little detail, concierge style, you know, that's really what we're about. So, if their kids need, you know, a little extra attention when we're out, you know, whatever it takes, that's what we're gonna do.

Mike Schneider: That's great. Um, following onto that-- is there a tip or trick in how you stay in touch with your people?

Tiffany McQuaid: Ahh.

Mike Schneider: : It sounds like you've got these big events, right? You've got a lot of broad touch.

Tiffany McQuaid:Yeah. Mmhmm.

Mike Schneider: But how do you stay in touch with individuals over, like you said, the lifetime of that relationship?  

Tiffany McQuaid:Yeah. Well, obviously technology plays a roll in that continuity of relationship and, and keeping it going. But, we're also very much about the personal touch.

Mike Schneider: Okay.

Tiffany McQuaid:So, I'm all for handwritten notes. Um--

Mike Schneider: I received one just a few weeks ago.

Tiffany McQuaid: I, I was just gonna say. Yeah.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Tiffany McQuaid: I was just gonna say, every one of my realtors have their own customized notecards.

Mike Schneider: Okay.

Tiffany McQuaid: Um, with their name and their contact info on it. That's one of our requirements, whether they're sitting floor time, um, or, you know, just taking a customer out for a first time. And, I also send them to our sellers. When our realtors go into meet with a potential seller, I immediately send a thank you note thanking them for inviting, um, our team member in to list their home and work with them. So, that's helped a lot in conversion. Um, just that personal touch. I think it's lost in today's world. People are so quick to send a text or an email. And you lose in translation the inflection and voice. You know?

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Tiffany McQuaid: There's something to be said for taking the time to write a custom personal note. You know, that's just a little blip of what we do for relationship building.

Mike Schneider: So you'd say, block off some time, or when you're out on the go, have some notes and, and write notes as people come to mind.

Tiffany McQuaid: Absolutely.

Mike Schneider: Is there another tip or trick that you wish you had know three or four years ago? You're saying, in 2019 if you do this one thing, you know, it could, it can impact your business in terms of how you deepen relationships.

Tiffany McQuaid: Oh that's a, that's a really great question. I could probably go on for days about that one, truly. Um--

Mike Schneider: Sure. Well, one-- I think the-- what our audience is looking for are specifics. I think they're watching a lot of these and wondering-- I think the 'aha' moments are, "I can do that. I can do that." I think the handwritten notes is an example. But is there something else?

Tiffany McQuaid: Yeah. Yeah, I, I think, for 2019, you know, going into this, I, I truly, truly, truly believe in, you know, I'm always, always, always talking about this to my team, but, I believe in the power of knowledge. And I think, to me, to, to, as far as I believe, you know, it's one thing to build a relationship, but you can only build a relationship with a person, you know, on the surface, um, uh, and, you know, build, like, a good, um, friendship and, you know, future relationship but you also have to have that knowledge base. And I think in today's world, you know, although we can google anything, and, you know, there's so many realtors out there. And some of them only do one transaction or what have you. Your value as a realtor is in your knowledge base. Knowledge is absolutely, no matter what year it is, knowledge is power. And I think, um, our industry forgets that sometimes and there can be complacency. If you're not always educating yourself, you're depleting your value which in turn conveys over to the customer. And, so, if I were to say anything as we go forward is, always, always, always be educating, re-educating, and over educating yourself because that's what's gonna give you longevity of career. And that is what is gonna make people come back to you over and over, aside from the relationship.

Mike Schneider: I love that you focus-- well, I love that you focus on that because, you know, the-- it's a little bit trite but the, know, like, trust--

Tiffany McQuaid: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: You can't get to the trust--

Tiffany McQuaid: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: --if you don't have something of value to provide.

Tiffany McQuaid: Right.

Mike Schneider: Right?

Tiffany McQuaid: Right.

Mike Schneider: And, and, or it's gonna be a superficial-- it might-- they might-- I have a lot of realtors who are friends, but I wouldn't sell my home with them.

Tiffany McQuaid: Right?

Mike Schneider: Right? I think that's what you're getting to, is you have to have the competence area too.

Tiffany McQuaid: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and that's exactly it when there's so many people out there that are licensed. And you're absolutely right. You know, there's friendships that come into play and, you know, a friend will say, "Oh, I'm licensed. You know, give, give me a shot." You know? And-- but it, it's more than just giving someone a shot. It's, who's gonna get the job done? Who's going to get you the highest price possible and not leave money on the table, um, or negotiate the best on your behalf? You know, this is one of the most, most large-- well, the largest investment you probably have, you know, or most people probably have. Don't just entrust that to someone who's a friend. Entrust that to someone who you are friendly with, who you've built a relationship, you know is gonna take care of you, but knows their stuff.

Mike Schneider: Yes.

Tiffany McQuaid: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: Well, this one, uh-- I'd love to end on one specific example that you shared from stage, so I hope you can share it here as well.

Tiffany McQuaid: Yes.

Mike Schneider: But I love to ski, so it resonated with me.

Tiffany McQuaid: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: And it actually points to what you're talking about, of-- you took a, a unique customer segment--

Tiffany McQuaid: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: --and then, from what I heard, you built out, what are all the challenges and problems that they face?

Tiffany McQuaid: Yes.

Mike Schneider: You educated yourself on that. You build solutions. You trained your team.

Tiffany McQuaid: Right.

Mike Schneider: Can you walk us through what that is? What's that program? And then you branded it well, right?

Tiffany McQuaid: Ah, yes. That program is called Snowbird Certified. And, what we saw was--

Mike Schneider: Cause you're in Florida.

Tiffany McQuaid: I'm in Florida. In South Florida--

Mike Schneider: Okay. So are not snowbirds.

Tiffany McQuaid: And right now, there is a big market for people wanting to come to our area.

Mike Schneider: Right.

Tiffany McQuaid: Especially those in Chicago right now.

Mike Schneider: Right.

Tiffany McQuaid: [laughter] It's super chilly. But, you know, when you're looking at, um, filling voids in the marketplace, you know, I look at it as there's so many designations that we have as an industry that the consumer is not aware of. They don't understand what all those letters after everyone's name is.

Mike Schneider: Okay.

Tiffany McQuaid: As someone who is a huge proponent of further education, go get them.

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Tiffany McQuaid: You know, go get those designations. But, I was looking for something that the consumer could relate to.

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Tiffany McQuaid: Everyone coming to Florida is familiar with the term snowbird.

Mike Schneider: Yep.

Tiffany McQuaid: So, you know, I looked at it as an opportunity to create and implement a value added campaign that would give my agents a competitive edge, you know, and resonate with people, whether they're passersby or they see it on our website. "Oh, I'm a snowbird." You know, what is this about?

Mike Schneider: They affiliate with that. Yep.

Tiffany McQuaid: And, it's something about giving them a level of comfort to know that, over an above just what's standard and customary in real estate education, my people are educated in what it takes to relocate you part time or full time down to the state of Florida, everything from claiming residency to getting your driver's license to whatever it would be. How do you get your fishing license, boating registration? You know? All of these--

Mike Schneider: And you built that into checklists and processes.

Tiffany McQuaid: We've built it into a full education and then I am constantly re-educating and updating my realtors in what we call blizzard sessions.

Mike Schneider: Yes.

Tiffany McQuaid: So, we do those. We have fun with those at our team meeting, and just have a great time with it.

Mike Schneider: Wow. So, I love that example because--

Tiffany McQuaid: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: --you focused on one area of value that you could provide--

Tiffany McQuaid: Yes.

Mike Schneider: --and now everyone that you do help--

Tiffany McQuaid: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: --all the snowbirds you help, they now can have something to reference back.

Tiffany McQuaid: Yes.

Mike Schneider: And they can say not just you were a great real estate agent, but you're Snowbird Certified. She has an--

Tiffany McQuaid: Snowbird Certified.

Mike Schneider: You have an, an entire process that they can speak to that others aren't and I think that's a really interesting example and that obviously ties into the relationship you've built through that process. But you backed it up with a great system.

Tiffany McQuaid: Yeah. Well, and the unique thing about that is in saying, okay specializing in relocation from the north to the south, where we really, um, benefit that, you know, you really didn't anticipate was in referrals from, um, northern firms because--

Mike Schneider: From all the tentacles that now are referring back.

Tiffany McQuaid: --they--Yeah, because these realtors up north now feel confident saying, "You know what, I'm gonna refer you to them. You're a snowbird clearly and, and this office is Snowbird Certified, and they understand your needs and your wants and what you're looking for. So I feel comfortable knowing that you are in great hands."

Mike Schneider: That's a great example. Well thank you for being on.

Tiffany McQuaid: Thank you.

Mike Schneider: And thank you for sharing about your--

Tiffany McQuaid: Thank you.

Mike Schneider: --Snowbird Certification.

Tiffany McQuaid: Thanks, I really appreciate it.

Mike Schneider: Awesome.