Business profile: ‘It’s important for small businesses to make sure they connect with their clients on a personal level’

Cano Real Estate illustrates its focus for 2020 with Customer Appreciation Night at Kiggins Theatre

VANCOUVER — The marquee at Kiggins Theatre was worthy of a movie premiere. But, this event was about much more than that. It was an illustration of a business philosophy at work.

The marquee at Kiggins Theatre greeted visitors on Dec. 9 with the announcement of the Cano Real Estate Customer Appreciation event. Photo by Mike Schultz
The marquee at Kiggins Theatre greeted visitors on Dec. 9 with the announcement of the Cano Real Estate Customer Appreciation event. Photo by Mike Schultz

More than 200 attendees flocked to downtown Vancouver on the night of Dec. 9 for Cano Real Estate’s Customer Appreciation event. The celebration was for Cano Real Estate clients who closed a home purchase or sale, or referred a transaction that closed in 2019.

Those clients, who were greeted at the door personally by Cano Real Estate Owner/Broker Nathan Cano and his 12-year-old son Brendan, enjoyed all the pleasures of a fully hosted event, which featured a 75-minute social time prior to the playing of the classic holiday movie “A Christmas Story.’’ Guests were presented with Hollywood-style gift bags as they arrived before enjoying plenty of pizza options, movie snacks and treats, drinks and refreshments.

“I couldn’t be more grateful to the people at the Kiggins Theatre,’’ Cano said. “They decorated the place to the nines for Christmas. The marquee was awesome. It was a beautiful event. Everybody who came had a great time.’’

Clients who purchased or sold a home, or those who referred a client for a transaction that closed in 2019, flocked to Kiggins Theatre this week for the Cano Real Estate Customer Appreciation night. Photo by Mike Schultz
Clients who purchased or sold a home, or those who referred a client for a transaction that closed in 2019, flocked to Kiggins Theatre this week for the Cano Real Estate Customer Appreciation night. Photo by Mike Schultz

A Cano Real Estate photo booth was also set up for clients to take family portraits with fun props. Prior to the showing of the movie, a video greeting was played featuring Nathan, who thanked all of his company’s clients and announced plans for monthly client mixer events in 2020.

“In a time of ever-changing technology, when people can pick up their phone and buy whatever they want at the touch of a button, or open an app and request a showing agent open a door for them when they are interested in looking at homes, it’s important for small businesses to make sure they connect with their clients on a personal level,’’ Cano explained. “And, that’s one of the reasons why we did this customer appreciation event. In 2020, our focus at Cano Real Estate is on building relationships with our clients and people we know, so we can, in turn, provide a much higher level of service.”

Cano further explained his business focus in an interview with Clark County Today.

Cano Real Estate Owner/Broker Nathan Cano (left) greets visitors at the Cano Real Estate Customer Appreciation night Dec. 9. Photo by Mike Schultz
Cano Real Estate Owner/Broker Nathan Cano (left) greets visitors at the Cano Real Estate Customer Appreciation night Dec. 9. Photo by Mike Schultz

“We want to continue to build relationships with the people we know,’’ Cano said. “One of the ways we want to do that is with client events where we can get together and have an opportunity to network with each other. We believe that will help us stay relevant. Those types of community-focused relationships are something we feel is important to us as a business in Clark County.’’

The January event will be held at the Maryhill Winery Tasting Room at the Vancouver Waterfront.

Networking 101

To illustrate the type of networking focus Cano is explaining, he remembers back to the very first sale he made after becoming a real estate agent in 1999. That first client was Tommy Gaynor, the general manager of Gaynor’s Automotive in Clark County.

Cano Real Estate Owner/Broker Nathan Cano enjoys some Christmas cheer with a happy youngster at the Cano Real Estate Customer Appreciation Night. Photo by Mike Schultz
Cano Real Estate Owner/Broker Nathan Cano enjoys some Christmas cheer with a happy youngster at the Cano Real Estate Customer Appreciation Night. Photo by Mike Schultz

“The first house I ever sold was to Tommy Gaynor,’’ Cano said. “And, we would like our clients to know each other. If you needed your car fixed, I would want you to know about Tommy and use his business. The same goes for Biggs Insurance. A lot of their clients and employees have become clients of ours. If you have an insurance need, I would want you to know about Biggs Insurance.’’

You might say that Cano has the mentality that “a high tide raises all boats.’’ He believes his philosophy won’t just allow his company to succeed but other small businesses in Clark County as well. And, it’s his hope other area businesses will join in with the same focus.

“Events like the mixers we have planned in 2020 are not only an opportunity to bring people in the community together to support our company but to support other local businesses as well,’’ Cano said.

The personal touch

The monthly mixers also provide Cano Real Estate agents an opportunity to reach out to past clients and personal networks. And, it allows them to make contact with the offer to give something back, rather than just to ask for their business.

“Technology is intended to make things easier on the consumer, and from a real estate perspective, we embrace technology,’’ Cano said. “But, we also care about the personal relationships. That is really important to us. Obviously, we want our clients to be able to use the technology but when it comes down to the point when they need a resource, or somebody to be on their side, we want to be that resource.’’

Attendees of the Cano Real Estate Customer Appreciation Night enjoyed a fully hosted evening that included plenty of food, movie snacks, drinks and refreshments before the playing of the holiday movie favorite “A Christmas Story.’’ Photo by Mike Schultz
Attendees of the Cano Real Estate Customer Appreciation Night enjoyed a fully hosted evening that included plenty of food, movie snacks, drinks and refreshments before the playing of the holiday movie favorite “A Christmas Story.’’ Photo by Mike Schultz

Cano said he and his agents continually ask themselves, “how do we bring more value to the client? We do that by being available to them.

“Constant communication is one way we do that,’’ Cano said.

Cano said that not too long ago he became aware of a former client who his team had lost contact with. It was an eye-opening experience for him.

“We sold a house to someone 15 years ago and we lost connection with them,’’ Cano said. “That’s not going to be our way going forward. We want to be able to be in constant contact. We want to be able to expand our network of people going forward and our focus is also on building deeper relationships with the people we know.’’

A leader in the marketplace

Cano didn’t present his business focus as groundbreaking. He says the philosophy is being embraced in other markets, but he’s trying to refine it, if not perfect it, in Clark County.

“We’re trying to be the leader of it in our marketplace,’’ Cano said.

Cano admitted his focus was a little different after the 2008 Recession.

“When the market shifted, we got really involved with new construction,’’ Cano said. “We worked with banks and helped them get rid of their lot inventory. We got wrapped up in the new construction frenzy and in the process lost touch with some of the people we had done business with in the past. I was busy being focused on this certain sector of our business and that was a bit overwhelming at the time.

Cano Real Estate Media Marketing Assistant/Photographer Ryanne Pitts (left) shot portraits for attendees at the Cano Real Estate Customer Appreciation Night Dec. 9 at Kiggins Theatre. Photo by Mike Schultz
Cano Real Estate Media Marketing Assistant/Photographer Ryanne Pitts (left) shot portraits for attendees at the Cano Real Estate Customer Appreciation Night Dec. 9 at Kiggins Theatre. Photo by Mike Schultz

“Now that we’re through that, we’re focused on where we want to take this company in the future,’’ he said. “We want to do it in this space, where we build relationships with people and provide the best customer service to people that we can. I think this idea of local businesses building deeper relationships is important.’’

Obviously, Cano himself is a consumer. He recognizes good customer service when he gets it as well as the opposite when he doesn’t.

“Wherever you go, you should ask yourself, do they value your business?’’ Cano said. “In a lot of respects, many of the places I go and spend my time and money, I’m disappointed in the service I get. A lot of people view it as just a job. They do it because it’s their job not because they want to. At Cano Real Estate, we provide great customer service because we want to, not because it’s our job.’’

Cano Real Estate customers

One of the Cano Real Estate clients who attended the Custom Appreciation event at Kiggins Theatre was Eric Wilsey. Wilsey successfully closed a transaction in 2019 with the assistance of Cano Real Estate Agent Megan Dodson.

Wilsey is an experienced investor in the real estate market and, in the past, he has refused to work exclusively with any individual agent. However, he met Dodson, who was the listing agent on a property he was interested in and Dodson quickly showed Wilsey she was worthy to represent him.

“The biggest thing is I’m a communication person,’’ Wilsey said. “In the past, I didn’t work with agents because a lot of the times they just got in the way and they’re about themselves. After meeting and working with Megan, it was a different experience. She kept me in the loop about all the little things and I found that refreshing.’’

Wilsey has the experience of multiple real estate transactions. He realizes that not every transaction processes smoothly. In fact, there were some obstacles involved in his 2019 transaction but he credited Dodson with calming the waters each time they rippled.

“It can be a nerve-wracking process,’’ Wilsey said. “That extra communication really settles the nerves and makes you feel better. Megan helped hold it all together and she had the right contacts in the local industry to help make it happen. I’m really thankful for having met her.’’
For more information about future Cano Real Estate events or to speak to an agent, go to https://www.canorealestate.com/ or call (360) 823-3333.

About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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