Confessions of a Real Estate Agent – February 2017

Posted on: 17th February 2017

How do we get people to treat real estate agents and their time with respect?

Doctors and accountants, even lawyers attract respect based upon their title and on how they present themselves, a well-cut suit and a big office or a white coat is often all they need to gain trust and respect.

Blue-collar professions such as the butcher or car mechanic win respect and loyalty over many years by personal recommendations and consistently delivering excellent products and service.

Real estate agents, on the other hand, have a poor reputation, which I admit, at times, is well-deserved.  The impression some people have is of ‘fly-by-nighters’ entering and leaving the profession through a revolving door as they seek to make a quick buck on the back of a rising market.

Just like there are crooked lawyers or incompetent doctors, so too you will find real estate agents who do not meet even minimal standards of service.

Many people have already made up their minds before engaging with a real estate agent, I know from my own experience that I have to spend a considerable amount of time building trust with new clients

I am not defending the minority of agents who are uncommitted, untrained, unprincipled, unscrupulous and untrustworthy however I am asking for the benefit of the doubt - innocent until proven guilty!

The saying “sew as ye shall reap” is important here.  If I, as the real estate agent, show you respect, warmth, and obvious competence, then am I entitled to receive your respect back? And it works both ways, too.

The negative downward spiral of mutual disrespect and a lack of trust may result in some clients moving from one agent to the other, gathering valuable information and advice, choosing the agent to close the deal based upon unknown reasons.  In this scenario, there is no room here for loyalty, given or earned, there is no space for trust from either party, and the whole process ends up being quite unpleasant.

Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy says that people quickly answer two questions when they first meet someone new:

 

·         Can I trust this person?

·         Can I respect this person?

 

Psychologists refer to these dimensions as warmth and competence, respectively, and ideally you want to be perceived as having both.

A real estate agent has three major commodities that support these dimensions of warmth and competence:

 

·         Time

·         Knowledge

·         Passion

 

The time spent researching the market, learning the processes, knowing the law, meeting and vetting developers, conducting site visits and property inspections, performing due diligence, and studying contracts.The time and attention we give to our clients reflects the ever-increasing value of the time spent engaged in the business.Each hour spent engaging with a client is backed up by many hours of experience and know-how, ensuring that they have all the relevant information to make a decision.

The unique knowledge gained from specializing in an area, from all the diverse experiences and interactions with clients, the government bodies and the developers, and all the knowledge gleaned from presentations, websites, brochures, fact sheets, market reports and newspapers is a valuable commodity.

Passion for the business of property is the glue that combines all three commodities in this profession and passion drives the interest in helping clients find their perfect property.

Many of us genuinely care and are 100% authentic i.e. they walk their own talk.

I take pride myself in effectively and regularly communicating to both potential and existing clients.  Communication pre, during and post-sale can be a minefield of misinterpretation, misaligned expectations, and Freudian slips. 

My advice is that if you have had a poor experience with an agent, please do not apply the same brush to the rest of the profession. One individual does not a professional body make.

Steven Leckie