What’s the biggest opportunity for real estate agents today?

Phil Faranda, the silver-tongued broker-owner of Briarcliff Manor, New York-based J. Philip Real Estate, says it’s simple: “Explaining to the public what the hell we do.”

Pull that off, and you’ll not only win more business, but also help burnish the reputation of the industry overall, according to Faranda and other speakers on an Inman Connect panel.

“The public views us as glorified door un-lockers who suck profit out of the transaction rather than [as the] the advocate in the largest financial event in their life,” he said.

So how can agents better articulate their value?

Tell stories, said Don Mowery, who heads up an agent team at Rancho Cucamonga, California-based Re/Max New Horizons. He presents case studies to prospects that illustrate how he’s helped past clients navigate stumbling blocks that can pop up during the homebuying or selling process. He also places ads in newspapers that explain the value of agents by drawing on these cases.

“Here are some horror stories and this is why you need an agent to represent you,” Mowery tells homeowners who’ve posted for-sale-by-owner listings.

This technique helps Mowery highlight the role of an agent, which Faranda says is to “spearhead a multi-pronged red tape-laden, long, convoluted” and “scary, stressful” process.

Another way real estate agents can bolster their appeal is by accumulating online reviews, said Pam O’Connor, CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, a global network of top-performing real estate brokerages.

O’Connor thinks reviews — many of which might describe instances in which agents come through in the clutch — will give a boost to high-performing “mid-range” agents in particular.

TRID also offers an opportunity for agents to more clearly articulate their value proposition, according to O’Connor. Agents can demonstrate their knowledge and expertise by explaining how the regulation may have added another layer of complexity to transactions, she said.

Email Teke Wiggin.