When it comes to scoring well on the real estate agent rating systems, having a high "responsibility quotient" is the name of the game. Are you up for the challenge?
What do your clients think about the real estate services you provide? Do you, your company, or your board of Realtors ever survey them? In most cases, the answer is a huge "no."
While almost everyone intends to provide their buyers and sellers with the best possible service, very few agents are proactively monitoring their clients’ customer experience. Nevertheless, huge numbers of clients go online everyday to report their experience with a Realtor.
These evaluations are becoming increasingly important. This is especially true for younger buyers and sellers who actively search ratings before deciding which agent to hire.
Consequently, the more willing you are to address the quality of the client experience that you provide, the more likely you will be to score well on the rating systems and provide your clients with the best possible service. The foundation of success in this area is directly correlated with your willingness to take responsibility for your personal actions and to be proactive in addressing any challenges when they occur.
Below you will find the six levels of responsibility that reflect varying levels of your "responsibility quotient." Where do you fall on this continuum?
The clueless agent misses the signs that her clients are unhappy. When the clients rip her in an evaluation, her response is, "There’s a problem? What problem? They never said anything to me about a problem!"
Denial is one of the most common of all human behaviors and comes in many forms. That lovely young couple with whom you spent so much time would never consider working with another agent, or your next-door neighbor would never list with your biggest competitor. When it comes to taking responsibility, you can spot the agent who is in denial when you hear, "What do you mean ‘What did you do that caused them to list with another agent?’ They’re just a bunch of jerks — I didn’t do anything wrong!"
3. Blame you
For many years my husband has used the phrase "blame you" to describe the behavior in which someone attributes blame to someone else rather than taking a look at his or her role in the behavior first. For example, "I didn’t make a mistake in the multiple listing service information — the listing coordinator or someone else at the MLS obviously were the ones who goofed."
For those who are managers, how many times have you heard the following excuse? "It’s not my fault that my production is down — the market is awful. Besides, you always give the referrals to Betty and Joe, never to me."
When we make a mistake, it’s tempting to rationalize or to explain it away. A rationalization is a logical explanation for why an event occurred. For example, "It’s not my fault this property didn’t sell. I told the sellers a hundred times to lower the price and they just wouldn’t listen to me." Or "I’m so sorry I missed our appointment. My car ran out of gas and in all the excitement, I forgot to call and let you know."
5. Walk away
The agent who walks away from a problem often does so after trying to solve the issue and then failing to do so. This is the equivalent of throwing your hands in the air and saying, "I give up!" Or "There’s nothing else I can do — it’s a hopeless situation."
Often, walking away takes the guise of cutting your losses. You stop working with buyers who aren’t ever going to buy, or you finally dump that listing where the sellers won’t lower their price sufficiently for the property to sell. Walking away often represents making a responsible decision, even if you made it later than you might have otherwise.
The person who has a high responsibility quotient understands that her choices create what happens in her life. Failure to take responsibility for your choices means you relinquish control over what happens to you. The only way to break this pattern is to acknowledge that you are responsible for what happens to you. Here are some examples of how the person who takes responsibility would have handled the issues above.
Instead of being "clueless," the agent who has a high responsibility quotient is always asking his or her clients questions to make sure that everything is on track. When something seems off, he or she keeps digging in order to find what the issue is.
When there is a problem, there is no denial, laying blame, or trying to rationalize it away. Instead, the agent takes responsibility by asking, "What can I do to fix it?" Even if the agent is unable to fix the problem, at least he or she is actively searching for solutions to the issue.
Finally, the person with a high responsibility quotient takes the time to carefully evaluate whether a seller or buyer is a good fit for his or her business. This person avoids taking overpriced listings and chooses not to work with buyers who are not preapproved and realistic about market conditions.
To increase your responsibility quotient, be willing to drop the ineffective behaviors that can cost you not only money but your business relationships as well. Be willing to take responsibility for what happens. After all, it’s your choice and it’s your business.