“Always add value” is the personal mantra of the wildly successful everywhere and one of the guiding principles by which happy and accomplished people live their lives.

I am a proponent of the idea that real estate professionals provide a valuable service that is ultimately immune to technological disruption. However, this isn’t to say that modern agents aren’t at risk unless they can define the value that they are providing.

There’s a reason that one of the fundamental duties of modern real estate professionals is to define their unique value proposition (UVP). The key word here is value. Adding value is not only the ticket to success in real estate, it is the key to success in general.

If you aren’t in the habit of adding value, now is the time to start. Here are some useful tips to ensure that you always add value:

Believe in karma

Only slightly detached from the golden rule — treat others as you’d like to be treated — vowing to always add value is an exercise in living as if karma is an immutable law of the universe.

What you give you will certainly get back, so get in the habit of giving a lot. Whether you truly believe in karma or not, you will attain the best results by conducting your actions as if you do.

Value hack: Forget resentment. Many times you will provide value to people who, due to their own limitations, will likely never return the favor. It’s easy to resent these people for wasting your time.

However, remember that we have all benefited from the value of others at times when we could offer nothing in return. Value is not a direct exchange, but it always comes back in the end. On the rise to success, you will inevitably benefit from the guidance and patience of those who are more accomplished, and busier, than you. Part of being truly successful is learning to share the wealth.

Respond quickly

The first rule of adding value is always to provide a quick response to those who are in need. When something is asked of you, even if you cannot offer an immediate solution, always acknowledge that you have received the request and will take action as soon as possible.

It’s a proven fact that agents who respond quickly to online leads are drastically more likely to retain those leads as clients. People who contact you will always be impressed when they receive an immediate response, and they will gain rapid trust for you — an invaluable dynamic to establish as a real estate agent.

Value hack: Set up safeguards for times when you are unable to provide a response. Use thoughtfully constructed email autoresponders to send timely answers to potential leads and inquiries. If appropriate, ask a colleague or employee to act as your delegate while you are out of office so that those attempting to contact you can receive personal attention even when you are unavailable.

Provide thoroughly

The essence of value is that value is not lazy. Value is something you have that others do not. To prove your value, you must make a habit of always exceeding expectations.

The difference between being somewhat helpful and being extremely useful is often just a few minutes of your time. Always take the time necessary to ensure that people are not just satisfied with you, but that they are impressed.

Value hack: Use presentation to your advantage. Often, you can provide identical information that is perceived as being far more valuable simply because of how you have structured it.

For example, someone asks you about properties from $X-$XX price range in region Y. Instead of referring them to your MLS-equipped website with their search query plugged in, you take five minutes to locate the most attractive five properties, according to their specifications. You include an image of each property (that you could copy from the listing and paste into an email in about five seconds), a brief description and a link to the actual listing.

Outsource value and create resources

When people respect you as an authority or a thought leader, often you will be forced to address issues that aren’t your area of expertise. Equally as often, you will simply be too busy to provide the quick and thorough value that I’ve suggested above. Rather than denying help on this basis, it’s best to refer those in need to contacts and resources that will assist them more than you can.

Value hack: Keep an article bank and an extensive FAQ section on your website. Every time you are asked a new question, create easily accessible resources to assist the next person who asks.

Often when you are asked a question but are too busy to respond, you can make the asker happy simply by referring them to an article or resource that will address their needs. Maintain professional contacts who will share value with you based on their particular expertise; for example, have a go-to mortgage broker who is exceptionally helpful to those who aren’t adequately informed about their financing options.

Ask for value

Once you are comfortable with the habit of always adding value, the most important thing to remember is you are allowed to ask for value. Asking doesn’t mean commanding a direct exchange. It just means understanding when people can help you more than you can help yourself and politely asking them to do so.

Value hack: Be transparent. Many people will offer some help or kind attention, only to slyly ask for a favor in return. People immediately recognize this and will despise you for doing it.

Drop the ulterior motives and be direct with what you need and why. When you graciously ask somebody for something that only they can provide, you make them feel valuable. If they have adopted an “always add value” mentality, helping you will not only be reasonable, but they will also enjoy doing so.

How do you add value? Let me know in the comment section below.

Patrick manages the Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies Blog. He is interested in empowering real estate professionals with dynamic content marketing strategies and recipes for personal success.

Email Patrick Wiltse.

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