Brokerage

4 steps to becoming an agent of change

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One thing that most real estate agents are excellent at is talking. In fact, it’s admittedly the reason I sometimes rely on text and email — I know even the smallest question can precipitate a much longer conversation than I have time (or sometimes patience) to handle.

But this desire to talk to others, and the fact that most real estate agents have a wide circle of contacts, is also why real estate agents can be changers — a source or cause of change for good.

Every one of us has things other than real estate that we are passionate about, at least I hope. Not just sports or hobbies, but bigger ideas. You might be focused on a particular charitable organization or research, or you might be all about the environment. You might be interested in improving local schools or reducing child hunger in your area.

Whatever it is, make what you are passionate about is part of your business, and create a win-win for you and your client, as well as the world at large.

Like anything, to do this you need a well thought out strategy. Here four steps to include in your plan:

1. Be real

Now the first key is this needs to be something you are truly passionate about — not something you think will play well with your clients. When you mix your social message into your business brand, you will attract like-minded customers.

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A two-minute conversation will instantly determine if they view you as sincere or fake. If they determine it’s the latter? You are toast.

2. Make it part of your message

I don’t mean an obnoxious, blaring message on every email, plastered over your website and business cards. A social message is like any other; it needs to follow these three essential guidelines:

  1. Be clear.
  2. Be concise.
  3. Be consistent.

3. Make the customer a participant

So you’ve gone paperless in your office for the environment. Great. You drive a Prius and support your local farmers. Awesome. Those are great personal choices, but that doesn’t create a clear value to your customers. You getting a sale doesn’t equate to anything tangible for the client.

That’s why if you are going to be a changer, you need a way to make your customers participants, which means crafting a way that working with you lets them be a participant in whatever cause you promote.

It doesn’t have to be massive, but it needs to be captured in no more than four sentences, and it needs to be something your customer can verify and see happened for themselves.

4. Put your money where your media is

Last up, and another reason your social message has to be sincere, is you have to be more than a bullhorn. Customers attracted by a social message want to know that you are doing more than just supporting a cause with their support.

As just a personal example, I was excited to come across a startup called Arcadia Power recently. (Disclosure: I am also an angel investor in the company. I was so impressed with their goal, I decided to put my money where my mouth was.)

They have created a unique, easy way for anyone who has an electric bill to participate in green energy. More people voting for green energy via their electric bill equals more green energy projects created. Simple enough.

We have since switched our offices, my restaurants, and my home. The cost increase is so minimal I won’t even see it on next month’s utilities.

Total of time spent for four restaurants, one office building and a home was less than an hour — an example of making it too easy to pass up — another vital aspect for success.

So, we’ve established I’m all over this idea. How do I create participants out of my customers?

Well, one option is to include a credit covering any increased costs on their electric bill for the first six months or 12 months if they sign up as part of our outline of services.

What if you didn’t have the buffer in your budget to do this? You could educate your customer on the option, and let them choose if they want to be a participant. After all, aren’t you the go-to source for more than they can find on Zillow and blogs?

Even if they didn’t sign up, what are the odds they talk to someone else who does?

I’m not suggesting you do this same project, but, rather, I’m sharing this as an example. Whatever route you choose in your social message or how you participate, we all get a win-win.

Be a changer.

Create participants.

Bring change — in whatever form it takes to you.

Jason Cox is the managing partner for the Aedos family of companies. You can connect with him on Twitter or AngelList.

Email Jason Cox.


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