Over my years of applying my trade as a real estate sales professional, I have come to separate those of us who are licensed to sell real estate into two camps: advisers and order-takers. So I to pose this question to you: Which one are you?
The answer is at the core of your business because it will underpin all of the decisions and actions you make or don’t make in your day-to-day dealings with clients.
When I look back to when I first started in this industry, no one ever told me how we should position ourselves in relationship to those who hired us. So, I — like I’m sure virtually every other newly licensed agent — was focused on pleasing those nice enough to want to do business with me.
Surely, they were not picking me because of my expertise or track record.
This inaugural roll of “pleaser” flowed quite nicely with all the “doing” activities we newbie agents systematically fall in to. Like newly enlisted cadets, we (at least initially) came into the world of real estate sales as order-taking pleasers.
I didn’t pay much attention to this for about the first four or five years in the business. But then I began to hear how people spoke about what we do and how much money we make for doing so little — and all the rest of the stereotypes consumers openly share.
The day came when I asked myself if this perception was warranted, and if so, why?
After some introspection, I realized that we had created this consumer perception because of how we present ourselves.
What other profession has a newly licensed employee walk in and immediately be given the same responsibilities as those with 25 years experience for the same fee?
That seems to scream to the consumer, “Hey, it really doesn’t matter which one of us you pick; we can all do the activities required to get your home sold because there really isn’t much to it.”
Based on the public’s general perception of us, we have failed ourselves and those we represent by not taking more of an adviser’s approach to what we do. After all, if not for our advice and counsel, what are our clients paying us for?
It’s surely not for the plethora of 40-year-old business practices many busily occupy their time doing, which can be done by any new licensee — or homeowners — should they choose.
As I said earlier, this concept runs to the core of how we see and project ourselves to those we represent. At every junction of our business modality and operations, our presence is called upon. When we fail to rise and answer the call, we are suppressing what’s of greatest value to our clients — our advice, knowledge and wisdom.
I have mentioned in previous posts that we are not in the service industry, but rather we’re in the results industry.
Once you realize and understand the influence you have on the final sale price of the properties you sell, I believe you will never again undervalue your role as adviser to your clients.
I hear agents say things like, “Well, it’s their home, and therefore, their right to dictate their home-selling process, as it relates to how they choose to prepare their home for sale and what they ask for it.”
Then, I find myself asking why that agent is even part of the process.
I feel it incumbent on us to provide thorough and direct counsel to our clients to the extent that should they choose not to heed it, then walk away from their business and pending train wreck.
To stick around as the order-taker to merely collect a commission after the smoke clears is, as I see it, tantamount to malpractice and complete disregard of our fiduciary duty. It’s the root of our image crisis.
Drawing a line and taking a stand is how we establish ourselves as advisers. Lighthouses don’t get bounced around by the oceans tides and storms.
They are steadfast and cast their light and provide the needed direction that is expected of them, which is why we value them. We understand and appreciate their purpose.
Our holy grail as agents is to own a significant database of clients and friends who know, trust and count on you to safeguard their every move as it relates to the selling and purchasing of real estate.
This task can only be accomplished by being an adviser and not just taking orders.