In challenging times, it’s a smart idea to revisit the fundamentals of good business. This April, go Back to Basics with Inman.
In today’s world, we’re sharing the anxiety, fear, sense of uncertainty and financial concerns that everyone else around us is feeling. But as Realtors, our Code of Ethics requires a higher calling.
The code requires that the public’s interests “impose [on us] obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce.” We are charged with “grave social responsibility and patriotic duty” to which we pledge to dedicate ourselves. Moreover, we are to adhere to “a lofty ideal of moral conduct.” In sum, we are to observe the golden rule in our personal and business conduct: Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
Today, with markets largely put on hold, our responsibilities are less centered on an ethical, professional and transparent transaction, but more on our civic and patriotic responsibilities. So what should we do? Here’s a list.
To start, make sure that you’re thinking of your safety. Get the supplies needed to be safe. Here are a few things you can buy.
- An EPA-registered household disinfectant or a bottle of (at least) 70 percent alcohol, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When disinfecting your home and high-touch surfaces, make sure you follow the CDC’s guidelines.
- Small, 2-3-ounce spray bottles, which you can fill with alcohol and give to clients to spray anything they touch.
- Nitrile disposable gloves.
- Face masks. If you can’t purchase disposable ones online, you can create one of your own. There are many tutorials online that can teach you how to make a mask out of things you already have.
- Booties to cover your feet and your buyer’s feet if you have to show a property. These are the kind you buy for open houses when sellers want you to have your shoes off or covered.
Create COVID-19 “help kits” for your client or prospect list. These kits could contain a mix of the things listed above. Think: a bottle of spray alcohol, a few pairs of gloves and a face mask for each member of the family.
Deliver these “help kits” to their doorstep, and make sure to call ahead and let them know you’ll be leaving something for them. Tell them to call you if they need more supplies.
Lend a helping hand
Offer to do grocery shopping for anyone over 65. Have them make a list and email or call you. Pick a day of the week when grocery stores are least crowded, and shop for them.
Wear a mask and gloves when handling all products. Don’t forget to spray down the shopping cart handle. If you have disinfecting wipes, use those. When shopping, remember to maintain a 6-foot distance from others, as recommended by the CDC.
Check out each party’s order separately so you have separate receipts for everyone. If you’d like to disinfect food packaging, feel free to do so. However, the CDC says “there is no evidence that food or food packaging has been linked to getting sick from COVID-19.” Do remind your clients that they should still follow the four steps of food safety — clean, separate, cook and chill. FoodSafety.gov lists more information on safe food practices.
When you’re done shopping, call your clients with the total amount so they are ready to pay you.
Call all your clients — just to check in. This is not a business call, but a chance for everyone to share their anxieties and uncertainties. This is a chance for you to listen with empathy.
If they ask you how the real estate market is doing, make sure you are knowledgeable by having the most current stats out of your MLS ready. Assure them that if we all do as we are asked, we will get out of this.
While any Realtor acting in such a civic-minded way is likely to be well-remembered by clients, that’s not the point. We do these things because we have obligations beyond ordinary commerce. We have a grave social responsibility and patriotic duty to a lofty ideal of moral conduct. So let’s get out there and do it.