Doctors Without Borders is a unique organization doing much-needed work around the world. But the lessons of leadership apply to every business in every industry. Here’s what one real estate professional learned about building a relationship-based business.

In today’s virtual, work-from-home environment, agents are seeking training and coaching in entirely new ways. In August, we’re laser-focused on what defines good coaching today and how to get the most out of it.

Any leader worth their salt understands how important it is to build relationships with those you want to lead. I learned this lesson firsthand while on assignment working with Doctors Without Borders or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Working side by side, in some of the most intense scenarios you can imagine, I came to truly appreciate what it means to lead with the heart.

Now, as I forge ahead with building the future of my real estate lead generation agency, even during a global pandemic, those earlier lessons about leadership have come full circle.

During a time when people need connection, helpfulness and human kindness more than ever, we all should be taking our cues from mission-driven organizations like MSF. Here are the four big lessons that guide me:

1. Develop ambassadors, not employees

MSF is a dynamic movement propelled forward by people from all corners of the globe who share a common mission — to save lives and alleviate suffering by delivering medical care where it’s needed the most.

To achieve this mission, the medical personnel who work with MSF are not merely employees. They are ambassadors for the organization, promoting its ideals and raising awareness about its mission. 

For real estate agents, the lesson here is to look for a team that embodies a spirit of ambassadorship. When you find colleagues and business partners who are open to teaching you sales techniques that have worked for them, you’ll feel supported in developing your own sales process. So, remember to build relationships with employees and colleagues, not just prospects.

Once Realtors, brokers and other real estate professionals experience this relationship-based approach, they become instant ambassadors. Ambassadors are proactive. They don’t sit back and let life happen. They go out and close deals. They understand — especially in this climate — that standing out is about more than simply following up on leads.

2. Go where you’re needed the most

This simple, but powerful concept drove the founders of MSF. In May of 1968, a group of young doctors decided to go where their medical services were needed the most — to the victims of wars and disasters anywhere in the world.

The needs of buyers and sellers have shifted during the pandemic. However, smart agents and brokers who follow this principle have naturally shifted their focus to meet current needs.

When real estate agents trust the system and go where they’re needed the most, they will stay on track with closings regardless of market fluctuations. 

3. Let transparency and accountability be your beacon

For a medical aid organization like MSF, which relies on the financial support of donors, transparency and accountability are crucial. But the fact is, in the real estate industry, these values are just as important.

It’s sad, but we all need to look out for frauds and those who seek to take advantage of people’s goodwill during this difficult time. In a relationship-based business, this should never be an issue.

When you put trust at the core of how you lead, your value will shine through to your clients. One way to build trust is to provide transparent information that your clients can use. For example, you could email weekly videos about the state of their local market to your prospects.

4. Get creative with the resources you provide

The medical professionals who are part of MSF aren’t afraid to get creative to find solutions out in the field. Providing medical aid without the institutional support of hospitals requires thinking outside the box. This is why so many institutions, like nursing homes, have been turning to MSF to help train staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Real estate leaders and professionals also had to get creative during this unprecedented time. Here are some of the ways our brokers and agents have gotten creative as they shifted their real estate businesses online:

  • They work with photographers to create 3D virtual home tours.
  • They livestream open houses as virtual events.
  • They send memorable gifts to clients (e.g., face masks and homemade hand sanitizer).

MSF is a unique organization with amazing professionals doing much-needed work. But the lessons of leadership apply to every business in every industry. When leaders focus on building relationships, there’s no limit to what we can do together.

Bao Le is a philanthropist, tech expert and CEO of Baoss Digital in San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle. Connect with him via Facebook or LinkedIn

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