This post by Lori Ballen, chief visionary officer at Ballen Companies, was originally published on ActiveRain.

Imagine this:

Doctor: Hello, Dr. Care’s office — How can I help you today?

Consumer: I’d like you to tell me what my sickness is.

Doctor: Sure, let’s set an appointment and I’ll send you some paperwork to fill out.

Consumer: No, just tell me what’s wrong and what I need to fix it.

Doctor: Sir, that’s not possible without you coming into the office for a diagnosis.

Consumer: How much is it?

Doctor: Well, we don’t know that yet because we don’t know what’s wrong with you.

Consumer: Exactly, so if you will just tell me what’s wrong with me, then I’ll know the cost.

Doctor: OK, you have bronchitis. That will be $195.

Consumer: Thanks. I’ll send a check.

Now, we all know that would never work. It’s the doctor’s obligation to follow a process that ensures the customer receives a proper diagnosis. Doctors can’t medicate what they don’t diagnose. And they can’t diagnose until they know the customer.

So what does the doctor do? A needs analysis. And we fill it out each and every time without question.

So why do real estate agents find the need to diagnose on the phone, or give out all pricing and property information, when the consumer won’t offer one legitimate piece of information about what he is looking at, or why or when?

Is it that we feel somehow obligated to provide this information? I don’t know about you, but in Las Vegas, where my real estate team that specializes in Summerlin works, we have a fiduciary responsibility to the principal in the contract, not to everyone.

If we are the listing agent, it’s our job to sell that home, but we are still permitted to have consumers follow our systems and standards to receive that information. How are we helping the seller by just throwing out a price without having the opportunity to express the features of that home?

Yes, real estate listings are now public data. But if that consumer is contacting you directly, there is some piece of the data he is still lacking. This is where you come in as the local expert to present that property in the best light, and to obtain the needs of that customer prior to simply delivering that data at will.

I say real estate agents need to take a stand. We must raise our standards and create systems and procedures for how we run our business. We have choices. It’s our business and it’s important that each policy we implement is documented and lived up to by each and every member of our organization.

We may not be doctors, but are professionals. We are business owners and we should operate as such, therefore raising the bar for real estate companies everywhere.

Let’s set standards. Let’s raise the bar. Let’s be better than average. Let’s change the game.

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