If you are like me, the start of a new year is a great time to take stock of the things that worked the previous year and to make adjustments for the coming year. Evaluating the annual budget for our businesses is a large part of what we do on a daily basis. Allocating dollars for marketing and advertising is one of the most critical activities that needs to happen in order to chart a path to success. It is true that 20% of the agents do perform 80% of the work in our industry. Of course, the business end of the spectrum is what many often focus on. Equally important is expanding our network and contact lists. This is key to guaranteeing ongoing success in this line of work.
As real estate agents, the importance of how we manage our business is one part of the whole puzzle. Recently, I created an informal survey that asked what qualities buyers and sellers found to be the most important in choosing their agent. Surprisingly enough, not one response had to do how they marketed, budgeted or long term planned their business.
I found overall that the most important thing that buyers and sellers considered in choosing their agent was trustworthiness. This is not something that appears in any business plan that I know of. As agents, we are not only selling properties, we are selling ourselves. The ability to convey trustworthiness is directly related to how we deal with not only buyers and sellers, but with the other professionals that we interact with.
I believe that our customers, regardless of which side of the transaction they may be on, are like children in the sense that they are sponges. They get a sense of how we do business by watching us conduct ourselves, listening to how we speak and interact with others. Their confidence in our ability to complete their transaction is directly proportional to the amount of trust they place in us. Working to establish this trust begins the moment that first contact is made.
Having an honesty first policy is something that has been key to my success as an agent. This approach is often overlooked when evaluating what should be first on an agent’s to do list. There is much to be said for implementing this practice in all things. I was surprised that things such as knowledge of the area, negotiating skills and the ability to accurately reach a listing price were mentioned after honesty in my informal survey. I believe that being found to be trustworthy and honest played a role in whether or not customers expressed confidence in the other areas.
When we pause and reflect on the things that make past clients more prone to refer their family and friends to us, we are reminded of the intangible qualities that our customers are most likely focused on. Remembering the simple things and occasionally looking at things from the customer’s vantage point is an activity that I highly recommend. It keeps us honest and reminds us that our success is based on more than a marketing plan or our advertising budgets.