Read a recent article from Rismedia where the author was talking about “The Consumer’s Search for Excellence” in the real estate industry. The author, Verl Workman, has hit the target. See the link below for the full article.
When I opened my own agency in 2006 after 2 years as a new licensee, my goal was to change the mindset & professionalism of the real estate industry. Our communities and our clients have less than ‘great’ thoughts and feelings about real estate agents and their practices.
Most of the thoughts about REALTORS focus around: (1) overwhelming consensus that people don’t feel they need a REALTOR®, (2) lack of communication, (3) very little work for too much money, (4) unethical, dishonest, not trustworthy, and (5) more interested in the commission than actually helping the clients.
I teach every new agent of mine the “COFFEE” concept. Each letter of this acronym is an area of focus for any agent to develop their business. The last “E” stands for Excellence. If you want to make it in this industry, every aspect of your business must strive for excellence. Notice I used the word ‘strive’. Everything won’t be excellent every time, but if you strive for excellence always, then you will make steps toward that.
Every day, I want to defend our industry with passion, enthusiasm, professionalism, and irrational service. Many agree that this perception will not change, unless we change, unless we take the level of our professionalism to a much higher level. We must communicate to the world that we are professional, valuable, and focused on doing the right things all the time.
I have made it my personal mission to bring a higher level of professionalism to this industry and communicate that “REALTORS are a dime a dozen, but we are not all created equal!” I agree with others that unless we make significant changes to our industry, the consumer is going to demand significant changes in our profession. The responsibility for earning back our reputation as professionals falls on us.
The author asked “What can we do” and provided these suggestions:
- Adhere to our code of ethics. There can’t be any grey areas. Do the right thing every time, regardless of how it may or may not affect your commissions.
- Become students of real estate. We must be true experts in our communities and in the types of property we list and sell. The attitude of “fake it ‘til you make it” is what got us here.
- Deliver more than the client expects. Exceed their minimum level of expectation. They think most agents are weak because too many don’t take their professions seriously. Over-deliver by providing better service, knowledge and expert representation.
- Communicate. One of the most consistent complaints I hear is that agents do not communicate. This blows my mind! With text messaging, emails, smart phones, Skype, snail mail and many other automated ways to communication, there is NO excuse for not exceeding this minimum expectation! Stop shopping for and buying technology for the sake of owning technology and start using your tools to communicate more effectively and efficiently.
- Learn how to sell. Ok, I said it! We are sales people. No matter how you try and spin it, we are in sales. We sell ourselves, we sell homes, we resolves concerns, and we offer solutions to our clients’ needs. As I interview the audiences at my events, I ask, “How many of you are in sales?” and the answer is eye-opening. Less than 25 percent of the agents I survey believe they are in sales. Let’s step up and own the fact that we are professional sales people! We get hired to sell our clients’ properties—or on the buyer’s side, we get hired to find the right home and negotiate a fair deal for our buyers. Stand up as agents, brokers and brands and be counted as sales people; be proud of the service we provide and raise the bar.
I added this to the list:
- Lower the number of licensees. Yes, this will make some angry, but the National Association of REALTORS is the largest trade organization in the country with around 1.2 million members, yet the average member makes an annual salary of $15,000! Most consumers wouldn’t consider a person taking home $15,000 annually as a viable, necessary and professional resource. It is too easy, and inexpensive, to obtain a real estate license in most states. A REALTOR peer recently got mad at me because I used the word ‘most’ when talking about the poor reputation REALTORS have among the public. But the reality is that ‘most’ of the licensed REALTORS across this country are not professional, aren’t striving for excellence, aren’t focused on the real estate industry, and get into the market to make a little ‘extra easy’ money. Now ‘most’ of NAR’s members are ‘part time’ licensees, but being part time doesn’t mean you are the problem. I have part time agents in my agency, but I teach them to be professional, knowledgeable, and service oriented, with the goal of focusing on real estate full time. I personally mentor and coach them in their business development. Most of our industry’s members are creating a huge disaster for our industry. When most of its members don’t pursue real estate professionalism and excellence, how can an industry protect its value? A big focus needs to be on reducing the number of broker licenses also, especially in the state of Arkansas. We have too many agents, with no solid transaction history, and even less business management experience, who are opening their own real estate office, and trying to manage other agents with no experience managing their own business.
I love this industry and want to protect it, its integrity, its service and its value! I love being able to interact with families while they experience a very large and important financial decision. Do you?