We talk a lot about the need for reputation management through Google Alerts and the like, with the idea being that you need to know what’s being said about you. But almost as important is the notion of relationship management. Do you know where your clients are going for information when your back is turned?
Seller won’t disclose Seller Property Disclosure Statement … Should this be a red flag for us? … BTW our real estate agent is great.
We put an offer on a house, seller countered. We agreed to counter and had it back to them within a couple hours. That was 4 days ago. Shouldn’t we be under contract by now? … I spoke with my agent today, and we are just gonna move ahead and start inspections. Kinda scary that we can’t open escrow yet though. (This after multiple agents had chipped in their two cents.)
I’m looking at a home in Queen Creek just a few miles from Gilbert. … It’s been hard to find relevant comps … We are thinking 550K is a solid price, we love the property – but we want to be sure not to overpay in this volatile market. Advice?
… Yes, I am working with a Realtor and using comps off the MLS.
These are three examples, only from the Arizona RSS feed, only within the last week. And this is what happens every single day on Trulia Voices.
It’s 3 a.m. Do You Know Where Your Client Is?
Let’s put aside for a moment the fairly clear-cut violations of the NAR Code of Ethics that are taking place every single day as agents provide advice that at worst conflicts and at best interferes with the relationship established between these clients and their agents.
(I know, I know … they’re the ones asking for the advice. But even we as real estate agents ought to be able to stop panting and pouncing like starved hyenas long enough to see what we’re doing.)
Your value is in your experience, your expertise, your advice. Have you ever watched as a transaction went south because your client’s parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends from school or the local bartender gave them advice not based in reality? Have you ever found yourself explaining how things are done in your state compared to the state from which your buyers have moved?
Take that phenomenon, multiply it by 100 or so, and you have the daily frenzy that is Trulia Voices. Here’s the basic scenario:
- Client doesn’t trust the agent they have hired. (Most likely because they never really interviewed an agent, instead trusting whatever name they saw on a sign.)
- Client goes to the web searching for someone to validate whatever position they already have taken. (Because nothing is more effective than searching for the one, best answer among those shouted from a crowd. Kinda like The Price is Right.)
- Agents desperate for business jump all over themselves and their peers, trying to demonstrate their expertise … regardless of the area about which the client might be asking. (But hey – there’s little difference in real estate in Arizona and North Dakota, right? Houses are houses, 50-below or 120 degrees, right?)
And step four becomes the inevitable … client becomes so frustrated about the inability to receive a coherent answer from an incoherent mob that their driving theory – that there is no value brought to the table by a real estate professional – is confirmed.
Take a Breath … and Have Some Dignity
To be valued you need not only to demonstrate your expertise, but you have to expect to be valued for that expertise.
If your clients are running to Trulia Voices looking for answers that contradict the advice you’re providing them, and if you’re confident in your answer, confront your client and explain that they are hampering their ability to meet their goals. If they don’t agree and don’t see the value you add, fire them. Don’t waste your time on people who think nothing of what you know and what you do.
And if you’re one of the agents stomping on other agents’ agency relationships in hopes of winning an MVP award for having the most answers, take a step back. Think about what you’re going to say and what the ramifications might be.
Fooling around and not knowing the other person’s attached is one thing. Fooling around knowing full well your cuckolding some poor sap trying to put food on his table … that’s just not good form.