As agents we have a responsibility to help our clients
I’m all for doing whatever I can to help my clients not just purchase or sell a home, but live a better life. I get asked questions all the time in fields out of my area of expertise that I do my best to answer or help my clients (and friends) find the answers to. As agents we build networks of people we can refer to, people we can call with questions, and people we trust to do the best for the people that have placed their trust in us. We’re a loving, caring, giving bunch overall (sure, we have our moments). We want to see people happy, we want them to succeed, we want what’s best for them. So why is it that we keep diluting ourselves?
I am still what I consider a fairly new agent (I’ll be saying that when I’m 50) and I’ve heard stories about it before, but now its up close and personal. Its happening in my office and around town. As the real estate market squeezed some agents out of the business, some stayed, but elected to try new opportunities to meet their bottom line. I have seen several recent “bottom line fluffers” including everything from selling e-books to multi-level marketing schemes, selling trinkets to selling health-care savings programs (not insurance, but I will use it for lack of a better word). While I see the need for some of these products in the world, I don’t see the need for them in real estate. We come across many people in the course of our business, but by selling them things outside of our realm (real estate) are we not cheapening our profession? Are we not telling the consumer that we’re not good enough to do real estate full time, but while we have their ear could we pitch them the latest Amway or Avon products so that we can “earn a buck.” I find it distasteful and a sore on the industry. Maybe I’m just too naive and green to realize we all have to worry about the bottom line (I know I worry about mine all the time), but at what cost? An industry that’s already looked down upon now hawking wares out of their cars as they tell a seller they can get their home sold, no problem. Do we switch name tags when we sell the other products or do we reel people in with low cost health care and then get them to buy a house? Should I change the car magnets to my 1-800-GET-SLIM (I hope that’s not a real company, I just made it up) ones as I head to my next listing presentation?
Where do we draw the line?
Maybe its my rock ‘n roll life that causes me to think like this, I don’t know (perhaps that’s why I can’t wait to read the comments and am typing like a madman to get this post completed). I suffered through long droughts in the music industry. Try taking five years to record an album with little income, even though you had just come off two of the best years of your life financially. Its not easy, I know first hand. I made sacrifices, I did what I could, but I didn’t cheapen what I did by trying to hawk Avon to our fans. For lack of a better way to put it, I suffered for my art (I hate that phrase). I had a passion and I stuck to it. Come hell or high water, I was going to succeed at what I did. Real estate isn’t easy to break into. Its a tough, competitive world that you have to make a name in before you become the superstar you want to be and obtain the level of business you desire.
So which are you, A-1 or Heinz 57?
Are you off in 57 different directions or are you the king of steak sauces? Are you A-1 with your clients? Are you focused and defined or are you selling beans, pickles, and ketchup? I know when I’m sitting in front of a Texas sized Ribeye which one I’ll reach for. And your potential and current clients will too.
(The irony of the fact that Heinz is a very successful company is not lost on me, please bear with me – and hey, its my post anyway, I’ll make as many weird comparisons as I want.) I do want to note that I am a firm believer in the fact that everyone can run their business how they want and if you choose to do this, that’s your call. For me, I just don’t get it and see it as a stigma that we will have to battle down the road.