Why Would One Need You?
Question: When asked to articulate why your career needs to exist, how would you respond?
It may not surprise you to know that most agents cannot answer this very simple question. If you are thinking that you couldn’t answer this question, you may want to reconsider your career choice. After all the bravado and rah-rah that most agents and their companies spew, they still don’t seem to know why they may actually be needed in a transaction. Oh sure, they might be able to write a contract or run an ad, but most agents, when the hard times come, simply default to their broker who may or….may not know the answer. If you can’t understand what need the client has for you, than how do you expect anyone else to know? The reality is that most people, in generations past, used an agent ‘because that’s what you do’, but the consumer of today is not satisfied with that rational.
Your Knowledge Is What Counts
2008 Swanepoel Report: “87% of Brokers feel that servicing smarter and more informed consumers as their largest concern.
Its sad that 87% of brokers feel that informed consumers are their biggest threat! I feel that solely relates to the Broker’s lack of confidence in their agent’s ability to know what to do when a problem comes up; and that they may not be capable to have an intelligent conversation about a given real estate related topic.
The lack of faith is well founded. As an instructor, I take a very interactive approach to courses designed at problem solving. I recently asked a series of situational questions to a class of REALTORS®, once the question was delivered you could hear the crickets chirping in the room. I again asked “If XYZ occurred in your transaction, what would you do?” One student raised his hand and said “Put a Twix in my mouth….” Whereas I found that very funny, I recall the question being very rudimentary and the fact that 50+ students couldn’t resolve it scared me.
My wife and I educate our children at home, and one of the primary lesson plans we try to instill in our children is a level of self reliance and critical thinking. We want our children to know how to resolve issues on their own and to concentrate on those skillsets in life that will allow them to always be learning. I find that this is one of the large areas of lacking in real estate practitioners.
Education Doesn’t Stop After Pre-Licensing
Since finding the treasure chest – that are my social media friends in RE.net, I’ve been charmed by the collective knowledge about real estate and often forget that the writers, readers and commenters involved in this venue represent the minority of real estate practitioners. I have started treating most agents as if they were as educated as those in RE.net. Boy, what a mistake that has become…
Recently I received a batch of course evaluations from a class that I had taught, to a large group. The evals were great and there was only one negative person. This Technology class had one person who was VERY anti-technology; so I presume it was him. The evaluation comment said: “The instructors level of knowledge was considerable, but his ability to deliver this knowledge to the ‘least common denominator’ was questionable” (I paraphrase, as his vernacular was somewhat limited) Wow! Since when should a professional expect a program lecturer teach to the “least common denominator?” I readily agree that I am an intellectual elitist when it comes to this career, because the income and liability is so great.
Where Do You Get Your Knowledge?
Please understand that I am not suggesting that Bloggers are the only, or even best place to get knowledge. Truth be told, with the exception of AgentGenius.com, Inman.com, RealtyTimes.com and other highly regarded blogs or new sources, I tend to think that a lot of misinformation comes from bloggers. However, without a well balance SELF DIRECTED EFFORT to learn more about the industry, in which you profess to be an expert in, you wouldn’t know the truth from a misinformed author. The Agent has to desire more knowledge – it doesn’t just occur by osmosis.
I know that most agents feel overwhelmed about the number of industry newsletters, magazines, blogs and emails that we tend to get. However, the knowledge contained in those venues are exactly what your clients presume that you know and understand. Anything less than current knowledge is failure to meet your agency responsibilities. The courts, real estate commissions and professional standard panels are in agreement in this. I have cases histories where not knowing that the DOT was going to widen a roadway resulted in a punitive loss to the practitioner.
Agents need to be the “source of the source” we should know about local politics, practices, ordinances, market trends, history, economics, Federal regulations, lending practices, real estate board regulations, MLS policies, company policies, Standards of Practice, etc…. Does it sound overwhelming and hard? Yes and it should be….or the consumer could easily write their own contracts and find their own lenders. The career is simply more difficult than most practitioners think it is. So, are you armed with the right knowledge to give the best advise to your client when that advise is critical?