In the early days of my first job in real estate in 2002, one of my senior colleagues said to me: “If you want to be successful in real estate young man, you’ll need a top drawer full of chocolate and a loyalty card to the local bottle shop.” What was I getting myself in to?!
Roy Morgan’s Image of Trusted Professions Survey 2014 found that real estate professionals were ranked 28 out of 30, down 3% from the previous year. That’s third last and only slightly better than car salesman but worse than politicians. Whether we like it or not, the real estate industry is not the flavour of the month in the court of public opinion, even if there are just a few bad apples ruining it for the rest. So how do we turn it around?
If we flip that survey up to the top of the list you’ll see nurses, doctors and pharmacists taking top honours, and there are three attributes they possess that I believe we get fundamentally wrong in real estate.
These are the three attributes of someone I call The Social Real Estate Agent.
Be a friend
Real estate agents have long been taught that to be successful they need to be seen as an authority figure and not to get overly friendly. But what if that were not the case? What if in order to get clients speaking with you instead of talking badly about you behind your back, all you had to do was speak to them as if they were just one of your friends and they thought of you as one of theirs?
We originally called this attribute Be Transparent, but the reality is that the further we move along in the age of social media, the less chance we all have of being transparent. Therefore, Embracing Transparency, letting it be your guiding light, is a whole different animal. Buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants now have access to more information than ever with the popularity of social media and online portals. They are all great tools to provide inside access to what you’re doing with the management or sale of someone’s property but transparency needs to go much further than that if you want to set yourself apart from every other real estate company already providing those tools. In this age of information overload, embracing a mindset of proactive transparency is the only way companies will cut through the noise and get people to notice them. This means taking transparency to the people instead of relying on them to come and find it.
We get this one wrong all the time! Quoting sections of legislation to try and win battles with buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants is never going to end as a mutually enjoyable conversation. Understanding legislation is very important in real estate, I get that. But try and use it for the decisions you take, rather than the conversations you make. You’ll be amazed at the difference that this attribute alone can make.
So are you The Social Real Estate Agent? I certainly hope that you are, or that you will be.