I must confess that for a long time I haven’t read a paper, I haven’t watched the news and I don’t get involved in discussions on real estate industry forums. To me, the constant negativity is pretty toxic stuff.
But a Facebook post recently caught my eye from an industry forum that I couldn’t help but digest and reflect upon.
A well intentioned real estate agent and forum member who listed a property asked if they should accept a ‘friend request’ from their client. The agent said they did not have a professional page and asked if it was possible to separate their personal contacts from their business contacts so the client couldn’t see any of their personal activity.
A string of many well crafted comments with detailed and in-depth procedures were offered from various other forum members outlining exactly how this could be done and why it should be done.
Let’s break this down for a minute.
- A real estate professional has gained the trust from a willing client to sell what is most likely their most valuable asset, their home.
- Through the listing process, the client has revealed some of the their deepest, most personal information such as the names of their children, where they go to school, what their favourite TV show is, what they’re doing next weekend and the reasons why they’re selling their home.
- The client has actively reached out to the agent wanting to get to know them personally and the agent wants to stop them.
- A huge amount of agents have spent excessive amounts of time researching and testing how to block their clients (not prospects or the general public, but clients) from their personal Facebook page and are proud to offer their advice.
I was fortunate to have recently interviewed Ekaterina Walter, New York Times best-selling author, marketing innovator and all-round wonderful person, who answered my question on this very topic of whether or not real estate professionals should separate their personal and professional Facebook pages. This is what she said.
Everything that happens in your life, both personally and professionally, happens because of the connections and relationships you build. How you approach each one will define how your personal brand is being shaped and perceived.
When it came to designing our website, a friend highly recommended I speak with the team that helped him with his site. After my first Skype chat talking all things business with Greg from Marketing Press, he sent me a friend request on Facebook, which was not something I expected or had experienced right after an initial business discussion.
Naturally I accepted and when we eventually met in person on a trip to the US, we spoke more about moments we’d shared on Facebook and our mutual interests far more than business. Even though Greg lives 14,000km away in Tempe, Arizona, our business relationship is ever stronger because of that connection. I thank Greg for teaching me a very valuable lesson.
I believe it’s well and truly time we let our clients, the people who have instilled their trust in us professionally, get to know us a little more personally and give them what they don’t expect. Transparency.
What do you think?