R-e-s-p-e-c-t

Respect is often hard to find.  Drivers roll up to the knees of pedestrians in the crosswalk; they’re reluctant to pull to the side for a police or ambulance vehicle to pass.  If you want respect, sometimes you have to ask for it, even demand it.

One of the biggest dilemmas I face in my position as a realtor is how to convey the value I bring to clients.  Many buyers and sellers are not shy about mocking my role in the process; they feel that I’m superfluous to the transaction.  That I bring little or nothing to them, certainly not enough to be worth the commission I am paid.  One common feeling is that all realtors are the same; an idea that the National Association of Realtors does nothing to dispel.

I can and frequently do argue my view of how I fit in and what I bring to the table.  My belief is that there is no possible way a novice can purchase or sell a home without professional guidance.  Where would you begin?  There are intricacies that no book or website can explain.  Even if there were a start to finish guide, it’s not possible to explain the details of every step, every unexpected event.

Today, unfortunately, was more of the rule than the exception.  The last thing I want to do is start a relationship with a new client from an adversarial position; however, there’s a more important factor:  In order to establish a good working relationship, we must respect each other.  If the client sees no value in my time or services, there’s no respect for me or the role I play.  I become a secretary, taxi driver, punching bag, delivery person, babysitter.

In order to establish the guidelines of a positive client-realtor relationship, there are steps that cannot be ignored.  I’m not talking about anyone walking on coals.  I’m referring to an initial face-to-face meeting.  If you as the client are not willing to sit across the table from me, I have to wonder what your intentions are.  If you plan to work with several realtors; for example, whoever finds you the house, I’m not interested in being one of many.  I will commit my time and resources with the expectation that we will reach the result together and celebrate those results.

Buying a home is a long and involved process.  Difficult decisions are a natural part of it.  If I don’t understand who you are, I will be at a handicap in my efforts to assist and advise you.

Today, in confirming an afternoon appointment, the lines were already becoming blurred.  I very clearly advised the buyer, in previous communication, that we must meet in person to accomplish several goals.  It must be established what type of property is going to be a match.  There are an extraordinary number of questions in addition to price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms.  Telling me that you want a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in San Mateo is not going to yield results.  It’s going to create chaos and be a complete waste of time, yours and mine.

I have to know who you are as a person and how you make decisions.  I need to understand your thinking process.  Do you make very quick decisions or are you an analytical thinker who requires plenty of time to come to a conclusion?

But how do I convey this to a prospective client?  How do I say that I’m professional, that I know what I’m doing, that working with me will be a pleasurable experience as opposed to a nightmare?  How can this even be attempted without knowing me, without knowing my morals, ethics, and beliefs?  How can you know you’ve made the right decision to trust in my experience and knowledge without sitting down and spending some time across the table?

Vicki Moore About Vicki Moore

Office:
RE/MAX Star Properties
282 Redwood Shores Parkway
Redwood Shores, CA 94065

By Phone:
650.888.9268

Comments

  1. Establishing relationships with people is always the tough part.
    That you have explicitly told them what you have posted, you have laid out your expectations of them and clarified what they can expect from you. In short, its a little contract – the ground rules of engagement. If from the outset it becomes “blurry” they it’s clear they are not fulfilling any agreement nor are they meeting YOUR criteria as a pro. You have a decision to make. The decision is easier if accompanied with a glass of Chardonnay.

  2. Vicki Moore Vicki says:

    Thank you, Larry, for your thoughtful reply.

  3. Ines says:

    Vicki – it’s that reputation that follows us that make it difficult to establish the relationship. It IS doable, one customer at a time.

    Blogging is such an amazing medium because we get to show our worth with our posts and clients know us before they meet us – the challenge comes for us to know them and know what their needs and expectations are.

    Thanks for guiding me here from AG – our minds were in sink!

  4. Ryan Hukill says:

    Vicki, you have hit on something that each and every one of us who pride ourselves in the service we provide our clients deals with each and every day, in every situation. There is a very real perception out there about our profession as a whole, and until we do something to set ourselves apart from the masses, we are simply a small part of that large perception. It’s difficult, maybe even impossible, to do that little something via phone, email and lists of homes. We need that face-to-face contact some time early in the process to establish the real rapport that will break the ice to a new relationship.

    I appreciate your honesty and transparency in this post, and hope that your clients will too. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Vicki Moore Vicki says:

    Thank you Ryan. I have struggled with this. I certainly don’t want to be considered a dinosaur or be left behind in a new way of doing business. However, buying and selling homes is still a very personal and emotional process. It must be done, in my opinion, face to face. I’m in disbelief that people don’t want to invest any time in meeting with a realtor to determine their knowledge and professionalism. Oftentimes they’re willing to leave the whole transaction up to chance, not interviewing the agent beforehand. I wonder if those who complain about members of our profession are those who didn’t take the time initially to find out who the person is that’s working for them.

  6. Vicki Moore Vicki says:

    Hi Vicki,

    I think it only appropriate to tell you that I found my way here through your post on Agent Genius. Though I don’t always comment, I have been reading the posts there. In reference to yours, I’m all for celebrating the New Year again..but before the celebration, I’m sorry for your loss of “doggie girl.” I think it was this that prompted me to go on and read your blog: http://www.realestatesanmateoca.com/blog/

    I want to comment on your post: R-e-s-p-e-c-t

    Ines raised a valid point, it’s how we service our previous clients that earns us the respect of our newer clients. I have (but not always) introduced a new client to a former client. I’ve done this if:

    they share common interests,
    they share common concerns,
    they’re local to one another
    I do this because my formers clients are my best walking billboards! Introducing them to someone “real” makes trust an easier thing to achieve. Though I suppose I should also say that maybe this tactic works for me because I often have met some of these clients at networking groups/events where it’s easier to acquaint people with one another.

    Establishing a following/a reputation through our past clients is something I’m sure we’re all working towards accomplishing on a daily basis, but it still leaves the question, “what can I do about this now!” I can’t help but think that the answer is in what you described through your post. You said,

    “If the client sees no value in my time or services, there’s no respect for me or the role I play. I become a secretary, taxi driver, punching bag, delivery person, babysitter.”

    If establishing respect in the role that you play requires you to sit with your client in a face-to-face meeting so that all expectations are laid out on the table, then I think it’s important you emphasis an appointment “or else.” And it’s ok to say this aggressively, in the end I think they’ll respect you more for it.

    Here’s a sample line that might work:
    “Mr. Smith I have many committed clients who require my assistance. In order to service both you and them in a timely and appropriate manner, it’s imperative that we meet in-person so that we can both set expectations and establish what you want.”

    Well Vicki, I apologize for the lengthy email. I could or maybe should have left a comment, but since I’ve never visited before, I didn’t want to be intrusive or seem like a drive-by commentor. I hope that you find my information relevant and resourceful!

    All the Best,

    Ricardo Bueno
    World Wide Credit Corp
    (323) 810-2175
    http://www.industry-report.com
    http://www.twitter.com/IndustryMinute

  7. Vicki Moore Vicki says:

    Ricardo

    Your email is very kind. Thank you for taking the time to give condolences and to comment on my post. It’s certainly not a drive-by and I gladly placed your comment on my blog.

    Your advice is excellent and exactly what I was looking for. Please know that you are a welcome visitor and I look forward to hearing from you again.

    Best regards,
    Vicki

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