As you know, there are real estate agents and real estate agents. Some of the people you deal with are professionals, and some… are not. To put it bluntly, some should be in some other line of work.
So what does it mean to be a real estate professional?
There are two sides to professionalism: One has to do with knowledge and skill. The other has to do with behavior. In my opinion, it takes excellence on both sides to make a true professional.
That doesn’t mean a new agent can’t be professional. They can, if they’re willing to keep learning, to find the answers (rather than bluff), and to seek assistance from a broker or mentor when they need it to best serve their clients.
Professionals keep learning and polishing their skills throughout their careers. They pay attention to their markets, keep up with new technologies, and take classes to increase their knowledge.
Professional behavior is also two-sided. There’s behavior with clients and behavior with other agents and the various professionals who work together to help real estate transactions get to closing.
The first rule in professionalism, in my opinion, is clear communication and respect for others. This starts with answering the phone (or returning a call, text, or email quickly) and extends to asking and answering questions with specificity and filling out agreements clearly and completely.
Not long ago my son got an offer on his rental property in which one of the conditions was “Seller to finish remodeling projects in progress.” Since there were none, we had to wonder what that meant.
This courtesy should be extended to clients, other agents, lenders, and all the other professionals involved with a transaction.
I know it isn’t always easy to respond professionally, or even politely. Just yesterday I was dealing with a Title agent who is, in a word, snarky.
Sometimes you just have to deal with unprofessional people and refuse to respond in kind.
Professionals have respect for others’ time. That means calling ahead if you’re going to be late – or not going to show up. It also means being on time if you say you’ll call by 10:00.
Professionals adhere to real estate laws, including Fair Housing and ADA regulations. This should go without saying, as should following the Code of Ethics. Following the law also includes giving advice only in your own field of expertise. If you’re not a lawyer or a licensed tax expert, don’t give legal or tax advice.
Professionals tell the truth. Stick to the facts even when the truth is not what your clients want to hear. If market conditions are less than wonderful or if a house is not worth anywhere near what the sellers wish for, they’re still better off to know the truth. And… you’re better off for telling it.
Professionals always consult with their clients, and convey the client’s wishes, not their own. Never assume that you know what your clients want or what is best for them. That means you don’t reject a low offer, refuse a concession, or even turn down a showing at an inconvenient hour without their approval.
Professionals focus on results for their clients, not on their commission. Focusing on the money can lead to poor decisions, so don’t do it. Just keep doing your job as well as possible and the money will follow.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.”
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
“Deliver more than you promise and earn the respect and gratitude of the intelligent, the wise, and the honourable.”
Wayne Gerard Trotman
“Professionalism shouldn’t be defined by a person’s paycheck, role or title. It should be defined by a person’s work ethic”
Last but definitely not least:
Professionals control their emotions and never take negotiations personally. When you get upset or decide that someone is being unfair, you convey those feelings to your clients – and that cannot lead to good decisions.
When I was a broker, our agency controlled more than 50% of the transactions in our small town. That meant that two agents in my office were often on opposite sides of a transaction.
There were times when they refused to heed this advice and instead “took sides.” Disagreements over whose client was right became personal disagreements with each other. It’s not easy to negotiate successfully when the agents aren’t speaking. It’s also not easy being in an office with agents who are warring.
Professionals stay off social media when they’re upset and need to rant! Remember that every word you send out to the Internet will add to or detract from your personal reputation – and the public perception of real estate agents.
So tell your spouse, tell your Mom, or tell your best friend. But don’t tell your colleagues, don’t tell your customers and clients, and don’t tell the world. The best solution I’ve learned is to write out all those feelings by hand. Rant, rave, curse, and call names. Then crumple up the paper and burn it. I promise you’ll feel much better, and your reputation will not be damaged.
Professionals always remember that they represent the real estate profession.
Strive to make your words and actions such that you raise the public perception of real estate professionals with every transaction.
Did I miss anything?
Tell me in the comments…
Handshake Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Woman on phone courtesy of podpad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
clock courtesy of stuart miles @ freedigitalphotos.net
Stressed lady courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net