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2010-07-19 22:41:32

When Words are Not Enough

We real estate professionals like to talk. In fact, many of us became agents because people told us that, since we’re good talkers, we’d make great salespeople! That’s an old idea today. Why? Because consumers, are over-whelmed with sales talk. We don’t just trust anyone because they have a good ‘sales spiel’.
California Realtor Study Shows Sobering Results
Recently, the California Association of Realtors did a study asking buyers to rate their overall satisfaction with their agent. Here are the results:
Now, that’s enough to make you want to quit the business. But, don’t draw that conclusion.
Instead, I see this as a wonderful opportunity to stand out. If consumers are rating most agents at a measly 4% satisfaction rate, you can certainly set yourself apart by taking the steps I’ll explain here.
Evidence of this Distrustful Atmosphere: Buyers and Sellers Stall on Decisions
Recently, I was in Albuquerque to do my presentation for this emerging market, “From Lambs to Lions: Take Charge of Your Business in Challenging Times”. As part of my regular pre-conference survey, I found that agents are having trouble getting buyers to make a decision—and sellers to list their properties are a marketable price. This is true across the US, not just in Albuquerque, of course. What’s behind this indecision? Low confidence in the economy—and lack of trust in anyone leading consumers to an important decision.
So, how do we create high trust in a market that is so unpredictable that no one, in any business (or personal life), has a crystal ball on the future?
There are several proven methods, and, here, I’ll help you with one of them.
Take a Clue from the Medical Community
A few months ago, I came across a brilliant article in our local Seattle paper describing how doctors in a prestigious medical center here have just adopted operation room checklists. This simple measure lowered infections dramatically. Now, it seems simplistic, doesn’t it, that highly trained doctors and nurses need checklists for things such as ‘wash your hands’? But, we all get busy. We get stressed. Having checklists reduces stress and increases confidence. Not just for the doctors. Wouldn’t you feel better if you were going into the operating room, and saw that checklist posted on the wall? And, in fact, one version of the checklist is actually posted in a huge poster in the operating room. Smart professionals in all fields realize that visual evidence of credibility is one of the strongest builders of trust. If Doctors Do This, Shouldn’t We?
The idea for professional checklists comes from the book The Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande. If doctors and nurses can increase their effectiveness with checklists, I’ll bet we can, too—and dramatically increase our clients’ trust in us.
I’m Seasoned: I Don’t Have to Prove It…….Certainly, if you’re working with a person who already has high trust in you, credibility ‘foundations’ may not seem important to you to use. In fact, I’ve managed agents who bragged that they just told people what to do—and they did it. Sometimes…But, the problem is that the whole world has become less trusting. So, even your ‘high trust’ clients may not be as trusting as you thought they were.
Is Your Service Predictable or ‘Creative’? There’s nothing wrong with being creative. I’m a musician, so I know all about creativity. Here’s the problem, though. Sometimes we get creative when we should be predictable. We ‘fire from the hip’. The consumer doesn’t want surprises. The consumer wants you to do the operational part of your job the same, professional way—every time.
The Easy Way to Get Referrals.
Putting the strategy to work below assures that your referral source communicates to that ‘stranger’ your professional approach. Just ‘trust me’ doesn’t make it in sales anymore….Tough, honest note to seasoned agents: Unfortunately, I’ve found, from managing, training, and coaching thousands of agents (and managers), that refusing to work harder at credibility is often just a cop-out. Don’t let that be you! Wouldn’t it be advantageous to you to create strong relationships with more consumers, not just those who already have a high trust in you?(Managers, I’m talking to you too: Do you have that Book of Greatness available that shows you put your actions where your mouth is?)
Checklists: Your Systematic Tool
You may use checklists in your business. They could include:
New listing checklist
After sales checklist
Processing transactions checklist
Tip: Make a list, right now, of the checklists and operations you regularly use. Would someone who doesn’t know how you work be impressed with your business organization? You bet.
How to Show and Share Your Professionalism
Do you share with consumers how you work? Do you show it visually, not just verbally? A stunning statistic: We remember only 10% of what we heard three days later. No wonder they’re always asking us about what we said—or didn’t say!
One way to share your checklists and your operations is by creating a Professional Portfolio. Remember, it’s not about you (think doctors). It’s about your client—letting your client know he will have a predictable, few- surprises transaction—and that he can count on you to professionally guide the transaction to closing and beyond.
Tip on showing your checklists: Show a completed checklist (it’s the ‘real’, not the promise), and a blank checklist.
A Simple, Effective Method to Double your Credibility Factor
I hope I’ve convinced you to work hard at sharing your credibility visually. Start with your checklists. In later articles, we’ll discuss other methods of increasing your credibility. By the way, this works for you whether you’ve been in the business decades (me), or weeks! You’ll be doing me a favor, too. Having been in the real estate industry a long time, I very much want the public to see how invaluable great agents are to them—and be willing to invest in that value.

Carla Cross, CRB, MA, is a former master-level CRB instructor, popular international speaker, National Realtor Educator of the Year, and author of 6 books and 20 audio programs. She specializes in ‘people development’—strategies for real estate professionals to enjoy highest production and profits. Join her newsletter community and receive her complimentary eBook, Getting to Yes: Ten Powerful Tools to Bash those Barriers to Purchasing Today. Learn more at, or contact Carla at 425-392-6914.

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