Inspiration for today’s blog comes from a comment posted regarding yesterday’s theme, “Are You the Expert Your Clients Need You to Be?” Carlson Jacoby writes, “Good people always outweigh good statistics, and we’ve got to remember that a lender or agent working on our behalf is a rapport of trust – and that’s something numbers can’t give.” The relationship between agent and client must be predicated on trust and mutual respect for it to be successful and lasting.
I’ve written about the importance of building a referral-based business in order to have one which is not in survival mode, rather sustainable, even significant. In fact, these are three pillars in the evolution of a successful real estate agent’s business. Typically, survival is that initial period of time, early in the new entity, when leads are only beginning to build and transactional volume is enough to keep the doors open but not much else. As one’s referral network increases, revenue becomes sustainable. By sustainable, I mean there’s enough coming in to weather any unforeseen storms. If a transaction flips while your business is in survival mode, it may mean running a lean operation until money flows again or worse, not paying bills, maybe even bailing all together. A sustainable operation has enough volume that any one transaction disappearing won’t jeopardize it as a whole. The ultimate evolutionary stage, then, is a business thriving at a level making it possible for you to live a life of significance, be it for your clients, family or community; one where you can begin to give back that which you receive in abundance.
A business centered on trust, rapport and dependability with one’s clients is sure to yield sustainable and significant results. By way of example, when I was a kid growing up in the southwest of Ireland, raising funds for travel and fun, I worked in a pub on weekends, holidays and vacation breaks. Incredibly, I started tending bar at age fifteen. (Though the legal drinking age was eighteen, it wasn’t uncommon for teens of my age in rural Ireland to be working in the hospitality industry.) At the time, there were fifteen pubs in our village with an off-season population of three hundred and fifty. Summer would see that number swell ten-to-fifteen fold. Needless to say, competition amongst watering holes for drinking regulars during the lean seasons was often stiff. Yet, even in this highly competitive, but limited market, there were things one could do to draw people through the door.
As a novice barman, I resolved to pour the best pint of Guiness in our village. I set about learning the “craft”, a process which, in my experience, entailed three draws on the tap over a period of ten to fifteen minutes, enough time to let the head settle in a thick, creamy, heavenly cap. I can say that my efforts were enough to build our customer-base over time as the word got out (the Irish take their Guiness very seriously). At a minimum, our patrons could trust I would take the time necessary to pour it correctly. In essence, the respect and attention with which I treated pouring a special pint of beer was commensurate with that which I paid my customers. As the quality of my output improved so did our number of patrons. The happier they were, the more they returned. I took the time to learn how to do something well, remained consistent in my actions and respectful of my customers’ needs. How, then, is pouring a great pint of Guiness any different from building that fundamental foundation of trust and rapport with clients in your business? Not very, I think.