Perceptions

Success is that old ABC – ability, breaks, and courage.

~ Charles Luckman

I have been pondering this….how do you feel about it?

We are paid too much…

The public sees Realtors/Agents driving fancy cars and often living in better homes than they do. They see the outward appearance of wealth in fancy cars, fancy clothes, and a nice home. What they fail to realize is that most Agents are living beyond their means to achieve this outward successful appearance.

The consumer doesn’t understand the essential risk/reward connection in real estate sales. This is a profession without base salary, car allowance, health insurance, or retirement plan a profession without a guaranteed income of any kind.

 

The work is easy…

Too many consumers perceive that we pound a sign in the ground and wait for it to sell. Much of the work we do, as Real Estate Agents, is behind the scenes. It isn’t recognized or seen as work. The perception is that we plant the sign in the ground and wait for a commission check. I am not sure we will ever be able to fully change this perception because the consumer will never see the behind the scenes work a good Agent does.

It’s almost as if we are the stage manager in a Broadway production. The actors and orchestra conductor receive the applause and accolades from the audience. They get to take their bows and recognition. You never see the director or stage manager get a round of applause. The show would not go on without them, but they gain little recognition for their important role.

“The job is easy. The work is hard!”

We are not professional….

Their view is we haven’t received an advanced degree almost anyone can acquire a real estate license. There is some truth to the view that anyone can get a license. Becoming a licensed Agent doesn’t mean you will be a good Agent. It certainly doesn’t mean that you will be a successful Realtor.

Everyone also knows an Agent they don’t respect. They might have done business with them in the past and were dissatisfied. Maybe they have a close relative, high school buddy, or family friend they think is a moron who is an Agent. The basic philosophy is, if so and so is an Agent, they must all be just like him. It is amazing how quickly people can come to that conclusion.

As Real Estate Professionals, we are in a “show me” business. That’s what sales is about . . . especially full commission sales. We have to demonstrate to our prospects and clients that we add value and are worth our fee. I know there is a large percentage of you who just cringed or had a negative reaction move through your body when I called us salespeople. Too many Agents don’t like to be “labeled” as salespeople. A Great Realtor or Agent is proud that he is a salesperson. Honestly, I grow weary of Agents telling me that they are Marketing Experts, Service Consultants, Client Care Consultants, and on and on. We create all these fancy, fictitious titles to make us feel better, so we don’t have to call ourselves what we are . . . salespeople!

You work in a sales-based business. Be proud of your sales heritage. Your ability to acknowledge and enhance a sales philosophy to attract and convert prospects into clients will determine your success and your income.

Thanks for allowing me to rant…

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.

~ Kahlil Gibran

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About Lance Berwald, Coldwell Banker Burnet

I am a real estate aspirant and scholar. Always seeking to learn more about an every changing world and industry. Come and seek the truth about life, real estate and what motivates us each and every day!
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One Response to Perceptions

  1. Lance – Good post. I think that the real issue at the root, is that by enlarge, real estate agents are poor communicators. That can stem from many things, but the reality is that if your client perceives that the job is easy or that we are paid too much, then its the agents responsibility to change that perception. That takes two things: 1.) excellent communication skills and the ability to articulate their value 2.) professionalism and follow through – many agents lack this, so the first thing never had a chance.

    But – I don’t feel badly about this reality…as one agent’s failure is an opportunity to pick up business for the seasoned sales professional to come in and change that perception.

    Regarding the general public’s perception of our industry – they have good reason to feel they way they do. We (as an industry) did this to ourselves. Let’s face it…becoming a Realtor is a low barrier of entry. I personally think that its funny when I hear people say that they are going to get into the business without some thought of a business plan. Its like when Michael Jordan retired from basketball and tried his hand at baseball. Laughable…and every MLB Player out there knew he wouldn’t make it.

    Our boards, NAR, etc. are all now self-fulfilling prophecies whose objectives are not in alignment with those of agents and brokers. Don’t get me wrong. I have tremendous respect for the work they do and the value that i get from them regarding the tools provided, however, their main objective is increased membership, so that they have enough funding to grow, ad jobs, etc.

    Increased membership is not the solution. Increased standards & professionalism is. Make it a little harder to become a broker. If the DOC will not impose the standards, then maybe the Association of Realtors should. Instead of being an agent for three years, make it a requirement to have at a minimum – a two year associates degree. Instead of being 18 and not a criminal to become a licensed sales person, make it a high school diploma and a year (or even two) as an apprentice to a seasoned agent…this will help agents build their businesses. Lastly, if it means decreasing memebership and increasing dues…then do that. I would pay $2500 per year in dues if I knew that would decrease the number Realtors out there. The idea that increased membership creates competition that puts pressure on commissions is false. Now more and more agents are competing for fewer transactions which means that they cant offer a discount if they want to make a living. If there was less competition (ie…the friend of relative who sells one or two homes per year) then agents could do more transactions – and make business decisions regarding their fee structures which would allow them to be more flexible for consumers. Just an idea.

    I am pretty confident that the top 10% of agents in the Metro would support this.

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