There are a lot of weird things about the real estate profession.
Like working side by side with your direct competitors under the same unified banner.
You’re on a team, but you’re also not.
Sure, there’s camaraderie, all of us being members of the real estate ‘sisterhood’, but here’s the thing.
Sometimes sisters fight.
Insecurities, miscommunication, and outright jealousy and fear can cause a lot of problems among humans. Even real estate agents. Even competitors.
We can’t avoid it, really. So the trick then isn’t to avoid competition or miscommunication, it’s trying to figure out how to disagree like grownups, and compete with sportsmanship.
I’ve seen my share of office feuds, both between agents in the same office and agents in different brokerages. Sometimes it’s frustrating to watch, other times it’s heartbreaking to watch someone flush their reputation and professional relationships down the crapper for a measly paycheque.
I’ve seen people huff and puff about ‘how dare so-and-so talk to THEIR client’ when the truth is that was never ‘their’ client. (Because first, people are not property to be claimed by real estate agents and second, saying hello to someone in the store does not a client or piece of property make) *rant over*
I’ve also been to countless meetings with other agents and was met with snarky attitudes, snide comments, and outright belligerence. Once I got over the shock of a fully grown adult behaving like a toddler in wingtips, I stored it in my memory as evidence of an important truth – one we all need to learn.
Agents, we need to get it through our thick, competitive heads, that we don’t need to steamroll and pull each other’s hair to make it!
We need to realize other agents are our not our enemies – they’re our best customers!
Why Competing Agents are our BEST Customers
1) They Cover You on a Day Off
Without some degree of teamwork (or shirking our clients), we won’t get a day off. We need each other. If you expect another agent to do anything on your behalf, you’d best maintain those relationships.
Someone whose client you poached, whose deal you tanked, or who you simply treated with disdain is not going to jump to help you.
2) They Bring Referrals!
Referrals from other agents is a huge resource for leads. Winnipeg agents occasionally send me leads so they don’t have to drive all the way to Steinbach for a showing. I absolutely want those! But, when I sell a house as a result of that referral, I absolutely give a referral fee to that agent. I treat them well and reward them for their efforts to work with me. And the people they send my way? I treat them with excellence too. Know what happens? Those agents don’t hesitate to send me referrals in the future.
(If I’d choose to be snippy, cheap, or treat their would-be clients poorly though, I could not expect that referral source to keep flowing!)
3) They Understand Loyalty
Some people put a lot of energy into ‘protecting’ their clients from being ‘snagged’ by another agent. I have a list of problems with this. Why would any agent put so much work into keeping someone who is so apparently disloyal (clients aren’t objects to be kept on a shelf anyway), when it’s so much easier, efficient, and rewarding to work with people you like and who like you – clients and agents.
Cultivate those relationships, and reap loyalty. (and so much more.)
We need every office to be willing to work with us – to be willing to bring offers and show our houses.
If another agent thinks you’re a pain in the a#$ to work with though, they might just resist showing your houses. They might just try to steer their clients to other options to avoid the unpleasant, sarcastic, snarky-attitude-ridden experience that is meeting with you.
4) Repeat Business. Like… A LOT.
Another huge reason other agents are our best customers is because they can repeatedly write offers on our listings. A buyer or seller will only do business with us once every few years at the most generally, but a realtor can do business with us many times!
Bottom line: We need each other. Let’s act like it.
What do you rely on when life is scary?
Is there anything you can trust?
As a real estate agent, changes in the market or a flood of new agents to the scene can be cause for worry. Competition heightens. Available houses become fewer. Suddenly you find yourself asking, “Will I make it?”
It makes me think of how a bird can perch on the very top of a tree. They park their entire body weight on what, from the ground, looks like a twig. I always think that surely the branch should break beneath their weight.
But the bird is not afraid of the branch breaking.
The bird does not depend on the tree. It depends on its own ability to fly.
As agents, so much is out of our control. The value of a home, the market in general, or how our colleagues treat us can all impact our daily life. There are a heck of a lot of things that are scary about being an agent. High gas prices. Slowing markets. Clients who think you can wave a wand and sell their house. When the number of agents in your area doubles in the space of two years. Spending loads of money on marketing without any guarantee at all of ever getting it back. Bullies. Liars.
But we can’t be scared witless. If we are afraid, it shows we’re relying on those things to make or break us. Which would be a bit like a bird relying on a tree to hold it up.
We can’t rely on externals for our happiness or success.
Well, we can, but we’ll be constantly disappointed and success will evade us.
As real estate agents, our confidence has to come from somewhere else. Our instincts and unique abilities will be with us no matter what circumstance we’re in. It’s those we need to rely on.
Can you be a quick problem solver? Do you have the ability to inspire? Can you adapt?
If the ability is there, the circumstance doesn’t matter as much.
Stop looking at what could happen and start trusting your instincts.
Like the bird, trust in your ability to fly.
In what situation are you relying on external things? How could you start trusting yourself instead?
Sometimes loyalty is a bad idea.
Even to family.
And especially to the neighbor’s uncle’s cousin’s friend.
Like the woman whose loyalty is causing her crippling pain to continue.
She had been seeing a physical therapist to help her with the constant pain she was in. For all the therapy she’d been receiving, her condition was getting worse, not better. There were other therapists who were skilled at treating this very problem.
“Maybe it’s time to try another therapist,” I said.
“Oh! But I can’t do that! I know somebody who works there.”
I let her statement just hang in the air, hoping she’d hear the lunacy of it.
After a moment, I chided with my signature brand of sarcasm.
“Oh. Well, in that case, you’d better just stay in pain.”
She smirked. “Good point.”
I guess she felt like her leaving would mean the therapist would be out of a job.
Which, of course, is totally false.
Loyalty can be a bad idea in real estate too.
Too often people have hired a realtor because their face is on a sign (here’s why that’s a dumb idea) or worse, because their neighbor’s friend’s son is an agent.
Which apparently means you are obligated to hire them.
Let’s just let that hang in the air for a moment so we can hear the lunacy of it.
Imagine this loyalty applied to doctors. Using only doctors who someone knows, regardless of their skill level or expertise, would be stupid.
“Oh, you’re an OBGYN? Perfect. Because I have this heart condition…”
“Oh, this life-saving pill was made by Valeant? Sorry, I only buy from Pfizer because my dad worked there for twenty years.”
Do you hear the lunacy of it?
“Oh, you’re a realtor specializing in rural properties and digital marketing strategy? Sorry, my brother Bob always uses another agent, so I have to too.”
Your loyalty should not be treated so cheaply.
Don’t give it away.
Especially not just because someone thinks you should.
Loyalty is precious and should be earned.
When it’s not earned, it’s treated poorly. Then you get poor results.
What else could you expect from a doctor not skilled in your area of need? From a therapist that can’t help you? Please, at least find out about the services a real estate agent offers before you make a decision on who you will hire to represent you.
Make them earn your loyalty.
And if they can’t, they didn’t deserve it in the first place.
It happened again.
They’re coming for me, and they’re coming for you too.
They go out of their way to drive to your place, and lie to your face.
Money. Envy. A burr in their britches. Self-loathing. Ego.
Who is this insidious creature? Allow me to set the scene.
I recently listed the home of a sweet elderly couple I’ve known for most of my life. The kindly gentleman had been my brother’s childhood hockey coach way back when. In my hairdressing days, this man became a loyal customer. When I moved into reflexology, he was my client there too. Now, I get to be this couple’s real estate agent. I’m so honored to serve them, and grateful for their lifetime loyalty. You can’t buy that, you know?
Days after I met with the seller and discussed when to put the For Sale sign in their yard, a vehicle drove onto their driveway.
The visitor was another agent who had heard they were moving, and he had come with an agenda.
“So, you are going to list with Tina Plett?,” the agent had asked.
“I was just wondering why you wouldn’t choose a local agent…?”
My client, who was confused by this sudden confrontation about his personal choice, replied, “Tina is as local as it gets!”
The agent left, the mission apparently fulfilled. The goal had simply been to undermine me without provocation, even if it meant being confrontational with a sweet elderly couple.
The weird thing about it though, is not that it’s ridiculous, given that I was born in Steinbach, have lived and worked in Steinbach for most of my life and still do. The weird thing is also not that I have listed in and around Steinbach for years, nor is it that I have life-long relationships with several of my clients.
The weirdest part is not even that this undermining tactic keeps happening, or that the very agents who confront elderly couples in order to win some imaginary pissing match also list in multiple towns.
No. The weirdest part is that they think it’s necessary.
Is it that my success is intimidating to people? (Strong women everywhere will know this feeling well) And apparently this intimidation causes them to dive desperately into aggressive behaviour, and they’re okay with whomever that hurts, even if it is gentle elderly couples.
As usual, all I can really do about it is let you, the reader, know this is happening.
Then you will not be shaken by cowardly egomaniacs in suits who come a- knocking to intimidate you. Or perhaps they will try to steal a paycheck from me and use you to do it.
You will also know that they offer only lies.(Well, that and a willingness to intimidate innocent citizens like single moms and elderly couples if that’s what they feel like doing.)
And, most encouraging, you will also know that what I’m doing – my transparency, integrity, forward-thinking tech savvy, and kick-ass marketing – is working, and they want a piece of it.
So take heart, we’re on the right track…
Real Estate is a weird industry. Lots happens that would never fly in another industry. If we were all pizza delivery guys for example, the frequent yet acceptable peeve-offs would just not happen.
3 Things That Would Never Happen If We Delivered Pizzas:
1. Last Minute Cancellations
We have been summoned, and in a hurry. We pack our box, load the car, and race off. We dart through traffic, shake a fist at every red light, and hurriedly make our way there. We arrive, tires screeching, only to see another pizza delivery car parked in the drive. Confused, we phone the one who summoned us, to hear, “Oh. Yeah. Umm… I decided to get a pizza from somewhere else. I hope you don’t mind.” Yes. Yes, I mind.
2. Multiple Price Checks
While manning the phone between deliveries, a call comes in from someone with a low, drawling voice – not unlike Rocky – asking, “Yo. How much for uh – an extra large?” We quote, he hangs up.
Every two minutes thereafter, low and drawling calls back with a new question. “Yo – how about two larges?” “But what about three mediums?” “Is there a deal if we get garlic bread?” The poor man is clearly confused, so naturally – being great at customer service – we ask him how many people he is trying to feed. He assumes we’re prying, and refuses to answer. He continues to call though, for another twenty minutes. He never places an order. (We find out later though, that he is a regular customer of a competing pizza parlour.)
3. The Racey Strategy
A pizza order is placed, but with conditions. “I have ordered two pizzas – one from you, and one from your competition. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to race over here to earn my business. We will then hold a reverse auction on my doorstep. Fastest one with the lowest price wins. Ready? GO!” You resent being treated like a circus animal, but this is how pizza delivery guys are treated, so you dance.
Why this ridiculous behavior is par for the course in the Real Estate industry I may never understand. But maybe, with your help spreading the word, we can put a stop to this craziness.
If you know someone who is a Real Estate agent, please share this with them. At the least, they’ll get a chuckle and not feel alone. But they might also share it with their readers and maybe – just maybe – we can put an end to the Mission Impossibles and the Rocky’s who would have us jump through hoops like dolphins.
Whatever your business is – even if you deliver pizza – do you have this craziness in your industry? Share a story! Come on – we know you have some…
Since my childhood, I have always enjoyed competition. Competition is motivating, one way or another. Competition makes us set goals to achieve.
I grew up with brothers and I wanted to throw a baseball, catch, and skate like they did. In the process of practicing catch or skating, we built deep relationships. Competition is engaging!
My mom may have beat me at every rummy game we played, but it was sweet to win a round along the way! Competition can either get you playing your best game or cause you to become destructive!
It is very easy to defeat someone, but it is not easy to win someone!
What is your motivation? Are to trying to beat the competition? OR, Are you trying to win business?
The stories I could tell to confirm my point are unending. It is shameful, the extent people go through to defeat the competition! Regularly, I am told of experiences that are simply wrong. At the end of the day, what you take from others by your manipulative craftiness, will not be as rewarding as the relationships that can be built.
Someone who has earned business by their quality of service, will have repeat clientele and referrals.
Someone who is a bully, will also earn a reputation.
I am committed to excellence. I work for my sellers and buyers and watch them achieve their goals! I see myself as a facilitator. By genuinely caring for people, it is natural to have their best interest at heart.
I want to love my life and feel good about myself at the end of the day!
Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny
This morning, I opened up the door and both of my dogs bounded through the door simultaneously and went side by side down the stairs in synchronized movement.
My little pixie is not intimidated by the size difference between herself and the border collie.
She doesn’t seem to feel less entitled because Ranger lived here before she did.
I am not sure that she is aware that her coat is a different color, or that his bark sounds different from hers.
After all, they are both dogs! Pixie knows, she is a dog.
My epiphany this morning.
I am a REALTOR®. There are other REALTORS®. Some are bigger (produce more than I do). Some have a different coat Color (different logo) than myself. Some have been here long before I got here. All of them have a presentation (bark).
I can go confidently through the door alongside of other REALTORS® and do what I do the way I do it. I too, am not concerned with the differences. I don’t see myself smaller, less able, or less noticeable.
However, like pixie, I know my competitive advantage.
My encouragement to you today is to run, skip and jump along with the big dogs.
Enjoy being in the profession you are. You chose to do what you are doing. Do it well!!!
Learn your strengths and increase in them.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Be more of yourself. There is only one like you.