Getting to the Core — An Agent’s Areas of Value

It’s hard to believe, but at one point in time, ordering a lobster at a restaurant would turn heads. Not because of an ambiguous “market price,” but because it was considered a “poverty-food” that people ate in desperate times. Everyone thought it was better to toss it in the trash than to toss it in your mouth. It wasn't until train travel took off that people began valuing lobster.

With trains becoming more and more popular, the need to feed passengers grew, and with it, so did the need for canned foods. At some point, someone realized that lobster was cheap and that it could be preserved. Someone also realized that if you didn't know what it was, you might think it tasted alright. It was a perfect fit for trains filled with hungry people who had never visited the northeast. As a result, canning companies began selling lobster to hungry well-to-do passengers. And with its newfound popularity, the lobster started its journey from garbage cans, to trains, to five-star restaurants.

Throughout that journey, the way a lobster tastes never changed. Neither did the pangs of hunger. What did change was that something valuable was finally paired with people who valued it.

Here’s the hard truth: value is in the eye of the beholder. The challenge for all businesses is they must explain and demonstrate the value they give so well that people agree to their price before they experience it. That’s especially important in real estate because the value you give determines the value you get. In other words, how well you service your clients will affect your earnings.

There are five ways in which real estate agents present and deliver their value that should be their core focus when working with clients, which are shown in the following figure:

Figure from Keller Williams' Value2 Presentation

If you can articulate how you will deliver in these areas, and then follow through on your promises, you will successfully demonstrate your value as a real estate agent and ultimately earn the income you desire.

1. Establish and Build Trust

Solid relationships are built on trust. This includes romantic relationships, familial relationships, and even work relationships. Scientist and author Paul J. Zak conducted a study which showed that, compared with employees who worked at companies where they felt there was “low trust,” people who worked at “high-trust companies” had 74 percent less stress, 29 percent more satisfaction with their lives, 50 percent higher productivity, and so on. When trust is present, both sides of the relationship benefit.

Establishing and building trust is about setting expectations that you can follow through on. It is the first step in opening the door to all the value you provide. When you demonstrate knowledge, show your skills, and lead with your experience, you build trust with your clients.

And remember, while you’re a professional, you’re also a person. Build a foundation on empathy, competency, transparency, and dependability above all else. If you don’t know the answer to a question, be forthcoming. If you make a mistake, walk through it with your clients and assure them you’ll find a solution. If you have a moment of time where you won’t be able to take phone calls, let them know in advance. Trust can be broken at any time during a transaction. The best thing you can do is make sure it remains a cornerstone of your value as an agent.

2. Provide Fiduciary Representation

Like we spoke about in the last KellerINK newsletter, there is a difference between being a functionary agent and a fiduciary agent.

A functionary agent does the tasks, checks the boxes, is reactionary, has a shallow relationship with their client, and is minimally paid. A fiduciary agent not only does the tasks of the job, but is also in a high-trust relationship with their client. They feel totally responsible for the outcome of the transaction and put their clients’ interest above their own. Because of this value, they are also highly paid.

Choosing to be a fiduciary is a core value of an agent who wants to have a solid and successful business. Clients want to work with an agent who uses their best judgement to interpret information and then educate, consult, and guide the to an outcome the agent is accountable to.

3. Provide Core Services

There are different core services an agent needs to provide for the buyer and seller sides of a transaction. For each side, it’s about what you do that makes hiring you a good decision.

For sellers:

Your goal is to net your clients the most amount of money with the fewest number of hassles in the least amount of time. Seller core services generally fall into four stages:

1. Consulting to decision;

2. Marketing the property;

3. Negotiating the contract; and

4. Closing the sale.

For buyers:

Your goal is to find your clients the right property that meets their timing needs and get it at the best prices with the fewest number of hassles. Buyer core services generally fall into five stages:

1. Consulting to decision;

2. Searching for properties;

3. Finding the house;

4. Negotiating the contract; and

5. Closing the sale.

By outlining what you do and following through on your commitment to your buyer and seller core services, you are building trust and demonstrating your value.

4. Deliver Client Experience

Your core services are all about what you do, and your client experiences are about how you do it. It’s the impression your client formed through every interaction during their transaction journey, and it focuses on three areas: what happened on the journey, what they think about it, and how they feel about it.

Every real estate agent likes to do things a little differently. Designing your client experience is where your value proposition and personality gets to shine. But one thing to keep in mind is that clients tend to experience you in three ways throughout their journey:

1. How you appear;

2. How you act; and

3. How you communicate and interact.

Make sure that how you are showing up is a true reflection of who you are as a business and a person.

5. Surprise and Delight

This last core value is the cherry on top of the agent sundae. The agents that deliver the best experiences build surprise and delight into those experiences. It’s what makes them extra special and memorable — aka get the best reviews, ratings, and referrals.

Think of something special to you and your business that you would like to provide your clients and make you stand out. This doesn’t have to be a fancy gift you give at closing, but it should be a thoughtful or personal gesture you provide to your clients at some point in the transaction. It’s quite literally “surprising” and “delightful.”

When you can outline your core values as an agent, present them to your clients, make a promise to deliver on them, and then follow through, you’ve shown that you not only bring value but that you are valuable.

What is an important part of your core values as an agent? Let us know on our Facebook page. 

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