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Real Estate Code of Ethics 101: Why Transparency Should Be Every Real Estate Agent's Core Competency

Being transparent with clients is not always easy. Real estate agents are often guilty of taking alternative actions that, while offering short term relief from fear and discomfort, do very little towards the long term relationships that are so valuable to our livelihoods!

Some of the most important opportunities to be transparent come when things get a little awkward; when you’ve made a mistake, or when you have bad news for a client, or when you know a prospect is out ‘shopping around’ and you’re not the most affordable option.  

But one thing is always true—agents who hide from their mistakes, or become defensive about online reviews, or shy away from talks about commissions and pay—these agents almost always lose out on opportunities in the end. In fact, when mastered, a tactful display of transparency can earn years of customer loyalty, trust...and more referrals!  And, by the way, if you think delivering bad news is hard, just be glad you're not a medical professional!

Here are some typical scenarios where transparency will always win among the tactful agents!

Transparency and Online Reviews

come-and-try-the-worst-pizza-one-guy-on-trip-25121023We all hope for raving 5 star reviews. But ultimately, whether your fault or not, one of your clients is bound to publish a public-facing nastygram about how you’ve done them wrong, ruined their life, or worse!

But remember, we’re talking about a public-facing platform! No matter how nasty the reviewer is in their rant, the outcome really depends on how you respond. You could reply with an equally nasty or defensive response...or with a kind, well-spoken, and empathetic explanation!

The great news is that anyone who gets nasty in a public forum always has the disadvantage. An educated response is far more likely to resolve further ill-will, and onlookers will identify you as an upstanding professional with whom they’d love to do business.

Bonus tip: NEVER be shy about asking for online reviews. The more you ask, the more you’ll get, and even the less-than-great reviews present valuable opportunities to demonstrate professionalism.

Transparency and Pricing

Where some agents will try to be more competitive by negotiating their commission, others might feel that their expertise is worth staying firm. But if you are among the agents who prefer not to budge, the worst thing you can do is be shy about it. Make it clear that you don’t negotiate on pricing, be prepared to explain WHY you’re the best option that a seller could go with, and be up front with what your prospects might find. This is an important lesson we learned from mortgage broker and real estate coach Dave Behr in a recent podcast.

Transparency When You’ve Goofed

There are a lot of moving pieces in this business, and if you’ve never made a mistake that put you in an embarrassing situation, then you haven’t been in practice long enough. When you've been neglectful in the processes and communications that affect the outcome of a transaction, it may be tempting to blame someone else in order to protect your reputation. But it’s always better to be honest, face your fears, and pick up the phone and admit you’ve made a mistake.

Facing our fears of negative consequences is in fact one of the hardest lessons to master in life itself. But the more we’re able to look those fears straight in the eye, the easier life suddenly becomes. This famous quote (from an unknown author) certainly rings true:

“It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us”.

And as a general rule, the greater the impact of your mistake, the greater the response it warrants; don’t send a “sorry” text if your mistake caused a transaction to fail! Send over a bottle of wine and pick up the phone with your most sincere admission and apology!

Honesty is TRULY the best policy.

Transparency is an art, a social skill, and a relationship tactic that can never be replaced by anything else. Being truthful and transparent earns trust, loyalty, and long-term relationships that will never compare to otherwise short term gains.

As your CRM, Realvolve always pledges to carry on the same tradition. We’re not perfect, but we’re honest and we strive for perfection in all that we do! If you believe in transparency, spread the word; please “like” and share this post!


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