We’re all the familiar with the NAR Code of Ethics. This document, first drafted in 1913, guides agents in their dealings with the public, their clients, and other Realtors. Updated consistently, it also reflects the level of commitment, education and dedication to the profession that each member of NAR pledges to possess.
In describing the duties that we have to fellow our agents, Article 15 of the code states that “Realtors® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices”. I’d like to go further and say this should be the bare minimum. Not only should we be careful to avoid being negative or slanderous, but also eager to support, encourage, and share best practices. Why? Because by doing so those we serve will experience a more satisfactory outcome and our industry will become more highly regarded and respected.
Just a few years back I was training a group of rookies, stressing to them the importance of being familiar with as much available inventory as possible. I assigned them the task of previewing 5 homes, with explicit instructions to immediately provide helpful, courteous, and well written feedback to the listing agent, even before it was requested.
I was not prepared for the call I received the next morning from a manager supervising one of the students. “I understand you told Mary to preview homes and provide written feedback.” she said. “Yes. She needs to learn the inventory and establish good professional communication with her fellow agents in the field.” I replied. Her response? “Absolutely not. She will NOT being doing that. Why in the world would we help another broker sell a house?”
It’s rare for me to be at a loss for words, but for a moment, I was stunned silent. Then I could feel my face get hot and steam start to come out of my ears. I took a deep breath.
“Let me tell you why we should help another broker sell a house. Feedback leads to improvements that help a home sell. When homes start selling faster, urgency increases, prices even increase, buyers buy and sellers sell and that’s a win-win...and furthermore...wouldn’t you hope someone would do the same for your agents?” I didn’t stop there. “What do you think the public assumes we mean when we say we cooperate?”
I hope this little story has made you think “wow” instead of “what’s the big deal?” There are many ways in which we can demonstrate being one of the nice guys and certainly many, many benefits. It starts with the little things - extend courtesy and be responsive. Return phone calls and emails in a timely manner. Be objective and helpful, not a condescending jerk. Provide suggestions and ideas, especially to the rookies who are so hungry for information. Show up when invited or asked. Offer a shadow opportunity or to role play to help another increase their confidence and competence. Share a tool or resource that is working for you.
Will doing any of these things give someone a competitive advantage over you? No - but it seems that many agents think that! A scarcity mindset is a primary reason for someone being stingy with their time or solutions. Think abundance instead. Understand that when one agent gets better, it reflects collectively on all of us, and that is a very good thing.
Your use of Relola is a way of contributing in a strong and positive way to your market and your industry. The insights you publish create interest and enthusiasm, which translates into activity and results. You’re providing great benefit for sellers, house hunters, other agents, and for yourself. If you haven’t incorporated this powerful tool into your business model, why not get started today?
When you are one of the nice guys in real estate:
- You’ll have more pride in your profession and in those who work in it. The reality is that sometimes we see that shortcuts have been taken, work performed is sloppy, and attitudes are poor. If you model great habits and behavior it’s likely to have a ripple effect. Assume that many just need someone great to emulate, and be that wonderful example.
- You’ll better advance the interests of your sellers. The things we may hope to have other agents help us with - feedback, attendance at opens, transactional information, etc. will come only if you are the agent who consistently and enthusiastically offers it first.
- You’ll be in a better position to help your buyers achieve their goals. Imagine a multiple offer situation where the terms are nearly identical. Which offer is the one most likely to be chosen? Could it be the one presented by the agent known by others for being professional, responsive, and easy to work with? You’re never serving the client’s best interests when you’re an aggressive, difficult bully; in fact, you’re likely to lose business as a result. Think bigger and broader and be nice!
- You’re likely to earn referrals from other agents. Some will leave the business, some will wind down, some will pass on an opportunity that falls outside their area of expertise. If you are one of the good guys who has built relationships and trust, you’ll be the first agent considered when the need for a referral arises. Think long term, people!
- You’ll find it easier to build your team or brokerage. So many tell me that their plans for the future include building a successful, cohesive team. If this is something you are considering, keep in mind that you’ll not only be called upon to lead, but to recruit. Your reputation - for production and courtesy - will most definitely be a factor in an agent’s decision to join you. Sow those seeds now to make your team growth easier when the time comes.
Go beyond the Code of Ethics, but study the document and commit to the rules and guidelines first. Do you believe you have a full and comprehensive understanding of what the document encompasses and includes? You can take a quiz here to find out.
Beth Incorvati is our Chief Blogger and Podcast Host at Radio Relola. She has been training, motivating, and inspiring real estate professionals for over fifteen years.