Quantity of Sales or Quality of Service
A few more thoughts on a recent column I wrote, suggesting it was time to stop giving out silly production awards to Realtors. The ones that flaunt dubious metrics and glorify outmoded stereotypes rather than the industry’s highest standards.
In a social media world where half-truths are constantly being curated and sold back to people as clickbait, we should declare a moratorium on self-congratulatory ads paid for by Agents and Brokerages. And all accolades proclaiming anyone BEST / MOST / HIGHEST in anything having to do with quantity of sales rather than the quality of service.
An apt analogy might be: Confusing McDonalds with being a great restaurant just because it has surpassed more than a billion burgers sold! Instead, let’s invent new ways to promote excellence and redefine the transactional relationship between brokerages, agents, buyers and sellers. If we don’t focus on the actual value(s) we bring to the table, Realtors will eventually fall victim to their own hype at the same time traditional brokerages fall by the digital wayside.
The challenge goes back to the identity problem Realtors have always struggled with. Are we super-salespeople? Or are we trusted fiduciaries (dedicated to placing buyers and sellers interests ahead of our own)?
Are our customers really clients? Or are our clients really customers? Is this a “trade”? Or is it an actual profession? Or is it both? Two seemingly incompatible roles married together in a precarious union that requires the Wisdom of Solomon to pull it all off on a daily basis? Depending on who you talk to, the answers vary dramatically and flip-flop back and forth with regularity.
These days, Buyer-loyalty to their Agents is at an all-time low. It is common for desperate Buyers to solicit listing agents directly to represent them. Even though it’s hard to imagine anyone would argue that dual-agency is a wise idea.
Why is it happening? Because Buyers don’t understand the value of Agents, Or they think they can get a property for less if they cut them out. Or they think all Buyer’s Agents are just trying to make a sale. So they willingly choose to abdicate their own best interests by appealing to a listing agent’s greed (because they too, the theory goes, just want to make a sale!)
This is one of the ways that “trusted advisor” gets tossed aside by the fear and greed of a heated marketplace. And just another example of the negative feedback loop that’s been created by the real estate industry’s over-emphasis on sales. When in doubt, people revert back to the reigning stereotype – it’s all about those sales numbers!