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Good vs. Evil – Real Estate Agents in Public Perception

May 05 2013

p2 angel devilIt turns out that not everyone loves real estate agents as much as the team here at Point2 does. A recent Google-ing of "bad real estate agents" returned over 97 million results – pages with titles like Why You Can't Trust Real Estate Agents and 8 Signs You Need to Break Up with Your Agent.

Ouch. Sometimes skewed public perceptions sting a little. But, when courting new business, it's always good to know what you're up against.

Sure, there are probably some crummy agents out there that give the profession a bad rap, but you're one of the good ones! The thing is: how does a prospect visiting your website or walking into your office for the first time know that they can trust you? He or she will be looking for signs that you're either good or evil (slight exaggeration, but you get where we're going with this).

In the interest of helping you seal the deal with more new clients, we've compiled a list of the top six complaints about real estate agents and paired them with actionable strategies to combat these misconceptions. We've also paired them with actual complaints we came across on the internet.

1. Unresponsive
"Like others I could go on for a while, but here's my biggest pet peeve with agents: Answer your phone!!"

Start off on the right foot by responding to all new prospects ASAP. When you meet or talk with them next, establish realistic communications expectations from the get-go. Ask them how they prefer to be contacted – whether via phone, text, email or some combination of the three – and provide a reasonable timeline so they know when they can anticipate a response from you. Hint: anything over 24 hours is unacceptable.

2. Doesn't Listen
"How can I make my REALTOR® listen to me? I appreciate my REALTOR®'s requests and advice, but I cannot afford to remodel my home the way she wants."

Ask potential clients open-ended questions that begin with who, what, why, where or how. When they respond, repeat key phrases back to them to let them know they're being heard. If you want to suggest something that is above your client's stated budget, make sure to say that it's just an idea. If they're not comfortable with the direction you're going, let it go.

3. Inexperienced
"... My agent might be too inexperienced for me to feel comfortable with him."

You can easily avoid being labeled as inexperienced from the beginning by adding testimonials and sales data to your website. Be sure to include information like listings sold in the last year, average time on the market, average sales to asking price ratio etc. If you are new to real estate, and truly inexperienced, promote the statistics of your brokerage and mention that you enjoy being part of a successful team.

4. Unprofessional
"We have problems with REALTORS® not showing up for appointments or arriving several hours late."

This is a chronic complaint within the industry because consumers do not realize how quickly real estate agents' schedules can change. For example, if you're taking a home tour with a client and he/she falls in love with a house, you are likely to stop that minute and write an offer, delaying all other appointments. The key is to use your phone to stay in touch with your other appointments and contacts, so they're not left in the dark. Even a quick text message is better than nothing!

5. Lazy
"Most REALTORS® don't want to put any work in to earn their commissions beyond opening doors and walking through houses."

This is simply not true, but many first-time buyers have no idea how much work goes on behind the scenes. Prepare two lists that highlight your services, one that details the services you provide to buyers and one that shows what you do for sellers. Post these on your website and discuss them in-depth at your first meeting. Click hereClick here to see an extensive list of potential REALTOR® services that will help you draft your own.

6. Unethical
"My real estate agent knew there was a discrepancy regarding the square footage of the home, and he purposefully did not disclose the discrepancy to us, the buyers."

Don't let a few rotten apples spoil the bag. The best way to show leads that you're trustworthy is to share testimonials, client stories and recommendations from other business professionals. Shady people usually don't have a large network of support. Show prospects that you do (and that you have nothing to hide) by inviting them to follow you on social media. If you have received any local or industry awards or work with any charities, put that information in a prominent spot on your site and in your office, too.

As they say, the best offense is a good defense. If you're aware of client's potential concerns, you can use these tips to address them before they even materialize. And just so you don't think everything is doom and gloom for real estate pros out there, here's a little feel-good newsfeel-good news.

What misconceptions about real estate agents have you come across during your time in the industry? Do you think any of these are merited?

To view the original article, visit the Point2 Agent blogPoint2 Agent blog.