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What About Trust?

March 23, 2010

Submitted by Mike Terry of Connect Realty Charlotte, NC


When is the last time you bought a half-gallon of ice cream? Do you know?

Over the years, ice cream producers have decreased the half-gallon (64 ounce) carton to a 56-ounce and now a 48-ounce carton.  That is a 25% decrease from the original carton.  To make matters worse, it seems, not only have cartons shrunk in size but they’ve also increased in price.  They make me feel cheated. I don’t trust them anymore.

What is the first thought people have about you when you tell them you are a real estate broker?  I am sure it’s something like, “I can trust this guy with my last dollar.” Right?  Well, it should be.

Did you ever wonder why real estate brokers were dead last in the 2009 Harris Poll about occupational prestige?  Real estate brokers are quite literally behind everyone including lawyers, accountants, stockbrokers, Members of Congress, bankers and Union Leaders.  Americans see us as having “some prestige or hardly any prestige at all.”

Do you remember the real estate brokers of the “good times”? Their “T to T” work schedule (Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 to 2); their too-busy-to-talk-to-you attitude; their “I am the most important part of this deal” mind-set. That ship has sailed.

Let’s talk about that trust factor again.

Trust is an unseen ally that takes a lifetime to build and can become your enemy in the blink of an eye. All relationships, both personal and in business, are built on trust. Real estate has always been a relationship industry in which trust can never be taken for granted. Could this be why people quit trusting their real estate broker?

Did you ever wonder why?  Did you care?  Let’s look at another company that is going to have an uphill battle with trust: Toyota.

Toyota is trying to market its way out of people feeling betrayed by a company.  Will that work?  When you have a full cast of attorneys and lobbyists on your side your message will get out but will it create trust? Doubtful. Time (or a very bad memory) is the key element in building trust not the words of a lawyer or an advertisement.

Buyers and sellers have trusted real estate brokers for years with the largest purchase or sell of their entire lives. They trusted these brokers to look after their assets. How did we do?

In the “good years”, a broker made 3% to 3.5% on a $500,000 sale and did not even speak to the buyers or sellers after the dust had settled.  Would you trust a person like that?  Now they are calling back and telling the same people that they love referrals and “don’t forget I help people buy, sell and invest in real estate!” Think ice cream…

Blue Bell is still a half gallon… SOURCE

Will Rogers told us long ago that if a cat sits on a hot stove they will never sit on a stove again.

If you’ve stayed in real estate until now, you’re probably here for the long haul. It is time for you to create that bridge of trust to your former and new clients by acting like a person not a broker.

Why does trust matter? To sustain your real estate career, you need the trust of your clients. You have to earn it by showing them that you are a real person looking out for their best interest.

Once you learn to give without holding out your hand, you will earn trust. Provide for your clients first. Create trust in the way you market, your website, your social media, and your mailings. Own up to your mistakes. Put your client first and they will put you first.

Mike Terry is a broker with Connect Realty in Charlotte, NC. Contact Mike:
Office phone: (704)361-7027
Cell phone: (704)361-7027

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2010 9:13 pm

    Mike, great post! At first I was thinking…”I trust that I don’t NEED that extra 25% of ice cream!” lol But then I really thought about it and it does irritate me! It happened right under our nose and we didn’t even feel it happening.

    It is a lot like a broker…look they don’t necessarily want to reduce what you’re getting and raise the fees…but what are they to do? Brick & mortar operations are stuck between a rock and a hard place in trying to figure out how to cover rising costs in a down market. It’s got to come from somewhere…and all of the sudden (usually during tax time) an agent looks at the bottom line and is shocked! They never felt it coming.

    One more reason you see the logical evolution in real estate (virtual models with a residual component) thriving in this environment. What excites me more is the vision for what models like Connect and some others (although clearly I think Connect offers the best platform out there) will provide us as the market creeps back up! Exciting times!

    We’ll be fat and happy but not from ice cream ! : )


  2. March 27, 2010 8:42 pm

    Hey Mike!
    I loved your post. It is so important to me to have integrity in my business.
    I want to always be a trustworthy Realtor that genuinely cares about her clients.
    And unlike the fate of the carton of icecream, I want to add more services, and care, than the client bargained for, never less!
    Good job!!


  3. March 27, 2010 8:47 pm

    PS>..Even though I too did not realize the shrinking ice cream conspiracy was occurring, and it is alarming that this type of customer trickery is happening, I do agree with Heidi in the fact that I don’t NEED that extra 25% of ice cream. lol Point taken though!! 😀


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