LOL (Really? Yes. *sigh*)
Whenever I interview a real estate professional currently working with one of our competitors, the first question I almost always ask is this: “What are the mission statement and core values of your current company?”
Well over 90% of the time, I get laughter.
They actually, literally, laugh out loud.
I have never, ever, NOT ONE, SINGLE, SOLITARY TIME – NOT ONCE! – actually had an agent answer that question with a straight face.
You can draw your own conclusions as to the implications of that previous sentence.
In the interest of keeping this post under 1,000 words, I’ll stop there and move on to my real points.
First, a company without a vision is like a ship without a rudder. Brokers and agents cannot be on the same page unless there IS a page.
Second, because of the transitory, fragmented nature of real estate (that is, brokers and agents typically don’t spend 40 hours a week working in the same physical space, and that trend is only going to intensify over time as offices get smaller – out of financial necessity and simple logic – and as agents become more and more mobile because of rapidly evolving-and-empowering technologies), the vision must be constantly repeated and reinforced wherever and whenever possible.
Third, the vision must line up with the branding concept and the actual “purpose” of the company. At Professional One, we are building a true “professional services firm” analogous to a top-tier law firm or CPA firm. That being the case, our Mission Statements and Core Values obviously MUST reinforce that vision and that purpose. Here are our Mission Statements and Core Values, which I wrote several years ago when we first started thinking seriously about building our brand:
- To provide the highest level of professional service, and to achieve the highest rates of client retention and customer satisfaction, in the real estate industry. Stated more simply, to be the best and to never settle for less.
- To help Realtors reach their potential as real estate professionals.
- Demonstrate uncompromising integrity in all things at all times. No exceptions, ever. Our collective organizational reputation is our single most valuable asset.
- Our clients’ interests supersede our interests.
- Practice the “Golden Rule” with respect to everyone at all times: our clients, other agents, other agents’ clients and the general public. Always treat everyone the way you would want to be treated. Make your enemy your friend.
- Under-promise and over-deliver. Not some of the time. ALL of the time.
- Never be satisfied with mediocrity. Never stop improving, learning and growing. Know your weaknesses and work hard to overcome them.
- Demonstrate professionalism in all things at all times. Lead by example and strive to elevate those around you with your complete commitment to excellence.
- Focus on the client and the dollars will come; focus on the dollars and the client will not return.
- Attitude is everything. Positive thinking produces positive results.
- The long view is the ONLY view. Always base decisions on the long-term implications of your every action.
- YOU are the ultimate determinant of your level of success in this industry.
As we move forward into the future, and as many of the larger, long-established brands continue to falter, brokers and agents across the landscape WILL start to realize that a new era in real estate is truly upon us.
Consumers are MUCH more savvy and they recognize that our industry is in an unprecedented period of flux, turmoil, transition and change.
Given the embarrassingly low ratings of our industry in the Harris Poll about professionalism, we believe that it is in your best interest to align yourself with a brand that truly separates itself from “the way it’s always been done” in real estate and which leverages the public’s hunger for true, legitimate professionalism.
One of our agents, Brian Wines (formerly a member of the #1 top-producing Coldwell Banker real estate team in Michigan), had this to say about the impact of a branding strategy and a vision based on professionalism:
My clients have been completely, unequivocally accepting of my switch to Professional One. I simply explain our concept – professionalism, excellence, guaranteed services, like a law firm or accounting firm, etc. – and they just GET IT. What I see and feel is that the research on the public’s dissatisfaction with the status quo in real estate – as borne out by recent studies showing how poorly Realtors are perceived – is probably accurate.
As a final comment, I believe it is imperative to align yourself with a brand that matches YOU personally.
I worked at several of the big, national brands before I founded and created Professional One, and I just never fit in.
I never felt good about working at a 300 agent office where only 30 of the agents were real professionals.
Or a company where the only goal was sales – at any cost, with no regard for client service or satisfaction – and where money was the ONLY motivator.
Or a company that could have been the poster child for the “any warm body will do” philosophy of agent recruitment that is now coming back to kill what’s left of the reputation of our industry.
I knew the public deserved better, the industry deserved better…and I knew that I deserved better.
And I know that YOU do, too.
Now stop laughing and get back to work…