Successful agencies shouldn’t need to talk down the hard-earned reputation of their competitors in a misguided attempt to get ahead, writes Avi Khan.
I was sitting at my computer the other day when I received a Google Review alert.
For those that don’t know about our businesses, we have primarily built our reputation as a result of the excellent service I believe our teams provide to their clients.
As such, reviews and testimonials from our clients and those that have dealt with us are of the utmost importance.
To my disbelief, when I checked the alert, I discovered we had received a one-star review. When we looked into the matter further, we quickly realised the apparent reviewer was not known to any staff member. They have never been a client, never inquired on a property or even visited our premises.
We decided to leave a comment asking the reviewer to get in touch with us. A whole week went by and we received no reply.
In a striking coincidence, the same reviewer had also left a very positive review for one of our competitors. By this point, it seemed safe to assume our “one-star review” was bogus.
What is the best way to respond to this sort of situation?
As Dory from Finding Nemo put it, “When life gets you down, you know what you’ve got to do? Just keep swimming.” So we shrugged it off and moved on.
But it did make me think about the wider ramifications of such actions.
The real estate industry is becoming so unnecessarily combative between agents, brands, and businesses. There seems to be a scorched earth approach from some – don’t build bridges, destroy them as you go.
How can someone motivate their staff if they condone and initiate negative behaviours? In our experience, positivity is the path to productivity.
If you can’t find customers to say good things about you, then surely you should be focusing on self-improvement, rather than trying to drag down the hard-earned reputation of your competitors.
The recruitment space seems to be an area prone to an unnecessary amount of vitriol and we all need to tone down the rhetoric.
Attacking competitors, brands, franchises, and independents sends the wrong message to up-and-coming agents, property managers and administrators.
The real estate profession is already right up there when it comes to least-trusted occupations.
Be fierce but fair
Our businesses and staff abide by the doctrine of “fierce but fair”. We are competitive but we always make sure we compete in a responsible and fair manner.
Not doing so creates a cycle of self-destruction – and the community recognises the negativity and stays away.
There is so much good that can come from working with your competitors and promoting better communities together. It’s an amazing space to operate in.
If you’re not spending your time engaged in petty undermining, you have more time to do good work.
If the industry as a whole looks good, so will all of our individual businesses.
Remember the old adage ‘he or she who slings mud, normally loses ground’. It’s better to keep doing what you’re doing right, work with your competitors and treat them fairly.
At Ray White Marsden and Beenleigh, we look at our competitors as a benchmark to which we measure our strengths and weaknesses – it would be silly not to, as we have some great businesses competing with us in the Logan area.
One important thing to remember is that competition is always healthy, for both our clients and ourselves. Having competitors around should challenge us to push harder, reinvent ourselves and become better at what we do.