Elite Agent

Why Trust Will Always Trump Skill

A series of tasks completed consistently over a period of time is what creates the foundation to build your business for success, says Mark McLeod.

I WAS RECENTLY asked about a statement I made where I said that ‘skill’ is highly overrated.

So let’s take it right back and fully understand our industry.

Every industry in the world has a core product. Many argue that McDonald’s core product is hamburgers, but their real core product is time. How often do we duck into McDonald’s for a quick bite? Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why they put drive-thru in all their stores many years ago. Champagne’s core product is celebration. I imagine we can all cast our mind back to the girl in the bubble dress.

Each of these companies or industries has other products, but the development of their core product is integral to their growth.

So what is real estate’s core product? I believe that it’s trust.

If anyone is to fully trust someone, that trust has to be built over time. It’s unfathomable for me to believe that you can build real trust with some tricky dialogue, as I have heard one real estate coach call it.

You could argue that the decline of commission rates and many markets in Australia, where seemingly the tricky dialogue hasn’t worked, is from a lack of development of our core product: trust.

You see, when a vendor calls in multiple agents to the listing presentation, effectively they are saying they don’t trust anyone. So the owners can’t make their decision based on the core product of trust. Instead, they have to go to the next level of decision-making, which is often about fees, marketing and method.

So let’s go back to my original statement. The price you will pay for not focusing on building long-term trust is that you will inevitably be called in more often to an owner’s home, along with multiple opposition agents.

However, if you want to build long-term relationships, provide a genuine service and show empathy and customer centricity to the owner long before they go to choose an agent, there is a high chance you will get called in without competition.

We have a number of agents we have been working with for a long time who are now getting called in to over 70 per cent of their listing presentations unopposed. When they do, skill is nowhere near as important as if you are getting called in with multiple opposition agents.

Let me clarify my opening statement. If you don’t build the structures and processes to build trust, then you will need to have the skill of a surgeon. But for those who take a long-term approach, build foundations and develop their core product of trust as their business grows and matures, then skill becomes less and less important.

Picking up the phone and talking to contacts on your database doesn’t require skill: it requires discipline and understanding. Communicating about what is occurring in one suburb and what is affecting the owner’s home doesn’t require skill, but strategy and thought. Developing an after-sales program and an advocacy program will then develop your referral network. This doesn’t require skill; it requires care and an understanding of the people who have passed through your business.

Skill is probably underrated for many agents. That may be because they don’t fully understand our core product of trust, or because they underestimated the tasks that need to be done to create it.

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