As a word of forewarning, this post is going to sound more like a rant than anything else. Quite frankly, it is, to an extent, just that. You see, I consider myself a professional. As such, I hold others in my field to a similar level of professionalism. Sadly, I find myself let down by my colleagues more and more often these days.
Despite having a multitude of communication options at our disposal and technology making it infinitely easier to communicate with one another, we seem to be failing at doing so in a truly colossal way.
So, I’d like to address professional courtesy for a few minutes, or, particularly, the lack thereof these days. I think a lot can be blamed for it, particularly the number of new and part-time agents, low barriers to entry into the real estate industry, and/or lack of education on how to do the job properly. That being said, none of those really preclude you from just being a decent person. I mean, do you need a class or a test on how to return a phone call or email? If the answer is yes, then you’re not cut out for this. Please leave and go work at the post office. You’ll fit in well there.
You see, when you enter into a transaction as the listing agent, the buyer’s agent becomes the co-op agent, and if you’re the buyer’s agent, then you’re the co-op agent. But enough with those pesky technicalities, let’s focus on the word “co-op”. Not to get all Noah Webster on you here, but co-op is short for cooperative.
Cooperative (adj.) – Working or acting together willingly for a common purpose or benefit.
Read that again. Let it sink in. You and the other agent owe a duty to your clients to work together to reach the common goal of closing that transaction. In order to work together, there is an inherent need for a level of professional courtesy. Since we’re talking semantics here, let’s understand that professional courtesy requires both the professional part and the courtesy part. I’d love to assume that the professional part goes without saying, but come on, seriously, that would be just as naive as assuming someone could return a phone call, text, email or all of the above.
Regardless, nothing is gained from being unprofessional. You do not bring value to your client by being difficult to work with. You provide no service whatsoever by complicating things through a lack of communication, not knowing what you’re doing but acting like you do, and/or attempting to use your general distastefulness to “negotiate”. Yep, those of us who have been around this long enough can see through that and know that you’re incompetent. You’re not fooling anyone.
Answer your phone. Acknowledge that you’ve received things. Actually speak to your client before you reply with some nonsense, “telephone tough guy” answer. Return emails or texts. If you don’t know something, it doesn’t make you weak or incompetent. It makes you human. Ask for help. Even if an offer is terrible and your client doesn’t want to respond, send an email letting the other agent know that. Understand that losing the transaction means that you’ve failed your client through your inability to do your job. Know what your job is and then go do your damn job.
Be professional. Be courteous. It’s not that hard.