In the recent blogs, I’ve discussed what I believe are the three important traits to succeed in the ‘new normal’. Here’s the third:

Inspire Trust

You can’t sell anything of value to anyone without inspiring trust in them. (Well, maybe a set of $19.95 knives…) We have a serious breakdown of trust between us and the client today.  Take a look at the California Association of Realtors’ survey of buyers in 2009. See how the ‘overall satisfaction’ rating plummeted in just six years:

Yes, I know that was a difficult time. Lack of control over short sales and foreclosures certainly contributes to that low rating. Yet, buyers don’t buy every day. The ‘taste in their mouths’ will last for a long time, if we don’t do something differently.

Would You Go Back?

If you had rated a service person as a ‘4’ out of 100, would you go back to that person, or even that particular service again, and pay a fee? I think not.

For your own internal review on how to inspire trust, click here.

What We Need to Do to Re-Inspire Trust

First, recognize trust in us has eroded greatly. Then, set about specific actions to re-establish trust with your would-be and present clients.

One method: Survey frequently and regularly to find out how we’re doing. Stefan Swanepoel, in his Trends Report 2010, says,

Consumers are now looking much harder at “proof of experience” in the form of comments from past clients.

Want to see what consumers think of real estate agents’ service? Check out

A Huge Trend: Consumers Tell the World What They Think of Us

On these sites: You will see the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. With the proliferation of social networking channels, consumers easily can tell everyone in the world what they think of a particular agent (and the company, of course).

We can run, but, we can’t hide any longer.

Action plan: If you’re not surveying regularly now, you must start. And, you must survey more than just at closing. Survey at important points of contact, like after the first appointment, at the sale negotiation, etc. If you find an area that needs fixing, fix it fast! You will get many, many more referrals that way. Remember, it takes 6-9 times more marketing money to get a new customer than to keep an old one. This is the era of the referral—not the ‘next’ type of old-style business.

New Normal Actions Put You Ahead in 2011

It’s pretty simple, really. In fact, all great ideas are simple. They’re just difficult to execute. So, here’s what you need to put in your business plan:

  1. Become an early adopter. Decide on the 3 things you’re going to do for the first time—the actions that will leverage your business.
  2. Work hard. There has never been a slam-bam, easy-squeezy way to be successful—at anything (I know that, as a musician). Accept that working hard gets you where you want to go. And, commit now.
  3. Re-inspire trust. People are looking for someone they can count on. We’re in a ‘personal service’ business. That’s what we have to offer that is invaluable. Develop, nurture, and value your trust quotient.

If you’re reading this as a seasoned agent, you may say, “I’ve heard it all before’. If so, take heed to what the greatest basketball coach in history said,

“It’s what we learn after we know it all that counts.”      John Wooden.

Take a fresh look at how you do business. Re-commit to excellence and mastery, and you will have re-vitalized your career.