Joe Mann, Managing Broker of Windermere Valley, Inc., a real estate brokerage firm in Spokane, Washington, wrote with the following question:
Bob, I am hosting “brown bag” lunches in my real estate office in which I guide the discussion about principles from your and John David Mann’s book, The Go-Giver. We spend a lot of time talking about building a database of people who will send referrals to us. One of our veteran brokers brought up the issue that establishing and nurturing relationships feels like “lying to oneself” if we don’t acknowledge that we are doing it to further our real estate business.
Our discussion has been that if we can let go of our emotional attachment to the outcome, doing those things that are necessary to build a business becomes less fearful.
My contention and experience has been that if we get the focus off ourselves and onto adding value to the client/prospect’s experience, it becomes easier to pick up the phone and call; or to stop by and see them. However, this agent has problems with the issue that, ultimately, we want their business or referral. Thus, it is disingenuous to focus only on the relationship. Many of these people, he says, he would not have any relationship with except for the potential for them to help grow his business.
How can we answer that?
I appreciate your question, and I also appreciate your broker expressing concern about not being authentic. It shows that he is…authentic. 🙂
Fortunately, so are you and all who understand that there is nothing inauthentic about adding exceptional value over time to a person (cultivating a relationship), knowing that should that person choose to recommend and refer others, that’s a terrific outcome.
When he says that he wouldn’t have any relationship with them other than to grow his business … that is the truth, and does not make providing value to them any less authentic.
Let’s address his concern: “establishing and nurturing relationships feels like ‘lying to oneself’ if we don’t acknowledge that we are doing it to further our real estate business.”
Why wouldn’t we acknowledge to ourselves that we are doing it to further our real estate business? Business is about providing exceptional value to the lives of many people. Whether he would have relationships with them if not in real estate doesn’t really matter. A professional Realtor’s® job is to find people to serve with exceptional value. This, through cultivating a business relationship with them. Most people appreciate that.
By the way, if one of his prospective customers, clients and/or referral sources asks him why he is “trying to build a relationship” (of course, that won’t happen, but if it does) he can very truthfully say, “I find the best way to earn the trust of those who provide me with referrals is to focus on relationships; not transactions.”
In other words, to think that you are either doing this to earn a living OR add value to another is what John and I call the “treacherous dichotomy.” This is defined as the unnecessary use of the word “or.”
So, what I’m saying, Joe, is that, while I certainly respect your broker’s feelings about this – and he has the right to feel that way if he so chooses – I believe that if he will shift his focus and recognize that providing value to others is always a good thing, he’ll see that this is an excellent and benevolent way for him to conduct business.
Thank you so much for writing, and for using The Go-Giver as the point of discussion for your “brown bag” lunch meetings. I’m honored!