Every year new polls are released that list the public perception of the most and least respected professions. Every year, firefighters and doctors typically lead the list. And every year, real estate agents rank near or at the bottom in poll after poll. It’s no secret real estate has a reputation problem, it’s cliche at this point.
What causes this? There’s only one answer. It is the poor performance of a segment of the real estate agents and brokers large enough to sway public opinion. Every real estate agent I’ve ever met can tell countless stories of agents who they felt were simply unqualified to manage a real estate transaction, used deceptive techniques to secure deals or who provided poor customer service to their clients. The reputation of the entire industry is negatively impacted.
“What gets measured, gets managed.” – Peter Drucker
If you do a google search on “real estate reuptation management” you will find that the conversation around reputation management is squarely centered around “online.” The headlines range from digital & SEO strategies to owning your digital real estate to ways to monitor your online reputation. The advice given is great for dealing with a problem once it hits the Internet. But the best way to manage your reputation is to make sure you deal with problems before they hit the Internet.
I had an old business partner who used to throw out a variation on Peter Drucker’s measurement mantra. He said, “Behaviors that don’t get measured, don’t get changed.” So he measured every behavior that could be a driver for our business. Soon, we could see that patterns that were taking us in directions we didn’t want to go.
What amazes me is that while the reputation problem in real estate is well known, very few brokers appear to be effectively managing their own reputations. There have been few, if any, systems put in place to collect and analyze data around agent performance in the marketplace. There are attempts to capture and showcase positive feedback, for marketing purposes, but few ways to identify and elevate negative feedback, to deal with it, internally and externally, before it becomes a reputation issue.
Real estate’s tarnished reputation is not going to improve until brokers and agents put in place systems to measure customer satisfaction that provide the measurement tools necessary to understand who or what needs to be fixed.
If you’re not measuring your reputation, you’re not managing it. Are you?