An Agent Is Trustworthy: What Scouting Taught Me About Real Estate

An Agent is Trustworthy

“Trustworthy” and “real estate agent” should go hand in hand. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case — I’m sure you know an agent you wouldn’t trust to sell cookies, let alone real estate. That fact is troubling to me. I grew up in the Boy Scouts of America and scouting taught me many life lessons and personal philosophies which have gone on to paint a lot of my adult life.

The first principle of the Scout Law is, “A Scout is Trustworthy.” Trust is an ephemeral thing that is sometimes hard to define the presence of, but easy to notice when it’s lacking. Being trustworthy is an essential part of your real estate business and a lack of trust can be a danger to your continued success and reputation. You can’t afford to let trust be an afterthought in your business.

A Lack of Trust Is a Big Threat

A lack of Trust

Workman Success Systems recently partnered with Sisu and commissioned a national study on real estate teams. The study revealed many important insights into teams in the real estate industry. Among those insights was the revelation that among the top three biggest threats to cohesion and success on a real estate team is a lack of trust among its members.

Patrick Lencioni lists “Absence of Trust” as the first dysfunction of a team in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. He wrote, “Trust lies at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team. Without it, teamwork is all but impossible.” A lack of trust will undermine the work your team performs, the communication between members, and the effectiveness of any and all client interactions.

To Be Worthy of Trust

Being trusted is a big piece of the puzzle.

I like the word “trustworthy.” It speaks to someone who has earned trust; someone who is worthy of being trusted. This notion needs to be at the heart of your client interactions. If you aren’t viewed as worthy of trust, no one in their right mind would allow you to sell their home or represent them as a buyer’s agent. Building trust with your customers quickly and becoming truly trustworthy is necessary for your success in real estate.

As a teenager, I had a curfew. On a Friday night, I was expected to be home before midnight. This was a known standard in my family and one I followed strictly. One notable exception comes to mind from a Friday night when I was out with a friend to see a movie. Over the years, I’ve forgotten what my friend and I watched that night, but I remember the lesson. When we got out of the theater and to his car, we found that his engine wouldn’t turn over. It was around 11:45 at night, and we were stranded.

Of course, I called my dad. When he answered, I said that I wasn’t going to make curfew that night and explained why. There was no third-degree from the other end of the phone and no sign that he thought I might not be telling him the truth. We were two 17-year-old boys with some knowledge of cars stuck in a parking lot in a populated part of our safe and sleepy town, so there was also no real worry. He asked if I needed a ride and I told him that I’d rather help my friend with his car as I felt, between the two of us, we could get it running. He said that sounded fine and to let him know if we needed anything else.

I rolled into the house that night well after 1:30 in the morning. The moral of the story to me was not the lack of concern my father had for my being out past curfew, but that he trusted my account of things so fully that there was no worry that I was just off being irresponsible. An unforeseen circumstance required the flexibility of a rule — and that was fine, not just because it had to be, but because I’d banked a lot of trust in our relationship prior to this event. He knew I was dealing straight with him and knew he didn’t need to worry.

A real estate agent is trustworthy — or should be. If a strange circumstance comes up during the buying or selling of a home, will your client trust your word and your ability to deal with it? Have you banked that amount of trust with them? The unexpected or unfortunate is sure to happen at some point. If you haven’t laid the groundwork for your clients to trust you, your deal might not weather what comes up. Learn from the scouts: trustworthiness is a necessary piece of your real estate business.

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