In today’s market, many agents, teams, and brokerages are discussing how to get back to basics. Gone are the days when the first person to get the lockbox open will win the sale. When markets are volatile and interest rates sound more like an older generation’s horror story than that of a modern day mortgage, Buyers and Sellers aren’t looking for someone who’s simply “available,” they want advice. But the challenge is that giving advice is an honor that must be earned in order for it to be followed. Advice only resonates when it’s deemed trustworthy.
Buyers and Sellers aren’t looking for someone who’s simply “available”
David Maister spent his career building trust with his clients and teaching others how to do the same. This blog post is essentially a modern day book report of David Maister’s The Trusted Advisor*.
Maister quickly defines a Trusted Advisor using 2 figures to demonstrate the evolution of a relationship as you build a broader business relationship and deeper personal relationship with your clients in pursuit of achieving the coveted “Trusted Advisor” status. The following table depicts the characteristics of the relationship levels on that journey:
Maister identifies the key characteristics of successful trusted advisors as those at ease with concepts like:
- Do well by doing good
- What goes around comes around
- You get back what you put in
- Use it or lose it
Maister is generally “speaking” to business consultants and lawyers, but the lessons apply to all professional services providers, most certainly Realtors, in both their professional and personal lives.
Perhaps most consequential, Maister outlines a formula that he labels the “Trust Equation.” A person’s trustworthiness is simply their credibility plus reliability plus intimacy, all divided by their self-orientation. More simply:
“T(trust) = [ C(credibility) + R(reliability) + I(intimacy) ] ÷ S(self-orientation).”
So in order to build trust with clients, we must reduce our self-orientation while boosting our credibility and reliability and building authentic, personal relationships with our clients. Think back to the source of your 3 most recent referrals: how do you think the “referrer” would rank your C, R, I, and S scores?
Maister outlines trust realms and individual failings to provide a unified understanding of these trust building blocks:
Maister’s timeless book provides a framework for developing and maintaining trust through the 5 stages of trust development: engage, listen, frame, envision, and commit. One of the most resounding analogies is to think of each relationship as a “Trust Account” and every interaction with that individual either makes a deposit to or a withdrawal from the “Account.” For example, if you receive a new lead off Zillow and the first question you ask is for an introduction to a friend or family member, you’ll be withdrawing from a “$0 account” and the payment will be declined. Trust accounts cannot go negative. So asking for a referral before demonstrating your value will only result in losing the new lead, not securing another. It's important to note that activities you may classify as "qualifying a lead" may be perceived as a withdrawal from a $0 account.
Every interaction either makes a deposit or a withdrawal from the "[Trust] Account”
As you think about your business plan for 2023, including your social media and/or email content strategy, consider the Trust formula. A simple Instagram post sharing your 2022 production, for example, could boost your “C” score (and your trustworthiness) or could boost your “S” score (and erode your trustworthiness). Choose your words and graphics carefully to ensure all of your interactions are trust-builders! Sticking with the same example, sharing your production on a map demonstrates your credibility as a neighborhood expert / specialist whereas doing so simply in total production or $-value terms may appear more self-oriented. “Helped 15 individuals and families transition homes” sounds more intimate than “15 units.”
Choose your words and graphics carefully to ensure all of your interactions are trust-builders!
Clozio is designed to help real estate professionals quickly build trust with their clients (and colleagues) through the most stressful moments of the relationship: the transaction. Top agents, TCs, teams, and brokers leverage Clozio to not only boost their own productivity, but also to demonstrate their value to their clients, making huge “trust deposits” by punctuating their credibility and reliability.
“Clozio helps real estate professionals quickly build trust…”
*If what you read here resonates with you, head down to your locally-owned bookstore and buy a copy of The Trusted Advisor. (Note: you may need to call ahead and have them order it for you. But doing so may well open the door to another source of referrals… whereas ordering from Amazon most certainly will not!)