If you had to choose between someone who is knowledgeable and someone you trust, who would you choose?
Let’s put it another way.
You’re hiring someone to provide a service. Do you go with the person who has been doing it a long time, or the person who you like, and think will do their best for you?
We know that in an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to choose. The person or company you like, and trust, is also the one that has been doing it the longest with the highest level of results. In the real world, however, there is often a trade-off and the most successful person or company isn’t necessarily the most well-liked or trustworthy.
When we have to make a choice, most of us go with the person we trust over the person who is best qualified. We seem predisposed to value peace of mind over what could be negligible difference in outcome. It doesn’t mean that being likeable is the only thing we consider, but when we’re making a decision about who we want to work with, trust is hugely important.
Interestingly enough, we reverse the importance when we think about what someone will value if they are considering hiring us. The most common mistake made by service providers is to focus on credentials and experience instead of showcasing why they can be trusted. If you like and trust them and they know what they’re doing, you’ll use them again and again and recommend them to others.
It’s a powerful model and it’s absolutely how we like to do business.
A huge part of trust is knowing that the other person will be honest with you and themselves when they can’t help you. It sounds funny, but if someone says they aren’t the best person for the job, doesn’t it make you wish they were?
Within our team, we are regularly contacted by clients who need help with real estate where we’re not the best option. That’s not false modesty. We’re very good at certain types of real estate and within certain areas – residential and small commercial properties within the GTA.
The most common reason why we decide we’re not the best option for a client or their friend or family is location. We’re licensed Realtors within all of Canada, but we’re only members of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.
We could choose to join other real estate boards outside of the GTA but having access to the data from the Board isn’t the same as being close enough to effectively use that data. If we don’t regularly work in the geographic area being focused upon to buy or sell, we won’t know the market.
As crucially, we won’t be able to respond quick enough to needs of the client. Real estate often moves quickly and hiring an agent who lives three or more hours away is a recipe for disaster. The trade off is just too high.
When a client needs real estate help for themselves, family or friends and they come to us as their trusted agent, we help whenever we can. When we’re not the best option, we have an approach we follow to make sure we connect them with the right people. It involves three key steps.
1. Understand the need.
The first step in knowing whether we are the best option for a client, or their friend or family, is to understand the need.
- If it involves buying or selling in a geographic area that is outside the GTA, we have to acknowledge that we can’t do the best job for them. We’re just not close enough to respond quickly and we don’t work there enough to really know the market.
- If it involves a type of real estate we’re not experienced in (large commercial for example, or rural properties such as farms or cottages) then we won’t learn on their dime. We may partner with an expert in that type of real estate so we can learn and assist as possible, but we won’t take on business we don’t already know how to do very well.
- If it involves expectations we can’t meet, then we won’t take it on. Whether it is timing we can’t accommodate, resources that we don’t have or some mix of the two, understanding what the client needs and understanding if we can meet those needs is crucial to the best outcome.
Once we have a good understanding of what is required, we move to the next step.
2. Identify the best option.
As part of the largest real estate company in the world (Keller Williams), we have access to a global network of real estate agents. As importantly, as an open-book company that shares profit amongst agents, we have access to the sales data that each and every agent does in their area.
- Need a real estate agent in BC who focuses on large commercial sales? We can see who does what and how often.
- Looking for a top sales agent in Kitchener-Waterloo who consistently ranks as one of the busiest listing agent in town? We can tell exactly who does the most deals and the highest volume of business.
- Want to buy a cottage in the Muskokas and need to work with someone who understands what’s coming on the market and when? We can see who has worked with the most buyers in the past year in the geographic area you’re looking.
One of the biggest benefits of being focused on making sure we connect our clients, their friends and family with the best option is that we regularly communicate with agents across Ontario, Canada and the world. We have built connections and relationships and we often receive introductions from these far-flung agents who approach real estate the same way and value us as partners to help their clients in our area.
We use our understanding of your needs (or your friend or family member’s needs) to identify the best option and then we confirm it’s the right fit. This means phone calls and emails to agents we know, as well as reaching out to new connections that appear to have the right stuff. We talk about how they approach real estate, their specific experience in the required area or type of real estate and we confirm they’re the right fit. It takes some time, but if we can’t help you, we want to make sure we introduce you to someone who absolutely can.
3. Introduce good people to good people.
Once we’re sure we’ve found the right people to help with the needs of the client, we introduce everyone.
We use what we know about the client and the agents to set the stage properly, sharing useful information and establishing expectations. Both sides know that we’re after a win-win experience and we’ll be following up with both to make sure it worked out well.
It’s crucial that we understand both the needs of the client as well as the abilities of the agent we introduce. No wasted time, no false starts, just good people who can help good people.
We’ve done this for clients and their friends and family many times and we’d love to help you. Whether it is British Columbia, Oregon, Ottawa, New Hampshire, Kitchener-Waterloo or even outside North America, we love being trusted with helping our clients.
Whenever you need help or advice with real estate, start by getting in touch with us. If we can help directly, we will – and if we can’t, then we’ll work hard to make sure we understand the need, find the best option and then connect good people with good people.