I Got Fired For Warning Clients About The Unethical Agents...
Can you believe that?!
Wow! A lot has changed since my I sent out my last eNewsletter a month ago...
It has become clear to me that a notable percentage of the Real Estate industry is more interested in protecting themselves and their self-interests than their clients... whom they are supposed to be protecting and serving above all else.
Let me explain:
Earlier this year I finished a book that I had been working on to document my unique Value Driven Approach in helping my clients sell real estate and to inform sellers about what to look out for in unscrupulous real estate agent practices and incompetent agents. About a month ago I finally received a box of the first printing and needless to say was really excited to see my book in print. I made a preliminary announcement on Facebook and received great encouraging feedback from my friends, clients and family.
... and then the "hate mail" started rolling in from agents in my office who were less than enthusiastic about my book and its warnings against unethical agents.
It's no secret that real estate agents and the industry as a whole doesn't have a great reputation. In my experience, other agents get defensive and feel attached when you simply MENTION that our industry reputation is less than stellar, and forget about trying to have a conversation about why that is or how to fix it...
Agents are too busy patting each other on the back and telling themselves how great they are. They live in a self-congratulatory bubble, failing to realized how most of the activity they engage in to garner new business is universally hated by the public (cold calling, door knocking, spam emails, bait-and-switch sales tactics and marketing, etc.).
It's their own fault that the profession is not highly respected. Real estate agents have a bad reputation, just like the rest of the sales world, because they propagate the sales culture of hounding people until they wear them down. Though their attitudes and activities are what creates and perpetuates the low respect that the public has for the real estate profession, they often focus their vitriol on the agent’s brave enough to stand up and say "there is a better way to do business and serve our clients", rather than addressing the issues and policing their own.
One agent actually came in my office waiving around a print off of "A Message From The Author" page (part of my FB post) saying that I should be ashamed of myself for encouraging this negative stereotype about real estate agents and the industry, she promptly went down the hall ranting to every other agent in our office who would listen, how disgusting and arrogant it was... without actually having read the book or knowing anything about it other than what was in my FB post.
Another agent told me it was liable, yelled at me that I should be fired for writing this book and literally slammed her door in my face.
Agents like them get upset about stuff like this becasue:
1.) They have no original ideas of their own as to how to garner new clients and criticize or lash out at agents who are willing to think outside the box and try new ways to help their clients or raise the standard.
2.) As busy bodies in the office, they are too busy meddling in what other agents are doing and trying to make everyone else’s business their own. They spend their time complaining about how incompetent and stupid other agents are instead of trying to improve and hone their own business or serve their clients better.
3.) They are exactly the type of agents I warn about in my book and they don't like me empowering the home seller with the information about how to steer clear of shady agents who are using shady tactics.
Well, they got what they wanted. It wasn't 2 days after posting my book announcement on Facebook that I was "let go" due to all the tension in the office that these lady’s drama had created.
Leading up to this incident, It had become increasingly apparent that this firm was not a good fit for me anymore and the way I needed to run my business to best serve my clients. Isn't life great how it sometimes forces us to change for our own good? In hindsight, being fired was the best thing that could have happened to me! It freed me to truly be able to run my business in-line with my convictions.
This brings me to the GOOD NEWS!
I'M AT A NEW BROKERAGE AND LOVING IT!
It's been like a breath of fresh air! My friend and prior business college had left that same brokerage at the beginning of the year and started his own indie brokerage in West Seattle, Live Property Solutions, where I now hang my real estate license!
I'm finally around others who also embrace thinking outside the box, innovation and serving the client in new and superior ways. I'm just getting rolling here but am excited for all the opportunity presented at this new brokerage and for what I have planned for ramping up my business and continuing to fine-tune it to give my clients the best!
In the past, it was recommended to me to "keep my messages positive" for my newsletters and articles… meaning don't focus on what is wrong with the industry or bringing to light the negative aspect of what happens in real estate.
In other words, "keep you mouth shut and don't rock the boat".
But how are you suppose to stand up to the unethicals, what is wrong in the industry ad protect your clients and if you don’t name it, point it out and expose it for what it is?!
I for one have found that if the norm is not known, communicating how you are different, better, unique, "not like the others" or whatever, will have little meaning as there is nothing to contrast it with. Just like trying to explain to someone what light is if they have never experience darkness. The concept will have no meaning with nothing to compare it to.
What do you think? Feel free to reply back with your thoughts and comments. I care what you think and want to hear from you.
You can also check out other stuff I've been working on at the links below:
The Sea-Town Podcast – Interviewing and telling the stories of Seattle area entrepreneurs and business owners. or subscribe on
www.Sea-TownPodcast.com or subscribe on itunes
New Book – I created "The Value Driven Approach To Selling Real Estate".
Get yourself a free copy if you promise to donate to a charity - http://free-book4charity.com/
- Christian Harris
Author, Real Estate Broker, founder and host of The Sea-Town Podcast
Until next time, be well.