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Conducting yourself in a professional manner is essential as an agent. Start with these basics during your next client meeting
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Is the industry really that professional? The word implies that you are an expert in your field. And while there are certainly agents and companies who live up to expectations, we still have a long way to go. Finally, however, the industry is being regulated; this is no longer a part-time option. After completing your final exam (the Professional Designation Evaluation or PDE), you are able to use either the designation Professional Practitioner in Real Estate or Master Practitioner in Real Estate.
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WHAT NOT TO DO
Based on personal experience – or on those of friends and colleagues – here are five real-life anecdotes of unprofessional behaviour in the industry.
1. One seller’s house was marketed at seven different prices in the media, the square meterage was advertised differently and potential buyers had no prior arrangements to view the property.
2. A principal asked whether she should “do this Continuing Professional Development (CPD) stuff ”. No-one is exempted; it is part of the new regulations.
3. I once referred a seller to the agent selling in his complex. Two weeks later, the seller called back to say he hadn’t yet heard from the agent.
4. An agent attended a workshop last year in sweatpants and slippers.
5. On the morning of training events, agents and principals call to ask for details, even though their questions have been answered already via e-mail. Or they assume workshops are at a specific venue without reading their mails properly and pitch up at the wrong place.
THE PROFESSIONAL ESSENTIALS
What, then, are the alternatives when it comes to conducting yourself professionally?
Dress code You need to look good and be prepared; it only takes a few seconds to create a good impression.
Body language Make each client feel that they are important. Listen, maintain eye contact and don’t take calls or answer messages during your meeting.
Know your area and trade Stay on top of changes, new legislation, municipal bylaws, developments and changes in your area. Know more than your customers – the same information is also freely available to them.
Communicate effectively Check your spelling, stay in touch and provide proper and timeous feedback.
Code of conduct Live up to the principles of honesty, accountability, respect, fairness, trust, knowledge, reliability and friendliness.
Deliver exceptional service You are building a network of clients who will hopefully see you as their preferred agent and will refer clients and family to you.
Competence and qualifications Register with the EAAB, have a valid FFC, complete the relevant qualifications along with your logbook, attend CPD and register with PrivySeal (available via eaab.org.za). Also attend any additional training to stay motivated.
Become the professional your clients and colleagues expect, which in turn makes your professional fee easier to negotiate. Remember that real estate can only work for you over time – there’s no quick fix.
“Know more than your customers – the same information is also freely available to them”
Jo-Anne Strydom has 21 years of real estate experience, initially as a sales agent before moving into training. She studied Real Estate Advanced Practices in Miami and is an accredited real estate assessor and moderator in South Africa.
Words: Jo-Anne Strydom, Image: Supplied