Real estate investing is about big deals and as such, much depends on the investor having and maintaining credibility within the profession. Whether you work with clients, partners, associates, or competitors, your credibility is on the line every single day. What follows are 15 things you need to consistently be doing to maintain your good name in business.
- Keep your promises. If you can't keep a promise, then don't make it in the first place - it's a big negative emotion being let down in this way.
- Never lie. Why would you? And if you have to, it's much, much more about you than the person you lie to. People will really lose faith in you fast if you lie. People would rather hear the truth. You’ll actually attract more clients by telling them about why their deal won't go through. People like honesty and this actually leads to more business.
- Keep confidences. Sometimes people tell you things that they clearly don't want others to know. Keep it to yourself. Don't spread gossip and rumor.
- Communicate as completely as possible. Keep as little hidden from people as possible. Communicate as openly as you can. Sometimes you can't tell everyone everything - it happens but think very carefully before withholding information.
- Listen Attentively. There's a whole bunch more to this but it’s safe to say if you don't pay attention to people fully, they will not trust you. It's rude and it diminishes your relationships.
- Follow Through. If you say you are going to do something, Do It! People will love that you do what you say (or at least apologize if you find you can't do it). And it sets a great example.
- Act the Part. You need to have your clients' interests at heart if you want them to be convinced you are a credible person. Don't do anything that is not in your clients' or anyone else's best interest. Certainly, never do anything to enrich yourself at a cost to others.
- Dress the Part. While you may work from home in your underwear, you need to look professional when you have face-to-face meetings. Personal grooming is important in creating or destroying your professional image. While business dress is more casual today, don't show up at a business meeting in sweats and tennis shoes. Wear a pair of dress slacks or a dress and a shirt with a collar. Also wear a pair of good shoes that have been polished recently.
- Be a Problem Solver. You become more credible when you dig in to solve a problem rather than throwing up your hands and giving up immediately. You want to be known as a Doer not a Giver Upper.
- Keep an Open Mind. When you can't see the point of view of others, you diminish the view others have of you. This goes beyond just people. It applies to business ideas. When you don't have an open mind, you won't be able to see the next great opportunity that others haven't noticed either. When you are flexible and adaptable, people have more respect for you.
- Speak Like a Professional. You may be proud that you bootstrapped yourself up and out of a ghetto but street language and profanity have no place in the professional business world. Don't use it. And don't use jargon or slang of any kind. Not industry jargon and not the jargon that every generation creates when they are young to set themselves apart from older generations. No one else understands it. Enunciate clearly. Before you speak, have your thoughts organized. Speak in full sentences and in a tone and volume that can be heard without being overpowering.
- Have No favorites. Treat all people equally and show no favorites. I know this is tough but it needs to be done. Have principles and standards that you work to for everyone - no exceptions. Don’t have favorites. You never know when a small $5,000 deal might turn into 20 solid referrals.
- Challenge the Behavior - not the person. People make mistakes, do things wrong, and need to be told. It's the thing they did, not the person they are. "You're hopeless", is not a good way to build relationships but "That wasn't what I would expect of you usually, tell me more about what happened", works better.
- Forgive Mistakes. Be generous. It's a value creating action. People hate to get things wrong - they expect to be rebuked for it. Help them with learning from the mistake. "What might you do next time?" is far more valuable.
- Don't Talk Behind Backs. Anyone you tell negative things to about a third party will always wonder what you are saying about him or her when they aren't around - and then you have to wonder what they are saying about you - it's a bad habit.
- Exceed Expectations. Here is tip #16 when you were expecting.Collect Testimonials. As soon as you begin having success, start asking satisfied clients to write you brief testimonials. Claims that you are superior to your competitors are much more powerful when it's someone else that is blowing your horn.
When you have well established credibility, your current clients want to come back to you next time they need the service you provide. They also are not hesitant to recommend you to their family, friends, and anyone else they know. It's the best way to build up a far-reaching clientele.
Please leave a comment if this article was helpful or if you have a question.
Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 25 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest in the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.