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How Can Agents Build More Trust with Their Clients?

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RISMEDIA, March 3, 2009-In today’s real estate market, it is now more important than ever for companies and agents to be truly authentic if they want to build a foundation for long-term success. In response to market saturation and an overload of messages, consumers are seeking to award their loyalty and business to those organizations and professionals they trust. In this month’s Viewpoints, Wendy Purvey, senior vice president, Marketing, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, offers tips for agents looking to build more trust with their clients.

People are increasingly searching for things that are sincere and genuine. The way to win that trust is by knowing what you stand for and remaining true to it. In other words, being authentic.

How do you tap into your inner authenticity? First, you begin by defining what you stand for, and what you don’t. This requires an honest look in the mirror. At the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand, we came out of the gate with a very intentional mission to be inviting, unique, savvy and refined. Being different. Being consistent…all the time. We have a very clear vision of who we are and that influences everything we do, from our less-is-more marketing approach to the firms we choose to join our network.

Today, more than ever, how real estate professionals market themselves is directly linked to the way they are perceived. The public’s trust of businesses and institutions is in steep decline. Consumers’ media savvy has pulled back the wizard’s curtain on insincere marketing. It has taken our industry a lot longer than most to understand that presenting our trade and the services we provide to the consumer in a professional manner actually brings greater trust and a desire to do business with those that are committed to exceptional service.

I often hear, “How can I differentiate myself in the marketplace?” And for the last 20 years I have had a standard answer to that question and offered up unique ideas to help an agent or company standout in the clutter of real estate messages. Today, I believe more than ever that standing out is actually easy. All you have to do is pull back. The public notices sincere, effective, authentic communication. Being true to who you are-consistently and without fail-is the best way to build trust and create a meaningful relationship with your clients.

It takes courage and willingness to give up trying to be everything to everyone and retiring old habits-behavior that our industry has practiced for years. The idea that success comes by marketing “me” does not help to secure trust in one’s capabilities. What real estate professionals do everyday-help people with one of the biggest financial decisions they make in their lifetime-is extremely relevant and should be held in the highest regard. It is that message that we need to reinforce each time we communicate. And in this age, when people are longing for authenticity, your business depends on it.

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