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Every agent wants to reach the closing table as often as possible. Likewise, brokers want to see their agents secure every transaction opportunity. These goals are understandable, but also potentially undermine an agent’s success.

Interestingly, even though I’ve had hundreds of opportunities to talk to and learn from leading brokers and agents, the importance of “ignoring” the transaction really hit home, so to speak, within my own four walls.

On My Block
Our home is located on the North Side of Chicago, in an area where properties are often purchased by investors for redevelopment. Real estate agents occasionally approach us with “I have an investor who wants to buy your home” inquiries. Since we aren’t interested in selling, I’ve developed a standard response for rebuffing these calls.

As a result, I was somewhat surprised when I received a call from an agent who wasn’t encouraging me to sell. He merely wanted to introduce himself, learn a little about me and get permission to keep in touch.

And he did. Every few months I’d get a call from Leigh Marcus of @properties. He must have a squeaky-clean database, because he always mentioned significant details about my family and our situation.

Several years later, a developer purchased the property next door and we entertained the thought of selling. But we wanted representation. Who to call? The answer was obvious.

We didn’t reach a satisfactory deal with the developer, but Leigh went out of his way to crunch the numbers, negotiate on our behalf and help us make a decision that was in our best interests.

Agent Perspectives
If you ask Leigh about his philosophy, he’ll say it boils down to this: Our industry is a relationship business, and the quickest way to build a relationship is with trust. How do you earn that trust? By caring about the people in your community and being a valuable resource to them.

It’s a simple approach that’s easily botched. Agents may forget that people are continually forming impressions about them with every single interaction, so a consistent focus on customer service is essential.

It pays off. Leigh has been one of Chicago’s top agents for years, leading a six-person team consisting of two agents and four customer service professionals. He spends at least three to four hours a day on lead generation while his team handles the administrative side of the business.

I realize my positive response is based on this agent’s commitment to trust and customer service, supported by a consistent commitment to work his sphere of influence, day in and day out.

It reminds me of NAR’s Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) program, a revolutionary initiative aimed at helping REALTORS® elevate their skills and professionalism and provide the best possible service to themselves and consumers. I look forward to sharing more about this exciting initiative later this year.

Gould_Marc_60x60Marc D. Gould is senior vice president of Member Development for NAR, overseeing a wide range of professional development programs for REALTORS®, including the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC). REBAC is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who have completed the specialized education and documented experience in working with consumers purchasing a home. To learn more, please visit

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