Business Management

Word On The Street Is, You’re a Jerk…

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Development, Flipping Houses, Real Estate Marketing, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management
60 Articles Written
Branding Yourself

Or worse, for that matter. Liar, swindler, two-timing investor.

Being behind the scenes in one of the hottest foreclosure markets in the country the last 10 years has taught me one important thing. The number of high-level players in the foreclosure/investing community in any given market is probably not THAT big. No matter what the company names become, DBA’s (doing business as..) or partnerships may be created or fade away, there is one thing that remains: reputation.

This doesn’t just apply to the “been around the block” investor, the fix n’ flipper, the guru, or expert; it applies to all you “newbies” out there as well. Sometimes the only reason why a seller chooses to work with you over another company or individual is the fact that they like you, and preserving that quality should always be a priority. Not only among Sellers, but especially among your peers. As the digital age progresses and more people are able to research, learn, and discuss you/your business online, protecting the reputation of your brand (which could be YOU!) is more critical then ever.

A Better Deal

What’s better than making money? Making more money, I can hear you say. It’s commonplace to try to be lured away, do a “side deal” with another company, or outright take deals away from someone in hopes of making a larger profit. Ethical behavior can certainly start to deteriorate once more digits are up for grabs, and this spans most business’, but especially real estate. 4 – 6 digit paychecks are no longer the privilege of a select few executives, but any individual who is willing, able, and educated enough to structure a purchase and sale. With that being the case, the green-eyed monster can plead it’s case to justify unprofessional, unethical, or downright fraudulent actions.

Is there anything wrong with trying to make a buck? Of course not, dear reader. The goal of your real estate career is to not only make money, but make as much money as possible. Like any entrepreneur or business owner, the idea is to save on costs, and pad the bottom line. But, I would like to tack onto that list, "and build goodwill within the community."

“A good reputation is more valuable than money”- Publilius Syrus

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The fact is, there are real estate go-getters that care less about their customer base, clients, and affiliates than they do themselves, and still continue to operate, some in high-volume. Does the word on the street bode well for them or their companies? Probably not, and who knows how much business is lost as a byproduct. It does always cost more to gain new customers though, then it does to cultivate from past or existing ones. And affiliates and peers will go the extra length, give you a discount, and make you a priority if they’re treated fairly, paid on time, and feel respected.

Do companies and individuals renegotiate contracts, hire competitors staff, adopt competitors methods, and fire vendors? In the words of a certain politician “Youuu be-tcha.”. Although it might aggravate the offended party, it’s not illegal, and happens all the time in high-stakes business’.

But, I’ve seen otherwise good partnerships get ruined with money borrowed (and never returned) to do side deals and money swindled. Beyond that, even existing contracts will be argued or debated to death until one partner concedes, loses their profit, and moves on to stop expending time and energy on an exhaustive cause (especially when it doesn’t make economic sense to get attorneys involved.)

The thing is, it doesn’t take a goody two-shoes to be well-liked in the community. You can be be a mix of firm, fair, and highly profitable.

Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About

At the end of the day, there will always be hucksters. With the amount of intelligence it takes to operate at such a creative level, the stress it takes to always be on your toes, and the worry of litigation, why not put that energy towards creating a business name and reputation for yourself that bode well? Of course there will always be unsatisfied customers, but, the opinion of a few is a low cost of having an overwhelming amount of a raving customer and affiliate base.

If you’re interested in giving your customers an outlet to “discuss” your business, wet up a Yelp Account, Google Business, and other online networks that your customers and clientele can start posting the good word. If there’s a couple bad eggs here and there, so be it. You can’t please em all! (But DO try to resolve their challenges and respond to their feedback so the world can see you’re addressing them).

Beyond that, if you’re interested in tracking what people are saying about you online, you can even set up Google Alerts, which will alert you when your name or company name appears on the web.

Be a respected player

The takeaway is, you can be a formidable force, a keen player, be out to win, but your reputation should follow your good character. The cost of greed could end up being much, much higher than being assertive and transparent.

What do you think?

Photo: debaird™

    Troy Jones
    Replied over 7 years ago
    First, very well written article. I agree completely. So many things I have witnessed come to mind when I see this, many that look at making money as an obsession, loosing wife, kids, family and friends in the process. You have to break a few eggs huh? I’ve also seen many strive to make a buck and burn people in the process only to watch them loose it all. In the end they have to look backwards and sideways, that call to their child- who hates them, thinking back on “what happened” with their wife. Maybe some don’t have that experience but being the recipient in a family of the same I can say that no amount of money will bring back the love. If I had to look at my brand new Porsche or choose between my sons or daughters I would choose my kids. Just a thought…
    Tracy Royce
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Troy thanks for your feedback. It’s incredible how things like family can be taken for granted when greed takes hold, it really is a tragic thing. Glad there are people who still choose family AND business. Cheers –
    Chris Clothier
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Tracy – Love the article. Love the insights and I love the advice for so many investors and real estate professionals. It reminds me of an article I wrote a couple of months back here on the blog. As you say, you only have one reputation. In my article i wrote something that I am sure you would agree with: “Conduct Your Business In Such a Way, That If Someone Were To Speak Negatively Of You, No One Will Believe The Words They Say!” We are living proof of that very thing. We are a big fish in a pond full of fish and some might say we are the biggest in our markets. We get a lot of cheap shots thrown our way from people both in the market and from others who are paid to take those cheap shots. And that’s ok…if you have the reputation intact so that no one believes a word they say, then in the end, only the people talking about you look foolish. If you act like a jerk, when someone talks negatively about you or your company, everyone will believe it because that is the reputation you have earned. Great article and thank you for writing it!
    Troy Jones
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Great comment Chris, such creative bloggers both of you. The world is so small and very tight in business. I get to hear of the stories others mention about experiences they have had with businessmen that “rape and pillage the village,” they live in infamy and burn their bridges everywhere they go. The scoop is that no one will deal with them when they take this posture, they just use newbies until they burn them out. I also have ran into associates or past acquaintances half-way around the world! (there’s no place to hide). It’s a small world out there and your rep can either get you into fantastic deals or steer people clear of you if it’s bad. Translation: bad rep = less money, also, less family, less sleep.
    Tracy Royce
    Replied over 7 years ago
    I agree Troy, I don’t think people realize how small the RE community and world can actually be!
    Tracy Royce
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Hi Chris, thanks for your feedback! Poignant you bring in your company, since you guys are a perfect “target.” But, that goes along with another thing I’ve learned in this business…people LOVE to T-A-L-K (and talk, and talk, and gossip, and talk.) In some cases, you just have to let it go and realize some people just have nothing better to do (like, deals 😉 To the other effect, an outnumbered majority singing your praises can quash a few disgruntled customers (which I typically learn are more dissatisfied in their own lives and your business just gives them something to take it out on). In those instances, usually a direct conversation goes a long way and many of them can be converted to loyal customers. Thanks for your insight and appreciate the kudos!
    Shari Posey
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Great article! Unfortunately, most people who are shady and unethical usually have a way to justify their behavior besides just a desire to make more money. However, I do believe cream rises to the top and the shady ones will eventually get bitten in the a** . In this crazy-competitive market I’ve gotten deals for my buyers because other offers were from agents with bad reputations or because I’ve had a good working relationship with the agent in the past. Even though I practice in a fairly big city, the real estate community is actually pretty small.
    Tracy Royce
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Hi Shari, it’s startling to realize how closely related people in your local RE community are, even if they don’t know each other, isn’t it? I’m glad you recognize it and are gaining value from it; you’re a perfect example of the point of this article (to the positive end!) Keep up the good work, and thanks for your comments.