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
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?