It’s interesting when you ask people to write down their three most dearly held values. A lot of people write down “family and friends”. But these aren’t values they’re - well, family and friends. Values are what you bring to life when it challenges you and they’re what you bring to your business life as well.
Customers are very adept at sensing a lack of values and they don’t like people who demonstrate that they don’t care about anything except getting them to sign the instruction contract. But estate agency and lettings, more than most businesses, involve a mutual summing up. The customer is thinking, “Do I trust this person to look after my interests?” and the agent is thinking along similar lines, “Is this person being open with me? Can I trust what they say?”
If you’re someone who both has values and is aware of them, it will come across to everyone you deal with. That’s on a personal level. But businesses need values too, and these will also be apparent to clients, even if they’re not consciously aware of it.
A great exercise either on your next agency training day, or for you personally as part of your growth as a professional, is to note down the three values that you feel are most important in your business life. Honesty and integrity will feature on a lot of people's lists, but after that, there is usually a wide divergence. Is creativity important to you? If it is, knowing so can help you to be creative in productive ways in the business.
In terms of both personal and professional growth, once you know what really matters to you, you'll be able to influence your business life so that it's more satisfying to you. There's a well-known saying, "A principle isn't a principle until it costs you money." It may be, that when you look deeply into what you believe to be important, you may steer your activities in a different direction. For example, if environmental awareness is one of your core values, you may think about how you can bring this into your business life. It may influence your attitude to new housing schemes - are they sustainable or simply a quick buck for a developer?
If you look at current TV ads, you can see that we are in a period where many people distrust corporations and want services to be personal. Big corporations try to make themselves seem less impersonal and attempt to convince customers that they have values.
One of the key values that people immediately relate to, is authenticity. Everyone knows it when they see it, but it's very difficult to maintain, particularly in a corporate environment where adherence to business norms often overrides individual authenticity.
That’s part of the reason that small agencies, possibly run by one or two people who want to do their own thing, are often disproportionately successful. People engage with authenticity and when you're seeking instructions, that engagement is vital.
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