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Focus on the customer, not your ego

23 April 2018

By John Cunningham, former REINSW President and Chair of the REIA Professionalism Committee (originally featured in Elite Agent)

Agents need to move away from their ego and towards the new era of customer experience, and if they do it will be the best business strategy they have ever implemented.

There is no doubt that most agents need a ego to keep themselves motivated and in momentum, but that shouldn’t be all that drives you. Expressions like hustle, grind and attraction have their place, but there is an emerging move away from being here for the gratification of personal gain.

CX, or customer service as most people would know it, is where we should be headed and best achieved when the head and heart work in harmony. The concept of exceptional CX is having a massive positive impact on both businesses and the community with the positive feedback from consumers.

When you take a look behind the how and why this is happening the findings are fascinating. The results reveal:

1. The real estate industry is heading towards an evolution or as Kylie Walsh, General Manager at Di Jones, calls it, a ‘renaissance’. Is there more to our role than it just being about us? The answer coming back loud and clear is yes and that our success should be defined by our client, customer, consumer experience and satisfaction and not by our fixation on ego driven figures. We need to become more professional in all we do and combine it with more consumer care, heart-based considerations. If it’s good for the consumer, it’s good for the business.
2. Consumers are sick and tired of being treated poorly and see through the smoke and mirrors games practiced by some in our industry. In the age of information, technology and accessibility the perpetrators have been caught out for not being property experts. As a result consumers are now going elsewhere for information and being influenced by the wrong sources. 
Good agents are already reassessing their value proposition to stay relevant and asking what do consumers want and need, and how can they fulfill that role as an expert, specialist trusted advisor. In other words what they would expect from a PROFESSIONAL.
3. The third discovery is very much in tune with Jet Xavier’s Revive program which has identified health and wellbeing as one of the biggest issues facing the industry. The research found that the drive to succeed to perceived industry expectations can come at a big cost which is often poor physical and mental health, along with serious issues with an unbalanced family life. 
If handled correctly the industry can provide an environment for agents where better choices are being made about their personal and business lives. This results in better outcomes for themselves, their families and all who deal with them.
4. Moving to a business development model that is based on your vision, values and behaviours is the fourth discovery. Every business needs a plan that is relevant, achievable, measurable and marketable to your set of goals. 
Building credibility and authenticity starts with clear vision and team engagement. Your business and staff need to be on the same page to achieve success and by sharing a vision and set of values you are progressing yourself and your colleagues into another realm. This will empower you and your colleagues with a new mindset that has just the right amount of ego, care and empathy to help you understand the importance of the role of the professional trusted advisor in our industry.

So what should you do for this to have an impact and create serious change for the better? Simply collaborate with your head and heart and focus on the customer experience above all else.

This is part three of four of John’s ‘time for a health check’ series. Read part one on ‘time for a health check’ and two on 'the Core of our Industry "PURPOSE”.