By Debbie Hanlon

While systems and techniques were crucial to kick starting my real estate career, it might not have happened if I had only sold myself to the public. There was another group much closer to home that I had to have on side to make that climb a lot easier. I’m not talking about vendors or buyers and I’m not even thinking about the media.

I’m talking about a group of people with whom it is vital to have a good relationship if you want to succeed. It’s a group of people who can make your life a lot easier or a lot more difficult. That group is your fellow real estate agents.

In this business we all compete for the listing, but we all co-operate for the closing. Once you list a house you’re going to need your fellow agent’s help to sell it. Let’s face it, we’re in a very tight-knit industry and your reputation, good or bad, is out there for everyone to see. That means if agent A has a client looking for a house in the price range of one you have listed, they can push their client towards you or towards another agent with a similar property. Which direction they go depends on their knowledge of you and the other agent –  how you’ve done business with them in the past, how you’ve treated them and how you’ve dealt with them as a fellow professional will determine how, and if, they deal with you.

Over the course of my career I’ve dealt with hundreds of multiple offers situations for properties I had listed.  Many times the offers were identical. I would make my decision the same way I made every real estate decision, what was in the best interest of my client. I would guide them towards the agent who would get the deal closed in the fastest time with the least amount of headaches. That meant an agent who replied promptly to emails, would have the paperwork completed correctly and who had done their homework on their clients so no nasty surprises popped up. In short, I always chose the agent who was the most professional. Who wouldn’t?

You can mark it down that the same as I’ve had to choose between two or more agents with the same offer, agents will have to choose between you and other agents on some deals. So, how do you make choosing you the easy choice? You treat all your fellow Realtors with the respect, courtesy and professionalism that you want them to treat you with. It really is that simple.

Now there are other things I did that you can do as well that will help stack the deck in your favour. Anytime you do business with another agent, send them a handwritten thank-you note after. Anytime you learn something from another agent, be sure to let them know and thank them.

Whenever they contact you, get back to them immediately. If they’re asking for information you don’t have, don’t wait until you do, send them a quick reply saying you’re on it.

If you show a client a competing Realtor’s listing, let the Realtor know how that showing went as soon as you can. We all know what its like to have anxious vendors – they want to know how the showing went. Wouldn’t you? Yet many times I’d find myself contacting the Realtor time and time again to get an update! Be ahead of the game, inform the listing Realtor immediately. It’s the respectful thing to do.

 These are simple, easy courtesies we can all extend to each other. Most of it has to do with basic communications. You should treat the agents you deal with as another opportunity to sell yourself and set yourself apart.

Just imagine what an amazing industry we’d have if we all treated each other like the professionals we are. That’s something for which we can all be agents of change.

Debbie Hanlon is the president and founder of Hanlon Realty. She is a three-time top 50 CEO winner and was named one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada. She is currently an elected city official in St. John’s, Nfld. and is available for motivational and training seminars. Email [email protected].

Debbie Hanlon is the owner broker and Realtor at Debbie Hanlon Real Estate, a new boutique brokerage in St. John’s, Nfld. She is also a motivational speaker, real estate coach, author, former city councillor and children’s entertainer. She lives in St. John’s with her husband, Oral Mews and her dog Fisher.

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