The real estate profession is and has always been a people business. People do business with people they know, like and trust. At the heart of the business is the ability to nurture and build relationships. Those who do not learn how to build relationships and gain consumer confidence will have as much, if not more, difficulty transforming leads than they originally did when developing leads. There are no shortcuts to building deep and lasting relationships.

In the most recent NAR profile of buyers and sellers, consumers indicated that their by far biggest criteria when choosing a real estate professional to work with was not experience, knowledge, price or firm affiliation, but merely a matter of trust. Contrary to what we believe today, on first contact consumers try to answer a simple, overarching question. “Can you trust you?”

In your contacts with consumers, here’s a three-part approach to starting a presentation to answer that question.

Explain the agency from the consumer’s point of view

In most states, at the beginning of the relationship, a kind of disclosure of the agency to a potential client is required. Forget the legal requirements of the agency from the point of view of the licensee and the supervisory authorities. Address agency from the point of view of the consumer.

The reason why an agency exists is to impose fiduciary duties on the licensee which oblige him to legally protect the consumer. Talk about the fact that consumers can trust you because when you are represented by a temporary employment contract you are required to keep your information confidential, to follow legal instructions, to disclose material facts, to be loyal to them, to clear all monies and to protect you entrusted and bring care and skill into the representation.

Consumers are not interested in regulatory requirements or the complexity of regulatory requirements. They care if we protect their interests or not and if they can trust us. The Agency’s commitments make sure we do just that.

Collect and use testimonials

No matter how eloquently you turn into “Trust Me” in your presentation, you alone can not convey credibly the message that consumers should trust you. Recent marketing studies clearly show that consumers are about 14% of our own opinion. They believe 78% of what others say about us.

Take a lesson from other companies and companies that have spent millions of dollars learning the power of customer referrals. What do you see first when you buy a book from Amazon? Testimonies of others. Amazon has removed almost all the self-promotion for the book along with the long-standing authoring BIOS. They have realized that the only people who can sell the book are others who have read it. When you visit a hotel or restaurant, which is the main copy you read? References. People trust the experience of others more than what the restaurant or hotel has to say.

Create a plan to gather testimonials from past and current customers that they could trust you. Make it available in a visible place like Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin and your website.

The better we build relationships and learn to build trust, the less your organization needs to depend on lead generation services. More importantly, if you choose to use such services, you can only convert the leads from a trust relationship. People do business with people they know, like and trust.