To give or not to give feedback? That is the question...
We were progressing along at a nice clip as our instructor seamlessly encompassed professional protocols, standards, and how to improve behaviors among agents; when all at once the mood within the classroom took an abrupt, and oh-so-cynical change… Yes, you guessed it! The topic turned to feedback; an invitation to mayhem ensued. Just the mention of this seemingly simple word incites an onslaught of contrary discourse.
Perhaps there does not need to be such acrimony concerning feedback. At first blush, the notion of feedback seems uncomplicated, even simple, but as with most topics with conflicting views, feedback and all that it entails is anything but simple. The query is how to negotiate this tricky terrain.
For some, especially listing agents, feedback is a commodity every bit as desirable as a latest hot stock—valuable inside information. Nearly all listing agents employ feedback to help convince sellers to paint, stage, reduce their price, etc. Feedback can also be the solidifying factor to confirm to sellers that their home is simply priced too high to be competitive within the current market (heavy emphasis on current). From a buyer’s agent perspective, the overriding dilemma surrounding feedback suggests that providing too much feedback does not promote and protect the buyer’s best interests.
Please permit me to interject a couple of conflicting perspectives—about two cents’ worth (adjusted for inflation, of course); and I will leave the notion open for “you” to decide…
A certain buyer’s agent, who is a well-adjusted, highly productive and exceedingly well-behaved REALTOR® (most of the time), transforms his quiet demeanor when discussing feedback. He believes for a buyer’s Agent to give help to the seller is in direct conflict with his responsibilities to the buyer (he cites loyalty and confidentially). When asked for feedback, he gives no detail; he tells sellers/agents that he will be in touch if his buyers are interested (how judiciously discrete!).
To be sure, feedback can be eminently practical (and profitable) in many situations; consider a an equally savvy buyer’s agent who believes providing detailed feedback (within the Law of Agency parameters, of course) undeniably helps her buyers purchase the home of their dreams, as the following illustration will show. A buyer was interested in a beautiful home complete with white-picket fence; my colleague lamented that the dream home was becoming a fading fairy tale for her buyers. Although they were qualified, price was a concern.
My savvy colleague filled out a request for feedback from the listing agent representing the dream home, complimenting the home and the features her buyer liked but stating the home was a little higher than her buyer could comfortably afford. The listing agent relayed her sellers would entertain any and all offers; unexpectedly the offer was presented and accepted (Yeah!). My colleague fervently believes as a result of her detailed feedback her buyer was ultimately able to purchase the beautiful home.
We can all learn from models promoting goodwill; simply recast the golden rule and give feedback as you would like it given to you. A gentle reminder: when calling or leaving a voice mail to elicit feedback, please be prepared! This simple courtesy will help your plight immeasurably. When e-mailing, include either a link regarding the property, or leave thorough information regarding the property.
Perhaps we can consider all notable movements start small, the next time you are asked to provide feedback decide to make a concession to modernity (it’s easier than ever!) as we go forward… After all, in real estate, as in all of life, to give or not to give is indeed the question.
Denise A. Burke, REALTOR®
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Posted on Tue, August 3, 2010
by Denise Burke