Long before COVID-19, I often found myself thinking one question in both my personal and professional life:

What do we owe one another?

The answer to this on a personal level could fill dozens of journals, but the professional answer is a bit more clear.

When it comes to building and marketing technology platforms, I’ve always known what I can offer:

  • An easy-to-use and intuitive product
  • Honesty about how the product works, and how well it works
  • Help getting started, and getting the most out of it

And while it may seem strange to think that paying (or non-paying) clients owe me anything back, I have always believed that it’s okay to have some kind of reciprocal relationship in mind. It doesn’t have to be an even one. It just has to be one that is rooted in honesty and care.

For example, as I work with clients, I always say, “If you love the product, and you think others should use it, do me a favor and tell them. Better yet, work with me to share it with the right audience.”

That’s how RateMyAgent’s Undisruptable series began last year — with real people, who really loved our product, and who really wanted to talk about how they were building their business to be future-proof. The series was authentic. It was fun. And it was an effort that required time from successful, interesting folks, for whom time is in short supply. It reminded me that it’s okay to hope for something back from clients, and to ask for it outright.

It also made me think… Do agents do this? Most agents I know want their clients to leave them a review or to refer them more business, but they so rarely make it an expectation of their clients. They rarely say, “Hey, I need something from you… do you mind?”

What do you owe clients? What do they owe you?

As you begin 2022, with goals in mind and ideas percolating, don’t forget to take a step back and ask yourself, “What do I owe my clients?”

At a minimum, it should be:

  • Honesty about their home search or home sale
  • Professional, ethical insights, and assistance
  • Time, care, and attention

Then, ask yourself, “What do my clients owe me?”

At a minimum, it should be honesty about their search, sale, timeline, and budget; and their time and attention throughout the transaction. But you might want to add one last thing: a validation of their experience, whether positive or negative, at the close of the transaction or working relationship. That’s what a review is, at its core: A first-person validation of an experience. And yes, it’s okay to ask for one.

Reviews are helpful in a thousand ordinary and extraordinary ways. A review can help you identify gaps in your business, or areas where you can improve. It can help you realize what service points are most appreciated by customers, and which don’t seem to matter. It’s also, arguably, the beginning of something more.

A review signals the end of a transaction, but the beginning of a referral pipeline.

In other words, it signifies — to both you and the person writing it — that more is to come. And that’s what I believe we owe one another, more than anything. More opportunities to succeed.

In 2022, don’t be afraid to ask yourself what you owe your clients, and what they owe you back. It’s a subtle shift that could open up a massive new pipeline of business for you.

What we owe you: A party!

After our inaugural U.S.-based Agent of the Year Awards had to be held virtually in 2021, we know that we owe agents like you a party. A real one. You can hold us to that! Our 2022 Agent of the Year Awards party will be held in April in New York City at Inman Connect.





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