The Power of Feedback | The Zebra Blog

The Power of Feedback

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You can have every fancy tech gizmo that exists.

You can have dozens of years of experience.

You can have beautiful branding.

You can have a state-of-the-art website too.

But if you’re not getting regular feedback about your performance, you’re missing the boat.

Feedback – honest feedback from customers – is the most important tool any business has at their disposal. Yet so many businesses either don’t ask for feedback, or ignore the feedback they receive.  

This is true in businesses both large and small. It’s true with entrepreneurs, like real estate agents, too.

Sometimes we don’t ask for feedback because we don’t know how to do so appropriately. Other times it’s because we know (or think) we’ve done a great job and we don’t think we need it. And often it’s because we know there were things we could have done better, but we choose instead to let well enough alone.

Think about athletes. Every one of them has a coach. The coach is their feedback tool, providing constant encouragement (when things are done well) and critiques (when there’s room for improvement). What good would a coach be if all they just said “Great job!” every time an athlete participated in an event … regardless of the outcome?

If all you ever hear is “Great job!” you’ll never grow. Especially if you know that you didn’t really do all that great of a job!

There are lots of ways to get feedback in this business. You could ask your broker to evaluate your work. You can ask a colleague how you are perceived by others in the industry. Or you could ask a client to honestly evaluate your performance.

Let’s say you were one of several agents who interviewed to list a seller’s home … and you got the job. Congratulations! And then you got the home sold – congratulations again! Do you feel this is a situation that requires feedback? Many agents I talk to would say “no”. But if it were me I would want to ask the seller for some feedback, along the lines of:

  • I so appreciated being able to assist you in the sale of your home. Can I ask why you selected me, rather than the other agents you interviewed?
  • I was pleased we achieved your goal of getting the home sold. Was there anything along the way you would have preferred to see handled differently?
  • Do you feel you made the right choice in hiring me to sell your home?

Some of those questions could make you a bit uncomfortable, couldn’t they? Even if you’ve succeeded – by selling the house – you’re vulnerable when you ask these kinds of questions.

And it’s even harder if you weren’t the agent of choice. If you didn’t win the business, are you willing to respectfully ask a seller:

  • Can you share with me why you hired a different agent?
  • Was there something in my presentation that made you feel I wasn’t qualified?
  • What role did “x” play in your decision?  In this case, “x” could be “the commission rate”, “my experience in your neighborhood”, “my company’s market share”, or any number of things.

Hmmm … even more uncomfortable, isn’t it?

But if you could get your clients – the ones you got and the ones you lost – to give you this kind of feedback, think of the difference it could make in your business.

Like I said earlier, get feedback from your colleagues too. Ask them to evaluate key elements of your business with them. For example, have ever really test-driven your listing presentation in front of someone so you can be critiqued? You might be surprised to hear how you are perceived. Find an agent whose opinion you value, and ask them if they would be willing to help you out. Yes, I know agents compete with one another … but surely there’s someone you can turn to for this. If you don’t have an agent, how about a friend or family member? Someone you know will be able to give you honest, helpful feedback.

Of course, the best person to help with this is a coach or mentor who understands your business. Maybe this is your broker, or perhaps it’s a professional coach who specializes in working with real estate agents (like me!). Regardless, I want you to commit to learn to harness the power of feedback.

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