I've heard "fake it until you make it" as a piece of advice for as long as I can remember. In real estate, the feeling that you have to do this is because everyone starts out with no experience and a whole lot of competition in the field. As years go by, trends change, companies emerge or fall apart. Competitive business is filled with sometimes-ingenuine attempts to grab attention or capitalize on popular trends — it's enough to make your head spin as you try to become an expert on everything the industry leads you to believe you need to be an expert on. In the real estate industry, more careers are being built every day on the swift switch toward digital. The question becomes, do you need to fake it until you make it?
In my experience, the answer is no. In life, as well as in business, the authentic one tends to come out ahead in the long run, no matter the market or trends that rise and fall minute to minute. It's true across industries, too: In 2009, Domino's Pizza created a campaign in which it owned up to the negative things the public had to say about it. What came of this was, in my opinion one of the best rise, fall and rise again stories in our modern era of a company of this size.
On the solo side, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has built his following and brand by being bluntly honest while he prepared and launched an entire media company to help others achieve their entrepreneurial dreams by leveraging honest storytelling in the social media era.
These stories are just two examples of why transparency is key to business excellence in this age of rapidly growing technologies, this ever-changing landscape of social selling. With social media, every company has a direct path to the consumer and with this comes the ability to craft your image in new ways. This can be a benefit or dangerous ground — with the public nature of social media, one lie or rogue tweet could be hugely and quickly damaging. But smart real estate agents and businesses will use the direct path of communication social media provides to gain valuable feedback from the customers you aim to serve. This not only keeps you honest and reflective, but it gives you great data in real time, too.
It is the essential -- and the only way -- I know how to operate my business. But most like me have faced mental roadblocks that make it difficult to see how transparency and success can exist within the same business. But because transparency breeds authenticity, it's crucial to operate with transparency if you want to achieve your business goals.
First, start by creating a system of open communication with those most important to your business — the customers. Then, take their feedback and own all the failures and successes that can be found in their comments. Make a plan to attack the most common issues your consumers are speaking to you about and encourage them to also play a part in helping you make the corrections.
Now, look at other companies or people who have overcome similar challenges and see what you can learn from them. Spend time every day listening and learning from the people who keep you in business or support you. Transparency is a two-way street that requires you to make the first step and continue to share and encourage as things change in your life and business.
In real estate dealings, for example, you can find people from all over the world who have had a bad experience with a real estate agent. Instead of ignoring this, ask your customer to detail their experience and encourage them to give feedback so you can create an improved experience for them and others alike.
The road to transparent communications may be tough if you aren't used to it. That's OK — because when you practice transparency in your life or business, not only are the day-to-day challenges more fun, but you can reroute your stress and growth to help you focus on the value you deliver daily to those who support you and your business. Transparency, simply put, can help you grow, open your audience base, drive sales, improve your customer experience and much more. Creating an open and honest line of communication in and around your business can encourage more people to give you a shot.