Is There Value In Giving Free Advice?
We’ve all been there. A guy is talking to another guy at a party and it turns out that the first guy is a doctor. The second guy asks him about a pain he is having. What is the usual response? “It’s most likely nothing but if the pain persists then go see your doctor”. I get the feeling that it’s part of medical school training. Deflect the question….don’t answer the question…under any circumstances. Actually, there are variations of this inquiry from a member of the public to someone in any profession whether it be lawyer, accountant or dentist. The responses are often non-committal thus proving the point that free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it.
So why don’t we have a canned responses to the millions of questions everyone asks a Realtor? “What’s my house worth”?, “What did that house sell for”?, “Any good deals out there”?. The list goes on. The truth is…we probably think we have to. I mean if I don’t give it them, they’ll just get the answer from someone else. Does that essentially mean that we don’t see value in what we do for a living? No, I don’t think so. I would look at it differently. Part of the reason I sell real estate is to help people buy or sell a home. It’s the perfect job. The satisfaction, when you do a good job, is off the charts. I like to help people. The problem is that some of us don’t know when to stop.
A few agents I talked to said that they are happy to give advice but it is important to recognize the signs that you are being mined for information and act accordingly. You have to ask yourself if that casual curiosity turned into something more? If it has then it’s time to move on to the next phase of the conversation… “lets meet early next week, it will give me some time to do a bit of research so I can give you the RIGHT answers”. In this conversation the execution is everything. Stopping them in their tracks and postponing it to a later time and day makes the encounter serious. The truth is that there is value in giving free advice. Helping people is in our DNA, just don’t let someone take advantage of your knowledge.
mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.