According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report, just 56% of consumers trust the businesses around them and it seems that commercial brokers rank pretty low on that spectrum.

It’s incredibly difficult to help people achieve great results without trust because they’re likely to second-guess your intentions. Brokers have to pick a side and stick to it, regardless of profits.

The need for transparency, conflict avoidance and trust in a complex, digital market has already transformed many industries. In law, accounting and banking, conflicts of interest no longer cut it because consumers demand more.

Over the years commercial real estate brokerages have become an antiquated industry stuck in the past, meaning more conflicts than ever are popping up thanks to old-school brokers desperate to maintain the status quo. If the industry continues down this path, the next generation of tenants and owner-users won’t stand for it.

To have any chance at running a transparent commercial real estate brokerage, a radical approach is suggested. The following strategies are advised for trust to permeate from your commercial brokerage according to

  1. Practice ‘TRICKLE DOWN’ Transparency.

A fish rots from the head down. If your company lacks transparency, it’s because your leadership team isn’t living it. Any fundamental shift to transparency must start at the top.

You can’t foster an environment where some practice transparency and others don’t. It is critical to form a united front around transparency, protect it and disassociate with anyone who doesn’t value it. Keeping the wrong people on board to try and “rehabilitate” them can poison the rest of the company and tell everyone that you don’t genuinely value transparency.

  1. Refocus on Integrity.

To start working in a more transparent model, make integrity a priority. Highlight situations where you see it practiced, using them as examples of the way things should be throughout the organization.

Brokers inevitably face situations that challenge both their personal integrity and the integrity of their companies. Use those lessons as a foundation for your brokerage’s new transparent structure.

  1. Make Sure your Partners are on the Same Page.

Whenever you agree to work with anyone new (whether it’s an employer, a developer or a vendor) do a cultural assessment to see where you align and where you disagree. If you disagree on too many core values, it might be best to break ties.

Be upfront about your own wishes for the culture of your firm. Make a list of non-negotiable values and others that you’d like to present in an ideal world. You can then use that list to develop a process to learn about the other party to check alignment.

Converse with people to gather references and information about previous employers and employees. You don’t have to achieve full alignment immediately but creating a dialogue about values will start you off on the right track.

You can’t single-handedly change an entire industry, especially one with such deeply ingrained conflicts at its heart. You know what you can do, though? Prioritize transparency above everything else and revolutionize your own little corner of that industry.

Conflicts of interest have been the norm for too long, it’s time to shake things up! Don’t you think?


About the writer:

Shaura Cuyan writes about all the hottest Real Estate trends and predictions for Summit VA Solutions! She has previously written for a number of freelancing gigs and writes her own blog on lifestyle and current issues. She is a Graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Communication, taking up her Masters in Development Communication.

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