By Bob Scullin, CEO, SIOR

Loyalty and Commitment

What did successful brokers do? What separated them from the herd and allowed them to achieve success while their peers were rapidly falling to the bottom of the corporate stack ranking? I think that there are two components contributing to success in brokerage: loyalty and commitment. Bring together loyalty and commitment with regard to anything and you have a powerful force in favor of whatever cause is being advanced. 

Take the Wright Brothers, for example. They worked with great dedication to their cause. They expended so much time, focus and energy trying to figure out how to help man to fly. Such a lofty concept generates loyalty and commitment in the extreme. Nobody would have worked for free to help build those newfangled Wright Fliers, but people would fall over themselves to help mankind realize its vision to fly.

When it came to the civil rights movement, we heard Martin Luther King boldly pronounce, “I have a dream.” He did not say, “I have a plan.” His plan was what he wanted to get done. Instead he emphasized the visionary element of his plan. A lot of people were concerned about civil rights, but Martin Luther King had a dream. Loyalty and commitment to his dream helped change the world for the better.

The motivation behind what the Wright brothers and Martin Luther King set out to accomplish was more important than what they actually accomplished. A lot of people will work for money to help achieve a business plan, but they will give their blood to help you accomplish a dream. You can’t buy loyalty or commitment, but you can earn them.

Loyalty Generates Commitment

This is precisely how successful brokers became successful. They earned loyalty among their clients, and client loyalty generated commitment as the reward for hard work over many years. But those years consisted of days, weeks and months over which successful brokers evidenced concern for the best interest of clients. Successful brokers keep in constant contact with their clients, building relationships and demonstrating dedication to something beyond themselves.

When it comes right down to it, brokers are salespersons who are attempting to sell something. Buyers know when they are being sold, and they also realize that the broker is compensated for the sale. On some basic level they may resent being used for the broker’s enrichment, but successful brokers manage to close sales without generating resentment from buyers because buyers know that those brokers have their clients’ interests at heart.

Successful brokers fulfill client requirements, but they primarily look out for the well-being of their clients. Loyalty which invites commitment is the key differentiator for a successful brokerage career. Broker loyalty and commitment invite reciprocity from clients, and together they are the basis for lasting business relationships.

Loyalty Generates Commitment

Recently my old PC was fading fast and I had to make a decision on what new computer I would buy. That’s when I got to experience what true loyalty meant. I had friends pulling me one way and the other, telling me that I should buy a Sony, a Dell or a Mac. The Mac people were passionate in their belief that it was a mistake not to buy a Mac. But nobody was passionate in favor of the Sony or the Dell because it was just another computer.

Buying a Mac meant becoming one of the insiders who were hip and avant-garde. The loyal Mac people kept telling me that I needed to buy the Mac because of the image that came with it. In the minds of the committed Mac people I had to choose between a commodity and a lifestyle.

The Mac people would stand in lines that wound around the block at the Apple Store so that they could purchase each new innovation on the very first day that it became available. The fact that they could have bought the latest iPhone, iPod, iPad or Mac a week later without standing in line did not factor into their decisions. To fully embrace the lifestyle meant having the newest Apple toy before anybody else had a chance to get one. They are loyal and committed people.

Such loyalty to a brand generates commitment in much the same way that loyalty to a broker generates commitment to the broker. But remember that relationship is a two-way street: the loyalty of the client must be reciprocated by the loyalty of the broker. On that two-way street there are obligations which bind together successful brokers and clients.

What Is the Difference?

All competent brokers know how to do their job, and the best ones even know how to do it well. Successful brokers do the same things that their competitors do in the same way that their competitors do them. Does it really make any difference to a potential client which broker he hires to do an assignment? After all, all brokers are the same, right? No, that’s not right.

Principals who are loyal and committed to a broker who has earned their trust would not think of working with a different broker. Those brokers stand out from the crowd and deserve their success as the by-product of a job well done in the interest of their clients.

Am I saying that unless you can generate loyalty and commitment from among your personal clients that in the long run you will not be a successful broker? Yes, that’s exactly what I am saying.