Why the real estate industry does nothing about agent incompetence

by 23 Sep 2015
By John Tenpenny

Research shows that the real estate industry is not alone in its struggle about what to do with incompetence and that the solution may be easier than its implementation.

At a recent presentation to the real estate industry Dan Ariely, a professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, shared research showing why change is unlikely anytime soon.

According to Ariely, the incompetence issue has been so difficult to address because it is easier for people to do nothing than it is to make a decision and to take action on it.

One reason the public tolerates incompetent agents is that competent agents seldom show their clients the work they do on their behalf, he said.

“When you work with clients, are you conveying the efforts of what you do for them? They only see how many houses you show them. They have no idea about the houses that you didn’t show them.”

The National Association of Realtors reports that the typical consumer knows 12 agents. Ariely’s research shows that consumers do a poor job in comparing options and evaluating tradeoffs.

To increase the chances of getting hired, Ariely suggested that agents should list the services they provide in a grid, then place a checkmark beside each service listed.

Then make at least three more columns where clients can compare services with competitors. Because incompetent agents will be unprepared to provide the items on the list, they will probably fail to convert the lead.