Some people are just better at gift giving then others. They are born with that thoughtfulness bone and use it to its full advantage. Combine a thoughtfulness bone with marketing of one’s entrepreneurial spirit and you can cook up a mighty happy client pool. We have known agents that are really good at keeping in touch with clients. Heck before we were in real estate, our door step was graced with a cute seasonal chotchkey every few months and a business card from our own real estate agent at the time. It kept her fresh in our mind and was a step above the annual Christmas card from the agents that had decided our subdivision was their target market.
No matter what field you are in, inducing someone to do business with you is sort of the core aspect of being in business to begin with. Inducement efforts can look like a lot of things: a focus on having the best quality product in a genre, beating out a competitors pricing, having a high quantity of transactions or advancing your own expertise and growing a niche specialty are all strategies that are effectively used to gain clients. In today’s world of Facebook, twitter, and foursquare, you can make connections with a long lost high school classmate, a colleague in a different field or the d-backs fan that you have never met before that is sitting at the other end of the bar from you-but so can about 20 million other people. How do you use social media and the often times free tools it offers to make yourself stand out?
This very topic came up as we dined at a local mexican restaurant for the first time recently. Of course we used our droids to check in and see if there were any specials for having done so. No cool 5¢ margarita or free appetizer-so we scrolled the list of “tips” left by those that had dined there before to get input on what was really good on this new to us menu. What we saw ignited a conversation that swirled around “wow thats a great use of this platform” but something was nagging at us. Finally one of us looked at the other and said- is that “allowed?” The tip was from a local real estate agent and they touted this dining establishment as one of their teams “favorites”- followed by “buy or sell with us and earn (establishments special gift card money) as a thank you gift.”
I (Jessie) sat in Real Estate classes and distinctly remember it being hammered into my head that we could not “give” our clients anything of value more then $50 without it being considered inducement. I scribbled notes on this concept in my r.e. class notebook but I can not find this topic written anywhere in the actual manual from school, or in any Code of Ethics documents. Plus I know real estate agents that often give their clients flat screen t.v.’s, new fridges and pay for inspections or home warranties as thank you gifts, so was I told wrong? Did the teacher that day go off on a personal tangent? Or is there something to this all?
So Internets—give us your 2 cents (or more) Where do you see the line when it comes to inducement and ethics?