The Trusted Advisor — Character and Competence in the Real Estate Industry

In today’s world with so much information being shared, whether it’s in business or in life, everyone is looking for a trusted advisor.  The most important element of any relationship is trust. Trust comes down to two very simple concepts: character and competence. Character is all about who you are, while competence is about what you know.

If people like you and if they know you as a person of high character but one who is still building professional competencies — in other words, you do not know very much about the business you’re in— they may still work with you or refer you, but expect them to be on guard.

Conversely, if people know you as a person of high competence but don’t see you as a person of high character, they may still work with you because they know you perform your craft at a very high level.

Now let’s take the best of both worlds: a scenario in which people know you as both a person of high character and of high competence. They will work with you and refer you business all day long. As a business person or salesperson, that’s the place you want to be — a trusted advisor.

When I first got into the real estate industry, I did not know much about the business itself so I had to rely on people who knew me as a person of high character to help me develop my professional skills. These people saw me as someone with strong values and standards. They knew me — and still do — as a hard worker.  During those “formative years,” the challenge was gaining people’s trust without knowing much about the business of real estate.

It was a scary proposition.  Like others in the field, I had to meet people face-to-face and ask them to trust me to sell what was likely the largest investment of their lives. That was a tall order for them. For someone to allow me to do that — knowing that I was new to the business and inexperienced — took a great deal of courage and trust on their part.

For that, I am extremely grateful.

Over time, I have gained competence — and confidence — in my business skills. I did so not only because I wanted to develop personally, but also because to succeed in this business meant that I owed it to the people who were putting their trust in me to acquire the knowledge to be capable and worthy of the risk they took in hiring me.

Real estate has been very good to me, not only as a sustainable career path, but as an opportunity to develop special relationships. I have built hundreds of relationships in the 15 years I’ve been in this business, and honestly I have found some of my best friends as a result of it.

Friendship contains a strong aspect of trust. But to become a trusted advisor in business requires time, patience, and the willingness to continually become better at the skills I have developed — not only for the glory of personal achievement, but also, and more importantly, to return on the investment made in me by those I serve.

As with every aspect of business — and life — real estate can throw some curve balls. When I awake each morning, I look to embrace the good in the coming day as well as the challenges, for it is through these challenges that I learn, grow, and become better as an agent, a businessman, a friend, a member of the community around me, a leadership figure, and so many other roles that I undertake.

As I move forward in this business I look forward to the new relationships that will be developed and I look forward to deepening existing relationships. Thanks to all who have allowed me to be their trusted advisor.

The late, great Jim Rohn, an entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker coined the expression:  “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.”

People in today’s world are skeptical, not only of realtors, but of just about any salesperson. They are immunized, in a way, to salespeople, whom they often see as interested only in making a deal and collecting a check.

People want to work with those they can trust so my wish for you is that you develop the highest level of character and competence so you can achieve your goals as well.

If you’re interested in following my journey, I am always looking to develop, mentor, teach, and assist individuals who want to enter this profession. If you feel inspired to join me, I am very interested to work with people who have gotten a taste of real estate or sales and know they want to know more. Please feel free to reach out to me either by email at or by phone at 443-219-0190.


This article has been updated since it was originally published in February 2014.