It’s part of our fiduciary duty, it’s part of agency law, and it’s a key piece of building the trust necessary for successful business relationships.
When a client knows that you will keep all of their private information confidential, they are willing to share more information, be more honest and be more vulnerable. You’ll get deeper answers to questions which will enable you to help them make better decisions. The role of trusted advisor is not to be taken lightly – and to be trusted, you must be worthy of this trust. This includes a commitment to confidentiality, forever.
The obvious place where this applies is during offer negotiations. In the CNE and MCNE negotiation courses, we talk a lot about the sharing of information to create a collaborative win/win outcome that meets the needs of both parties. This seems to set up a tension between confidentiality and the crucial sharing of information necessary for successful negotiations. How you handle this tension is a sure sign of your negotiation skills. What you share with the other side is deliberate and strategic and has been agreed to by your client. The purpose of the sharing of information is in service of the transaction and not for any other reason. A top negotiator never discloses anything by mistake.
Confidentiality is critical to your success and it’s easy to get it wrong. Everything about a client is confidential and can only be shared if they agree. Even that they are a client is private. If you are out with friends blabbering away about this client and that client, you can be sure that those friends will think twice before hiring you and trusting you with their personal information.
In real estate, there is a benefit to sharing some information in negotiations and you and your client will work together to plan your strategy and be deliberate in what you share. In coaching – there is no reason to share a client’s private information.
I had a conversation yesterday that shocked me. Someone was telling me about a coaching relationship they had with a different real estate coaching company and that their personal and intimate information had been shared with a third-party supplier without their consent. It was a total trigger for me. I had a similar experience when I worked with EMyth for my own coaching needs and they shared my coaching files with both the coach liaison and another coach in their organization without my permission. I felt violated and angry. I immediately fired the coaching company and have been leery about being vulnerable in professional settings since.
At The Nature of Real Estate – we take confidentiality seriously. Everything a client shares with their coach stays with the coach. If they share with me, it is with the client’s consent. We never share our clients details with a third party. We don’t share the details about a team member with the team lead who is often paying for the coaching. We don’t even tell anyone who we are coaching unless the client wants people to know. All of this ensures a safe environment for our clients to share what matters, to dig deeper into their challenges and to build a deep trusting relationship with their coach which is necessary to do the important work of creating sustainable success.
Do the same for your real estate clients and you will reap huge benefits in the quality of your relationships, the success of your negotiations, your repeat and referral business and your ability to attract new clients.