Doing good better: How real estate agents can save lives (and the planet)
Real estate professionals are among the most generous people in the world.
To members of the public that may sound like a bold statement, with the public perception often centring around thoughts of commission-hungry salespeople, extracting every last dollar from vulnerable buyers.
But the truth is, most people in the real estate industry are not driven by money. We are inherently people pleasers. Motivated by our desire to make our clients happy, and by the sense of achievement that comes from completing a sale.
We are attracted to a career in sales because we crave excitement and the freedom that comes from knowing our fate is in our own hands.
Financial remuneration is, of course, important. And it's usually the way we measure our success. But most agents don't work out their 'cut' of the commission before a property sells. We simply know that if we make sales, our income will be great. Most agents I know are more driven by the idea of being number 1 in their office, than by increasing their income by $30k compared to last year.
One of the side effects of this generous, people-pleasing disposition is that we often say 'yes' to random requests for donations. When the local sports club rings up asking for a contribution, we say yes because it feels good to help, and because we hate saying no.
It's the same people-pleasing part of us that says 'yes' when a buyer asks to view our listing at 10 am on a Saturday morning. Even though we know we should be home with our family on our one day off each week.
The problem with saying yes to everything is that we don't measure our contributions. And if you don't measure something, how do you know if it's working or not?
The common ad-hoc approach to giving and donating also represents a lost opportunity to find meaning in what we do. Sporadic contributions provide a short term dose of endorphins the first time we say yes. But after a few years, it can start to feel like we are simply giving money away because we don't know how to say no.
What if you had a plan behind your giving?
How about a cause you could get behind. That you could champion. A cause that most importantly, needed your support. Where you know your contributions are making a significant impact.
What does this look like in practice?
Straight after you set your financial income target for the year, I suggest you also decide how much you plan to set aside for doing some good in the world. For most people, this will range somewhere from 1% - 10% of their overall income.
Remember, you can also consider this somewhat of a marketing contribution since doing good in the world is a great way to attract kind-hearted clients who care about the same causes that you do.
Who to give to
Most people currently base this decision off personal experience or relationships. We give to the local rugby club because we used to play rugby. We give to the cancer society because we lost a family member to cancer. Or perhaps to an Alzheimer's foundation because we know someone affected.
But how do we know that is the most good our money can do?
The most effective charities have vastly higher levels of impact than the average options.
For instance, did you know that in developing countries you can save a human life for as little as $3,000?
How? By funding medicine that protects children from malaria, which currently kills over 400,000 people annually, mostly children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. Every $7 donated protects one child.
Think about that for a moment. Think how incredible you would feel if you saved a child by rescuing them from a burning building. Or if you saved someone from drowning at your local beach.
You would ride that euphoria for the rest of your life. But did you know you could literally achieve the same outcome for an amount of money some people spend on a new suit? Certainly far less than the price of a new car.
Or consider this: The most effective climate crisis charities can avert 1 ton of CO2 from going into the atmosphere for as little as $1 USD. Yes, you read that right: $1. You could offset your personal carbon emissions for an entire year for approximately $7.
Note: The average individual carbon footprint is around 7 tons per year.
And these are just two examples. Your money can do so much good if you let it.
If your income goal for the year is $100k and you plan to set aside $5k for donations, then you could save a life ($3,000) and offset the carbon emissions for your extended family and all your clients (285 people @ $7 each).
Not bad for a year's work.
How does this help you get more business?
That's easy. You tell your clients what you do.
At the bottom of each and every listing presentation, you could have a note reading:
"A portion of every sale goes towards fighting global poverty and reversing global warming. So far we have funded life-saving malaria medicine for 300 children and averted 700 tons of carbon emissions. "
Your clients likely care about these issues too and they will enjoy knowing some of the money they pay for your services is going towards a good cause.
You could send a letter to every buyer and seller after each sale, with a message like:
"Dr Mrs & Mrs Smith,
Thank you for using Agent Monday real estate. As a small token of our appreciation, we have made a donation to the Carbon Critical Net-Zero fund*, this donation will avert 100 tons of CO2 from being sent into our atmosphere. This is equivalent to taking 50 petrol cars off the road for a whole year.
Thank you again for choosing our company. We value your business."
I don't know about you, but if I'm a client and I get that letter, I'm pretty darn stoked.
It doesn't sound cocky or arrogant. It sounds thoughtful, caring and topical.
Ready to make difference? Keen to know where to donate to get these kinds of results?
Use the link below to book a free 30-minute consultation and together, we'll come up with a 'doing good better' plan for your business.
Book a consult using Calendly.
I look forward to speaking with you.
For more on this subject, check out a recent podcast I recorded that will introduce you to the book that taught me everything I know about doing good better...
*The author (Andrew Duncan) is a director of Carbon Critical Limited, which administers the Net-Zero Fund.