Veterans Day always makes me think of heroes. When I meet a veteran, I instantly feel a sense of trust, appreciation and respect toward them. They make commitments and sacrifices that most will not.
In the business community, building trust and appreciation is a completely different process for me. Trust and respect are mandatory qualities for all of our business relationships. These qualities are non-negotiable for several reasons.
First, our company provides real estate-related services to senior citizens who are in a state of transition. This is an extremely vulnerable population and many businesses take advantage of them. Because our clients are in a state of transition, they need several other related services we do not provide. We have a fiduciary duty to protect our client’s best interest. To us, this duty extends to the vendors we refer our clients to.
Consider this true case that happened in Tucson. An estate planning attorney referred an elderly widow client to a real estate agent to sell her house. The agent soon realized the widow had no idea what her home was worth. The agent proceeded to buy it for $150,000 under value. The estate planning attorney had a fiduciary duty to protect their client. Did the attorney violate their duty by not vetting the real estate agent?
I have come to know thousands of business owners through my relationship with SCORE, the professional referral groups I manage and our real estate business. Most of them do not put enough emphasis on creating a culture of honesty, integrity and of consistently placing their client’s needs ahead of their own. When we find the rare organization that does, we can comfortably refer business to them and fulfill our fiduciary duty to our clients.
We cherish these business relationships because they are so hard to find. To us, there is something heroic about these business owners. They make commitments and sacrifices that most do not.