in my opinion and experience, although buyer representation is not common in NYC, and the vast majority of agents also do not operate that way either in Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau counties, it doesn't mean you can't start. When I started representing buyers nine years ago, I was up against all kinds of hurdles mostly from other agents who could not understand the concept.
It's not just a matter of having a buyer sign an agreement, the benefits of your representation needs to be clearly explained during a face to face consultation which for me can last anywhere between 1.5 to 3 hours. You absolutely can develop that loyalty and trust if done right. Once an agreement has been signed, I do not have the common problem of losing buyers to other agents and feeling frustrated that I wasted my time. I call it a marriage for the period of time we are working together and it really has been a wonderful experience for me often extending beyond the real estate transaction. It's a learning process for many agents and a different skill set that takes a little while to perfect. I had one agent from NJ, attempt to shoot me down recently, because he said there was no difference in service, but I don't care what anybody online thinks, I know who I am, what I am capable of and what I am accomplishing. Elena you can do it to too, be one of the first to make baby changes in NYC. Mostly you will distinguish yourself from your fellow agents, it's totally rewarding and will pay off in the end if you are consistent. Look at it this way, you wouldn't take an open listing with a seller, so why with a buyer. All the best.