21 February 2011

Never say never...or always!

I spend a lot of time reading. I love history, I love classic and sports cars, I love politics. However, most of what I find myself reading these days has to do with business, specifically, the real estate business.

I just got done driving Berna to a showing in Stansbury Park with a new client. I've been fighting the flu, so I didn't go in with her. While sitting in the car, boredom kicked in, and I started "surfing" on my phone. One of the first stories I saw was a story on MSN entitled "7 signs that it's time to dump your real estate agent". Naturally, I was intrigued, as I participate on many forums where we talk about when to potentially "dump" a troublesome client! I wanted to know how many of these things might apply to Berna and I (mostly I!).

Happily, I didn't find any that applied to us, in my unbiased opinion. But, it also occurred to me that all this information floating around out there, is only good to a point. I hesitate to use words like "always" or "never" or "all" or other terms that paint things with a broad brush. Statements like "all used car salesmen are snakes" would be an example. Conversely, it stands to reason that I won't "always" or "never" do something in this business, unless it's illegal or unethical. For example, there's a very good chance I won't always preview every house prior to showing it to a client. Could be a number of reasons for this. Maybe we're already familiar with it. Most likely though, it's because our clients don't actually know what they want, even if they think they do, until they've seen a few homes and we've seen their reactions and conversed. It's not that they are hiding anything. It's just that while we may go through tens of thousand of homes in our career, chances are that our clients will only ever see a couple dozen. 

I also disagree with "never go out with a client until they've been pre-qualified".  Not a bad idea, on the surface. However, in many cases, if you won't someone else will! Maybe they are still on the fence. Should we show them 50 houses first? Probably not. On the other hand, if we don't take them out when they want to, we are giving up one of our major advantages: Berna is the ultimate "people" person. It seems that there is no one in Tooele she doesn't know. She somehow finds a way to bond with a buyer like no one I've seen. If we "never" show a buyer before qualifying, we'd be cutting our own throats! On the other hand, if we can't build rapport with a client between the two of us, we probably need to pass, for their good as well as our own!

About the only other issue I had with the article was the portion about "breaking up". Like everything else in this article, the unspoken word was communication. In the case of a break up, most clients don't know that they likely don't have a contract with the agent, but rather it's with the Broker. Many Brokerages will hold a client to the contract, simply transferring the client to a different agent. We don't have that ability, or frankly that desire. I'm not interested in working with a client that isn't interested in working with us. If they're unhappy, best to let them go without a fight. Of course, I never say never... 


 
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