I took my family to IHOP for a late breakfast (or early lunch) today around 11am or so, and I was surprised to see that there was a wait of about 15 minutes before we could be seated. We sat on some long cushioned benches together while we waited. I like to “people watch”, partially because I just like trying to figure people out, and partly because I might see someone that I know. The longstanding joke with my wife is that we will likely always see someone that I know if we go anywhere remotely crowded.
While we were sitting there, some people came and sat right next to me. When I say “right next to me”, I mean RIGHTNEXTTOME. They were too close, and I felt like it was a minor invasion of my personal space. To be sure, there are things that are more uncomfortable, but it ranks up there with being stuffed into a skyscraper elevator for me.
I thought about our personal mental space, and how easy it is to feel pressured or stressed over decisions or critical events. When I am dealing with my buyers and sellers, I always try to be mindful of this.
I have witnessed many agents who seem completely oblivious to their clients’ mental state, forging ahead blindly trying to close the deal. In my humble opinion, this is probably manifested in other areas. In other words, the agents and brokers who try to cram their clients into a sale are the same people who treat waiters badly, or step on neighbors’ toes, or cut you off in traffic. All of these are symptomatic of the same disease, which is narcissism.
Narcissistic agents are my least favorite to deal with during a transaction, because they are the least giving, and least willing to sacrifice on behalf of their clients. They are the same ones that I find myself speaking about when I say, “How does this person make any money in real estate? They are so difficult to get along with!”
Unfortunately, I find myself saying that far too often. I’m sure you have heard a potential client say, “Well, I haven’t really had very good experiences with Realtors in the past.” I am always quick to respond, “Me, neither!” Feel free to steal this line if you like.
What is my overarching point here?
It’s simple. We are paid to serve as fiduciaries for our clients. If you are new to the business, I will let you look that one up in the glossary or on Google. For the rest of you, consider the ramifications of this word. It sounds harmless enough, but it has a pretty deep meaning.
A true fiduciary is supposed to put his/her client’s interest ahead of his/her own needs or wants, right? Are you doing this with every transaction? I know that I have probably had a handful of sales (most of them early in my real estate career) which probably fell into a gray area. In other words, maybe I was a bit pushy. Not today, however. I am proud to state that I have never been threatened with a lawsuit, nor have I had to undergo a mediation for any sale. I would like to keep it that way, which is why I take my fiduciary responsibility seriously. Building relationships based on mutual trust is the only way to build a proper real estate business, at least in my mind.
Respect your client’s mental space, and do your very best to put their needs first. You’ll be glad you did.
Copyright 2008 Austin Homes Jason Crouch