…to be unresponsive!
About two years ago, when I first interviewed Barbara Corcoran, I was amazed to experience first-hand that she answered her own phone and dialed her own numbers when she needed to be on a call. Realistically, she probably can’t do that 100% of the time, but the intent was there.
I don’t reach out to people unnecessarily, but when I do, there’s usually a good reason. I make the same assumption about anyone who is calling me.
There is nothing more impolite and disrespectful than someone having to leave more than 2 messages, one email, and wait, only never to get a response.
I return every call…
(The average call takes 2 minutes).
I respond to every email…
(The average email takes 30 seconds to write).
And whenever I can…I send a handwritten note!
When I’m extremely busy, it takes me longer to respond than I’d like – but I still respond. I never know where that next call is going to lead me. I never make a predetermination of where a new business relationship is coming from.
Being responsive is common sense as much as it is good business practice
Susan Stellin wrote an article in Sunday’s New York Times that is sure to rustle some feathers. The article discusses the commission model and negotiability of this (or not) in the current environment.
My feathers aren’t rustled, but I am certainly bewildered at the lack of collective insight about how this business and the expectation of clients has evolved, both by the Stellin, and by some of the people that she quotes.
My favorite: “At a certain price point, 6 percent just feels vulgar.”
I am never nauseous when I pay top dollar at the Apple Store for an iPad or an iPod Touch. Apple’s seamless service and their product innovation is worth every penny – to me!
Sure, I might be able to get a similar product for cheaper, but that’s not the product or experience I’m interested in.
I am never upset when I pay FedEx to ship a package to me when I want it. Their reliability, their tracking mechanisms and their ease of use is worth every penny – to me!
Sure, I can use another carrier to ship it more inexpensively, but will I get the package, in one piece, on time, every time?
My money manager at the hedge fund charges me a higher fee than the online mass-market trader online. His knowledge, insight and the strategy I get, along with personal service, is worth every penny (and seen in my ROI).
It is DIFFICULT to find high-level service.
This takes time, effort, attention to detail, expertise and money in order to create it.
Companies who offer high level service are rare, but are usually worth every penny.
It is EASY to get things for cheap these days.
Anyone can deliver that! (And it seems that everyone is trying to).
Discount companies with mass-market appeal have their place.
But it isn’t always wise to be penny wise and pound-foolish.
When it comes to buying or selling a home, I would imagine that it is smarter to work with innovative experts who are knowledgeable and who deliver high touch service and results.
After all, a home is probably the largest purchase or sale you are going to deal with for a while.
Wouldn’t it be wise to use the best – not the cheapest?
I certainly think so!
In real estate, how true is it that one shouldn’t mix business with pleasure?
Who’s to say business shouldn’t be fun? Since we were little kids, weren’t we taught that you need to have fun doing what you do, that you should follow what makes you happy?
Shortly after a recent closing, I was told by the buyer, “To be honest Harsha, I don’t think I would have bought an apartment had I not had so much fun viewing with you.”
The whole “does the apartment come with you?” line has been laughed about for a long time, but how much truth is there in it? Do buyers really buy an apartment and commit to a mortgage to impress a sales agent, who to be brutally honest, they may never see again after the closing?
A couple of apartments I’ve sold in London and New York have been to younger men, in their thirties, single and wealthy, both bachelor pads. Do I feel guilty? No. Both times I’ve believed in the investment, both times they’ve been undervalued, and in this recent case, bought for marginally less than the seller paid for it.
But there is an etiquette that needs to be confirmed between the broker and the buyer. Who pays for the cabs to viewings? For the brunches and coffees on weekend viewings? And who pays for the celebration dinners? And if you are friendly through the buying process, do you stay friends after? Had you not been so friendly during the process of buying would you not have had their loyalty? How friendly do we need to be? Does that change with the markets?
For the few years I’ve been in real estate I’ve come across two friends of mine in the business who have both married their buyers. Both buyers bought apartments purely to marry their brokers. One of which sold the apartment shortly after winning their bride, for a profit nonetheless. These days in some cases, is buying real estate securing both a spouse and a home in one?
Establishing a relationship with your buyer as a broker is important. Gaining their loyalty is even more important. As a young, cute British broker in New York City, I’d love some advice. What are the rules? Are buyers considering viewings “dates” and if we are initiating these dates, are we in fact “leading them on”?
To me, business is pleasure, and pleasure is business. Is that wrong?