A lot of us agents here get caught up in the latest marketing craze, the newest tech-gadget, the hottest blog to read, or the cutting edge IDX solution that will DESTROY the competition and GUARANTEE RESULTS!!!11!
But how many of you, regardless of what industry you're in, take time to refine and improve the most important asset we have at our disposal? If you're reading this you already know that I think this asset is our ability to LISTEN.
Whether you want to admit it or not, there are a lot of agents or brokers or inspectors or whatever-your-job-is who are probably just as good as you are skill-wise. Sure you may have twenty years of experience or be an expert in your area, but if you don't the time to listen to your clients and connect with them on a personal level, you're going to have a much tougher time of it than those who do.
And I'm not just talking about hearing your client and writing down all of the pertinent information on your client profile sheet. I'm talking about asking the right questions, about asking about motivations, but most importantly, knowing when to shut up and listen! That's right, I said it!
Case in point: Last Tuesday I received a call from a older gentleman (let's call him Gus) from out of state who wanted to sell a property in Northeast Tucson. Gus mentioned he wanted to get rid of it quickly and wouldn't mind listing it under market value to sell it faster. At this stage many agents would have gone into cruise control and set in motion the process to get the home listed, but something in the Gus's voice gave me pause.
I asked him why he wanted to sell and over the next ten minutes he related to me his life story.
He had met his wife in California during the 1970's when he was in the military. They married and continued to travel the world as he was stationed at several bases across the globe as a pilot, eventually ending up in Tucson in the 90's to settle into retirement. What the didn't plan for, however, was the breast cancer that his wife was diagnosed with just a few short years ago. Sadly his wife passed away recently and he moved to be closer to family while he grieved. Gus still owned the home they lived in together and had called me because he was finally ready to move on and wanted to sell the house.
After relating his story to me, Gus was in a pretty fragile state. It was obvious that he was still in pretty rough shape from losing his wife, and to be honest, I was completely unprepared for what had happened, finding myself at a loss for words. I mumbled something about how sorry I was for his loss, and finally gathered enough of my wits to suggest that maybe Gus should take a bit of time to think about his decision to be sure it was what he wanted to do; the last thing I wanted was to take advantage of someone who was still grieving.
Gus apologized for rambling on about his wife and I assured him I didn't mind at all. He thanked me for taking the time to listen to him and said it might be a good idea to think over his decision to sell the house, but that he would be calling me back either way.
Now I know that this doesn't happen to most people, and it may not happen to anyone ever in their career, but the point is that you have to willing and ready to listen to your clients. Many times people need more than just an agent, they need a confidant and, more importantly, a friend.
I have no doubt in my mind that if Gus decides to go ahead with the home purchase he will give me a call, I could tell he appreciated the fact that I took the time to listen to him and didn't treat him like just another client. It sounds funny, but I wish I could help people out by listening more often.. even if it meant a house I didn't get to list.
I didn't write this post with the goal of making this seem like a life lesson, but in retrospect I suppose it should be. Listening and being compassionate is something we should all strive towards, not only does it make us better at our job, it makes us better people. I hope Gus finds some closure in his life.