Take A Client For Granted?

By
Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Exclusively, Wenatchee, WA

My best client almost left me the other day. Oh, sure it wasn't intentional and I am not sure that he was even thinking of leaving it was just what happened and even worse what the results (long term) could have been.

I have a very good client that buys 4-6 properties from me a year and I also sell about the same number for him plus I usually get 3-4 referrals from him too. We probably talk once a day, go to lunch once a week and many other contacts too. And all that said I almost blew it. Didn't mean too. Just got busy and took him for granted and assumed.

A house came on the MLS that he wanted to see. I was pretty sure it was not what he was looking for but I did not tell him. Also, usually in the morning I will drive by the property in question, perhaps preview it and let him know. But I was busy. He called I told him lets do it later today. Ok... but then I got busier and I figured...he'll understand and we can go in the morning. About 2PM I tried to call and let him know but his line was busy so I left a message... I was busy remember so i didn't call back (I left a message). I didn't hear from him the rest of the evening.

Next morning I called him at 9Am "lets go". He told he had already made an appointment with a Realtor in the office next to his to go through it at 10AM. UGH!!!!!!!! So what if they make an offer... will that lead to more offers?? OMG!

Happy Ending. The property was not right (as I was sure but had not told him so) and nothing happened. I got going dug up a property and we made an offer the next day. WHEW. A reprieve.

I let my business get in the way of business. I got too busy. I did not pick up on how important he felt it was. And the worst part... when he told me he had made an appointment with another Realtor he said "Oh, i just figured you were too busy and it wasn't an expensive property anyway" (as if that helps). I won't take for granted again! ANYONE!!

Posted by

Perrin Cornell, Broker, ABR

Century 21 Esclusively

135 N. Missin

Wenatchee, WA 98801

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Ambassador
2,367,095
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Whew!! !   That's what I call dodging a bullet.  Any client who contributes 6-8 transactions a year gets absolute priority. 

I'm sure glad it worked out alright.  We just can assume that someone, no matter how deep the relationship is, is going to take a risk of losing a good investment opportunity.

 

Apr 21, 2007 12:21 PM #10
Rainer
150,001
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

I'm not saying that you can take your existing clients for granted, but loyalty is a two way street.  Would he have ditched his attorney in such a manner?  If he was so hyped up to see the property, did he not owe you a telephone call to let you know that he REALLY wanted to see this property?

Sometimes I think that we bring a lot of this problem on by always being available to our clients, morning, noon and night.  You have a right to a life and the fact of the matter is that sometimes you're going to be busy or have something else to do.  If you've proved yourself to this client before, he should understand and maybe you guys could work something out with one of the newer agents in your office to be able to see property in the event that you are not available??

 

R.B. "Bob" Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc. 

Apr 21, 2007 12:32 PM #11
Rainmaker
605,794
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Pete FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS
It really goes back to the communication, not whether you were available right then. If you had called him, told him you didn't think the property was the right one for him, let him know that you had appointments throughout the day, could either show him the following morning or cancel your appointments - it puts him in the driver's seat, feeling he's important to you, and probably not wanting you to cancel your pre-existing commitments.
Apr 21, 2007 12:37 PM #12
Rainer
85,900
Carol Williams
Nationwide: Self-employed Real Estate Copywriter, Blogger, Photographer and Real Estate Mentor - Wenatchee, WA
Wenatchee Real Estate
Perrin,  This was MY listing.  I would have called him myself but I figured he was YOUR client.  I was also surprised when he looked with another agent.  Sometimes, even if we think we know what our client does or does not want, we have to apease them and let them make that decision for themselves.  Good news, though, I do have a pending on the property STI.
Apr 21, 2007 01:55 PM #13
Rainmaker
113,828
Perrin Cornell
Century 21 Exclusively, Wenatchee, WA - Wenatchee, WA
Broker, ABR

Congrats Carol! As you know I do work closely with this particular client and in a way more careful now.

Yep as everyone is pointing out.... there are lots of good comments including being too available. There is a line. Does the tail wag the dog or the other way around:)

Thanks everyone!

Apr 21, 2007 02:42 PM #14
Rainmaker
111,471
Chris Lengquist
Keller Williams Realty - Olathe, KS

Taking a client for granted can be bad business.  But don't you think he owed you a little respect, as well?  After all, you say you've been with him for years.  How many cherry properties has he gotten first crack at because of his relationship with you?  How many of his referrals have gotten top notch service which in turn makes him look good?

Giving you a few hours or one day every once in a while should not be out of the question.  I agree that you dodged a bullet.  And hopefully have learned.  But I remind my long term clients now and again of the properties they have BECAUSE of their relationship with me.  Sometimes I'm sly, sometimes not so much. 

Apr 21, 2007 02:47 PM #15
Ambassador
1,831,056
Jeff Dowler CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad CA Homes for Sale (760) 840-1360

Wow, close call, Perrin. Good lesson for all of us. Have to always keep in mind how our communication and responses to clients, or lack of, might be perceived by them. Glad it worked out for you.

Jeff

Apr 21, 2007 03:02 PM #16
Rainer
15,044
Michele Webb
RE/MAX Properties, Inc. - Monument, CO
ABR, QSC
You talk to him everyday and have lunch once a week?  Given that, he called another agent that quickly to go look at a property?  Strange.  Glad you dodged the bullet though!
Apr 21, 2007 04:53 PM #17
Rainmaker
113,828
Perrin Cornell
Century 21 Exclusively, Wenatchee, WA - Wenatchee, WA
Broker, ABR

Whwe...hit a chord with everyone. Thanks for all the input.

Michelle he was under a little pressure due to a 1031 time expireing... I think that is why he panicked.

Apr 21, 2007 05:01 PM #18
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Nothing like a story like that to keep us on our toes.  Glad it turned out okay for you, too.
Apr 21, 2007 05:08 PM #19
Ambassador
327,220
Karen Hurst
STONEHURSTREALTY.COM - Warwick, RI
Rhode Island Waterfront!

Perrin,

I would like to say that I use them all the time also, but I use them with first time buyers (first time with me:) I have some investors that I do not use them with because it just doesn't seem like the thing to do. We have oral agreements. This of course does not mean that they have to work exclusively with me:(, so I need to make sure I am there for them. Good post.

Apr 21, 2007 05:23 PM #20
Rainer
7,133
Kelly Taylor
Kelly Taylor - Taylor Realty Services - Mansfield, MO
It's so easy to get that listing and put the ones we actually work for into the file while we romance the buyers and look for the next listing.  Thanks for the wakeup call
Apr 21, 2007 06:22 PM #21
Rainer
127,389
Stefan Scholl
Buyer's Broker of Northern Michigan, LLC - Petoskey, MI
Northern Michigan Real Estate
What a great lesson, Perrin.  Thanks for sharing.  Fortunately it didn't turn out to be an expensive lesson.  I sure wouldn't want to lose a client like yours.
Apr 21, 2007 06:26 PM #22
Rainmaker
111,471
Chris Lengquist
Keller Williams Realty - Olathe, KS

Perrin,

You didn't mention the deadline with the 1031.  That changes my entire comment from earlier.  Shame on you.  :)  Guy was probably freaking like everyone does on day 43. 

Apr 21, 2007 06:34 PM #23
Rainer
122,017
Christy Powers
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Pooler, GA
Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent
It's so true. You can take some clients and friends for granted. I think everyone does it every once in awhile.
Apr 21, 2007 09:47 PM #24
Rainmaker
297,583
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Team of Paradigm AdvantEdge - Edmond, OK
Realtor
Perrin, it's easy for us to get too busy to truly service each client and we generally put our friends and family on the back burner first. That's why it's so important for us to delegate the tasks we can have someone else do, to free up the time to take care of the important things and I would definitely say this friend is one of the important things. Glad to hear it worked out for you in the end. Great lesson learned and thanks for sharing it with us!
Apr 21, 2007 11:27 PM #25
Rainer
58,906
Phillip Cross
TBD - In transition... - Seal Beach, CA
ePRO Realtor - Relocation Spec
Perrin, I too have had something similar occur. I was also very fortunate that I didn't lose the client or the sale. Sometimes, we get so tied up with what is going on that we forget how we earn or business. Referrals or continued business with the same client is often more importatnt than new leads. Recently in fact I have made a point of simply sending past clients a CMA on their home. As well as placing them on my monthly eletter campaigne. Good point and I hope others can learn from this. Thanks for the reminder.
Apr 22, 2007 08:01 AM #26
Rainmaker
113,828
Perrin Cornell
Century 21 Exclusively, Wenatchee, WA - Wenatchee, WA
Broker, ABR

Thanks again to everyone for all the comments.

Ryan you make a good point. One of the problems in our business is balance. It is soooo easy to find your self working 24/7. To avoid that I have finally, 1) set up Thursdays after 4Pm as a more or less date night for my wife and I. We go out togethre and do something we would normally not do. 2) About 60-70% of the time I take Sunday off. 3) Wed afternoon after 3PM I get out of the office for a little R&R for Perrin. These times are blocked out in my calendar. It really helps with the rest of the week. 

Apr 22, 2007 08:50 AM #27
Rainmaker
297,583
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Team of Paradigm AdvantEdge - Edmond, OK
Realtor
Perrin, that's fantastic! I too need to block out more time for regular date nights with my wife. I used to be really good about that and it has been pushed to the wayside with our busy lives. Thanks for the reminder! I think I'll take her out this week!
Apr 22, 2007 08:59 AM #28
Rainmaker
113,828
Perrin Cornell
Century 21 Exclusively, Wenatchee, WA - Wenatchee, WA
Broker, ABR
Thanks again for all the comments. As a followup. I had a sit down with my client. let him know I am never too busy for him nor take him for granted. He indicated he was pulling my chain a little but appreciated our conversation!
May 11, 2007 09:29 AM #29
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Perrin Cornell

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