When did people stop being genuine? In our uber-competitive world, it seems every gesture is intended or at least construed as self-serving. Professionally, we have all become salesmen; we sell our products, our services, and ourselves. We have become increasingly skeptical and cynical, our actions are premeditated and our lives are scripted. We have a script for our acquaintances, for the telemarketers, and for our customers and clients. “I’m fine, how are you?” (I’ve had a sucky day to end all sucky days); “Thank you, but we are happy with our long-distance service” (I have no idea who my long-distance service provider is, but I am currently watching Forest Gump for the eighth time); and, “It is important to list with an agent who cares about your family and your equity, wouldn’t you agree?” (I have said this so many times that it has lost all meaning and sincerity).
New agents and even the multitudes wanting to take their business to the “next level” are constantly being coached to learn and rehearse The Script until the objections can be overcome in their sleep. Knowing what you might say in a given circumstance is one thing, but spewing forth a rehearsed scene with the passion of a high school science teacher is another.
In all things marketing, I continue to believe that we should think like the consumers we in fact are. How would this ad impress you? Would that brochure inspire you to purchase the home or consider employing this agent in the future? Is the quality, content and overall flavor of the piece consistent with the image you really want to convey?
Our words are no less important. How do you react to a too-practiced sales pitch? Do you enjoy being pitched at all?
The reality is that we are all ego-driven, and being primarily motivated by self-satisfaction and personal fulfillment is not a character flaw, it is the human condition. Even the kindest, most generous among us practice magnanimity as much for the way it makes us feel good about ourselves as how it might serve another. The bottom line is that we appreciate feeling respected. When we encounter those who patronize or otherwise fail to show us respect, we instinctively dislike or distrust our perpetrator. We feel bad about ourselves, and we transfer this emotion.
What this has to do with real estate is this – Your potential clients do not want to feel preached to, lectured to, or minimized, and they don’t want to feel like members of the audience of a show that has run too long. If you ever saw the movie Ground Hog Day, you will remember Bill Murray reliving the same day over and over again. With each dawn, and knowing exactly what was coming, his days were lived increasingly by rote, and with each successful hit of the rewind button, a little more passion and sincerity was lost.
Knowing what to expect in our industry, the potential questions, concerns and objections, is a good thing – It’s called experience. Losing the desire to truly connect with your clients, to listen, and to converse versus talk is another – It is called disrespect.
I received a call last week. It came from the loan officer for the buyer of one of our listings, made under the auspices of confirming the appraiser’s point of contact. Keep in mind that escrow had already opened and service providers had been selected.
Lender Person: I see you will be using (name of Title Company). That’s great. How would you feel if I told you that you could save your client 10% on their Title policy?
Me: What’s your point?
Lender Person: I’m sure you have a Title Rep you like to use, but I know a fabulous rep (gives name) who would give you a 10% discount. Wouldn’t you like that?
Me: Thank you, but I have an established relationship with a Title Rep who provides excellent services and competitive fees.
Lender Person: So, you don’t want to save your clients 10%?
Me: We’re set, but thank y-
Lender Person: So, I assume your Rep will offer you the same 10% discount?
Eeew. Can you say “RESPA”? I immediately felt the urge to shower.
I hate being patronized, I loathe being belittled, and I despise being “sold”. I suspect I am not alone. If I am ever guilty of intentionally treating another, personally or in business, in this single-purpose, transparently self-serving and disrespectful manner, demand my resignation. If we can’t say it with soul, we have nothing to say.Related posts: