I am meeting with a past client this week to talk about listing his home for sale. I really like this man. He’s sent me several referrals over the past years and he’s always talking about me with his friends. We’ve kept in touch and even spent some time together socially. He’s hinted that he wants me to “look after him” when it comes time to sell his place and now I feel really uneasy and unsure about how to handle it. Can you help?
This man is your advocate, president of your fan club, a walking billboard for your business – in short, this guy is nuts about you!! You’ve done something great to make this guy think you walk on water.You say that you are uneasy and unsure about how to handle his hints about “looking after him” when it comes to sell. Here you enter the world of assumptions – likely the most dangerous and expensive realm of psychological self-damage real estate agents put themselves through. At the slightest hint of conflict, we default to the worst possible outcome. We imagine our beloved advocate forcing us to sell his property for a poverty wage and to spend out entire annual marketing budget in the process. We imagine that this is our only hope to secure the future referral business that we have enjoyed in the past.
The best advice for real estate agents like yourself is to take a moment and step away from the fearful place of loss and ask yourself, what else is possible? If this guy knows that we are excellent at what we do (and he does), is he not more interested in getting our best work for his personal benefit? My experience is that most people want the best possible outcome when they work with a realtor. The best outcome is usually a combination of financial benefits, terms, and the quality of experience.
Why make assumptions and worry about what he wants when you have another choice. Are you ready for it? Ask him! Very simply, “Mr. Advocate – I am thrilled for the opportunity to help you sell your home and make your next move forward……… and it’s super important to me that you feel looked after. What does being looked after mean to you?” And then shut up and really hear his answer. I can guarantee that it won’t be anything like your worst fears.
You’ve got this one!
Columnist for The Nature of Real Estate