Camaraderie in Sales – Is it possible?

I will never forget sitting in our weekly MLS meeting when Bob Saunders stood before us; frail from cancer, leaning on a cane and telling us all what we meant to him. I sobbed. What a raw moment for everyone. I didn’t know him well but to hear how we all touched his life and how he considered us to be his family is something I will never forget.  In our profession we often only see the tough side of agents. The side that’s negotiating on behalf of the buyer or seller, putting on their game face to get the best possible deal by pointing out the faults of a property in an effort for you to see it from the perspective of their client.

What I love about working in a community like Ashland is that we are also able to separate ourselves from the business side and really have a family within our industry. I cherish that I have seen two very tough (aka hardened) women in this business reduced to tears, and for reasons you’d never expect…… one over a speeding ticket in a school zone and the other over the unexpected loss of a pet. Those moments are so vivid in my mind. I knew I couldn’t hug the lead foot because she would crumble (or freak out) and I knew the one with tears welling up over her dog needed me to distract her client so she could get herself together and get home to her husband. This raw emotion reminds us they are in fact human and is something that brings us that much closer. When I see one of them putting on their best Battle Axe impersonation, I just smirk knowing their secret is safe with me.

I recall when we lost Pat Warner and also Don Rist the sadness that circulated among our real estate community. Don was like a grandpa. I am sure I wasn’t the only one he called “kid” but he sure made me feel special. Oh how I miss seeing his jovial self at the Oak Tree having lunch.  We rally together when someone falls on hard times and many a fund raiser has been held for fellow brokers, their families or just someone special known by one of us. I hope this never changes. Over the years I can think of several times realtors were compared to the stereotypical sleazy salesperson. “We are only in it for the money…. Out to make a quick sale.” I am proud to say the majority of those who share this profession really are in it for the relationships; the relationships with their own clients as much as with fellow realtors. I remember working with a client a few years back who wanted to “fire” me because he didn’t like the way I was negotiating on his behalf.  In his mind, my role was to be adversarial, demanding and very, cut-throat.  Even though I had invested months and months into this client, it still felt so right to part ways. Despite the fact that I had never met the other agent I was negotiating with, the idea of being downright nasty to them just turned my stomach.

Our relationship with fellow agents is very important and we have worked hard to not only create, but also maintain a high level of mutual respect.  A few days ago, Dyan and I were honored to receive a generous number of gift certificates.  When I mentioned to my husband that we each had three date nights on the horizon courtesy of another Broker from another office, the look on his face was priceless.  I went on to explain how Dyan helped this agent who needed to write an offer but was in a pinch.  The fellow broker knew if she waited until she was back in town, it would be too late.  I wasn’t surprised at all that Dyan offered to write the offer for her; nor am I surprised the other agent trusted her to do it.
Sure, I suppose our volume could be greater if we stepped on everyone’s toes to serve ourselves, but that sure doesn’t feel right.  We are thankful for our real estate family.  They get us.  They understand when we’re grumpy, overwhelmed or hurt from the actions of a disloyal client.  We have all been there.

This extended family of ours is something special and we will not take them for granted.  Recently I was watching my wedding video and I loved seeing many of my colleagues sharing in that special moment with me.  Years later they were the ones delivering meals when we brought home our newborns.  While our business decisions may lead us down different paths, I choose to believe the relationships we formed “back in the day” are strong enough to stand the test of time and I hope I am right.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for my fellow co-workers. This job isn’t easy and it isn’t without sacrifice, so knowing we have each other’s backs is worth its weight in gold.  Sure, there’s still a short-list of turds but that’s okay…. it keeps it interesting.