By Deanna Sickler
As mothers of young children and wives of police officers, it’s fair to say we have thick skin. Without it, we simply wouldn’t survive. Mainstream media and the uninformed population consistently offer their “Monday morning quarterback” commentary to every law enforcement move made across the United States. So by default, we have learned to compartmentalize negative comments and store them away for some future therapy sessions. Much like politics and religion; often times it is just better to agree to disagree and move on to the next item on our never ending to-do list. One consistent pattern we have seen lately is some people’s ability to go against their word. Call it “old school” or perhaps we just live in our bubbles filled with unicorns and rainbows but if people say they are going to do something, then by golly, barring some tragedy beyond their control, they should do it. Plain and simple.
In the last 15+ years we have participated in a lot of real estate transaction but never before have we seen so many buyers and sellers have complete disregard for their word, for doing the right thing or in many cases simply attempting to bend the rules of their written contract. Sure, we all have an agenda buried deep down inside but why have so many forgotten the importance of doing what you said you would do for no other reason than because you said you would? We wondered if it was something just affecting our industry and personal business but have been hearing story after story of similar things happen to other agents and businesses. It’s probably no surprise that we are of the mindset that our society is coddled too much and our future generations have no idea what it means to have consequences for their actions. Why would they? Those responsible for setting their examples of right and wrong often have their heads buried so deep in the sand they don’t know which way is up.
I am the first to admit I have a tendency to lack finesse and on occasion a comment will come out of my mouth that is direct and to the point. However, what I say is genuine, well intentioned and above all it is sincere and it is honest. In reflecting over the last few incidents that leave me shaking my head, I am reminded of a couple who called us about 18 months before listing their home. They had been referred by someone who was a close friend of theirs and a client of ours and they wanted us to guide them through the things they should (and shouldn’t) do to their property in preparation for selling. We went to their home and consulted with them on a number of occasions. We even went so far as to help them select their paint and carpet colors. Throughout the course of their freshening up, they would call with questions and we would give them our two cents on what we felt was money best spent. About a month prior to when we suggest they put their home on the market, they called with excitement, to thank us for all the great advice and to tell us how great the house looked. That they were so glad they listened to everything we told them and how much money it saved them not to pour it into things that didn’t matter. They went on to say how they decided to list their home with Agent X, because he was a newer agent and they really wanted to help him out. Are you kidding me? I was so caught off guard; I didn’t even know what to say. I recall being polite and agreeable and wishing them well and then I hung up the phone. I pivoted in my chair to a look from Dyan that could stop a train and I am relatively certain her response was much more colorful than mine. How does this happen?
As simple as it sounds, we often run our business off our gut feeling. With Dyan’s former line of work, she is versed in reading a person within just a few moments of meeting them and if we feel like our back is covered, we proceed without reservation. We love that about us and over the years it has served us well. We love the idea of doing business with a handshake. What is getting increasingly frustrating is the disregard for the relationship and the trust but mostly the time. We have worked really hard and for a long time to gain the knowledge, to earn the track record and to have the reputation we have. We take our jobs very seriously so when you say you’re going to list your home with us we believe you. Some people may think that because we are successful, a few deals here and there that don’t go our way are “no big deal” because we sell so much real estate. With regard to the money, they are correct, because it’s never been about the money for us. Whether we get every last sale that we think we should isn’t going to change our quality of life, but the way it makes us feel is something that we can’t just let roll off our backs.
We are mamas and we are wives and we happen to enjoy both of those roles. We have innocent and (mostly) darling children who miss us when we are working. They are the ones who know that their mamas can’t always be at every sporting event or school program because we are also running a business so when we choose to take time away from our family to consult with you, list your home, show you property, respond to your volumes of emails with dozens of questions, it’s because we wholeheartedly believed we have an understanding and a mutual respect for one another.
If you aren’t 100% sure you are committed to working with us, please just level with us. I promise you we can handle it. For God sake, my three and half year old still asks me how much longer I am growing that baby in my stomach… and I haven’t been pregnant for 42 months! Chances are, we may still give you a great deal of our time but at least we will know we aren’t postponing Easter dinner to show you a home. For the hundreds of clients we have represented over the years, they understand the level of devotion and attention we give our clients and we never want that to change. We consider the role we play to be a very critical role and we want to know that no matter what, we all have each other’s backs.
Let’s get back to the basics and keep the Golden Rule in the forefront and not stored on a shelf somewhere as if it’s only to be implemented when it’s convenient. If someone works hard, earns your trust enough that you lean on them for advice and information, then please honor that. If you never intended to work with them then don’t tap into their resources and if you simply just aren’t certain be honest about it.
Any business owner will tell you that the amount of time they spend on each individual client varies greatly and there really is no way to establish its value on a case by case basis. Evaluating the worth of someone’s investment in you based on the length of time you were working together is a disservice to them. The knowledge base you tap into is an accumulation of a lot of effort, tenacity and drive so to casually dismiss it because it doesn’t serve your purpose is disrespectful and quite frankly unkind. We aren’t saying that circumstances do arise or plans change but a genuine acknowledgment or token of gratitude for time spent would make a world of difference. Kindness Matters and we hope people will stop forgetting that just because it’s inconvenient.
To all our clients, who have become friends, you have no idea how much we have thought about you during the past few challenging weeks. You are the ones that give us hope for a better future. You are the ones who we are grateful to have calling at 6pm on a Saturday night. We are thankful to hold your trust and to guide you through one of the biggest decisions of your life. We are grateful that you understand this is how we support our families and respect how much time we invest into all of our clients and their properties. To you we say, “Thank you.” We see you and we appreciate you more than you know. You are what keep us going in times like now.