I am not good at compliments. I get very uncomfortable when someone gives me a compliment and I try to push it aside or laugh it away. One of my best friends has been trying for years to train me to accept a compliment with a simple “Thank You”. I’m getting better but still just feel uncomfortable.
Yesterday I met a buyer to give her the keys to her new home. Just before we left she gave me the longest verbal review and compliment I’ve ever had. It was hard for me to listen and not deflect it. But it was important for her to voice her feelings because they were such a part of the home buying process for her. So she made me stand there and take it.
Despite my discomfort it was an amazing conversation because so much of what she expressed is what I am striving to be as a real estate agent. This buyer had been in the process of searching for a home for a year and a half. She was a single woman who had some unique requirements for her new home. We don’t need to discuss those specifically but the truth is – all buyers have unique needs and desires when searching for a home. She had worked with several agents prior to finding me. In her words those agents were not attentive to her needs – they wanted to get the sale done and move on. She found me online, read my reviews and thought I might be a good fit for her. We met at a property she thought she might be interested in. She was very impressed that I arrived at the house with my laptop in hand ready to search for other properties for her. We toured quite a few homes in the next week or so. And then she called me and confessed that she was working with another agent. I was sad not to have the opportunity to help her but was also appreciative of her honesty. Just over a month later she called me and asked if I would be willing to work with her. I said “of course”. And that is when we began our journey for real. It was a long journey but she had many mountains to climb before she was able to find the right property and be ready to make the move. One year after we first met she closed escrow on her new home.
What did she say was unique and special about me?
1) I was patient. I gave her space to feel the homes we looked at. I gave her input but I did not try to push her or sell her on anything. When I saw that she was contemplating I left the room to allow her to be thoughtful about the house without pressure or disruption.
2) I was persistent. After looking at 30, 40 or 50 homes I’m sure there were times that both of us got discouraged – there was always some impediment. But I did not give up on her and I continued to believe and have faith that we would find the right home for her at the right time. When we finally did find that home I helped her through the fear – she even recorded my words so she could play them back to herself! But my words were not spoken to push her into buying the house. They were spoken as a result of all our time together and all of the properties we had seen. I knew this was a great house for her and I just verbalized that. I also told her she deserved good things and that this house was one of those good things meant for her.
3) I was on her side. My goal was to make sure that she was comfortable and satisfied with the home she was buying. I ordered numerous inspections for her and was not afraid to present the Seller with a long list of requested repairs. I was able to effectively communicate with the Seller’s agent so that we could get most of the repairs completed. None of this was easy. It took many hours of patience and communication. But my main goal was to make sure she was comfortable with the home. Her lender and I both met her at the title company when it was time for her to sign her loan documents. It is always surprising to me how many agents are not there to be a support to their buyers or sellers at signing. The notary at that signing commented that he had probably only had 6 real estate agents at signings in the prior 11 months – and he does hundreds of signing appointments in a year.
4) I was put in her life for a reason. Now this may sound a little far out – but this meant more to me than all the rest. Each day I wake up and have to face the unknown. Who will I meet today? What Buyer will come my way? What Seller needs me? Because I do not consider myself to be a “salesperson” the idea of having to “sell myself” each day can be overwhelming. But to think that by doing my very best for each client I may have the opportunity to serve others and arrive in their life at the right time is a wonderful thing.
One of my primary life goals is to align my personal values with my business life. To me that means more than just being honest or working hard. I spend so many hours working and thinking about clients that I just can’t imagine being anything less than authentic and using my knowledge, skills and empathy to guide people through some of the most important transitions in their life.
As my buyer said “you said you love your job and it is clear that your really do and it is expressed in the way you care about the buyers and sellers you work with”. What a great compliment.