Too many agents rush clients into a decision, or pressure or manipulate just to get the thing done.
It’s bullying and it’s abusive, and it’s completely absolutely unnecessary.
People looking for houses are in different head spaces. Some are not even ready – they’re looking at every neighborhood and price range, trying to figure out what they even want.
Others are desperate and overwhelmed because their life circumstance changed – maybe they suddenly became wheelchair bound or changed careers or their house burned down – and they need a new place quickly.
Some are excitedly searching for their first family home, others are struggling with the painful process of downsizing and are selling their last home for the last time.
What’s deeply meaningful to me is joining them in the journey. I’m a counselor at heart, and care very much about what people are going through.
It’s vital to give them the space and time to go through it at their pace, whatever stage they’re at.
It’s not a popular approach. It’s slow, takes lots of time and patience, and requires sincerely caring about others. Agents interested in a quick close don’t have time for that.
It’s never been about the money to me though. (Good thing – otherwise I’d have long quit by now!) It’s always been about connecting with people.
So it’s deeply satisfying then when they’re not only happy with what they buy, and benefit from owning the property, but they come back. They enjoyed knowing me and working with me, and we connected. Years later, they remember and I get another chance to connect.
That’s when I glimpse their life story as it unfolds. And it’s beautiful.
And especially to the neighbor’s uncle’s cousin’s friend.
Like the woman whose loyalty is causing her crippling pain to continue.
She had been seeing a physical therapist to help her with the constant pain she was in. For all the therapy she’d been receiving, her condition was getting worse, not better. There were other therapists who were skilled at treating this very problem.
“Maybe it’s time to try another therapist,” I said.
“Oh! But I can’t do that! I know somebody who works there.”
I let her statement just hang in the air, hoping she’d hear the lunacy of it.
After a moment, I chided with my signature brand of sarcasm.
“Oh. Well, in that case, you’d better just stay in pain.”
She smirked. “Good point.”
I guess she felt like her leaving would mean the therapist would be out of a job.
Which, of course, is totally false.
Loyalty can be a bad idea in real estate too.
Too often people have hired a realtor because their face is on a sign (here’s why that’s a dumb idea) or worse, because their neighbor’s friend’s son is an agent.
Especially not just because someone thinks you should.
Loyalty is precious and should be earned.
When it’s not earned, it’s treated poorly. Then you get poor results.
What else could you expect from a doctor not skilled in your area of need? From a therapist that can’t help you? Please, at least find out about the services a real estate agent offers before you make a decision on who you will hire to represent you.
Make them earn your loyalty.
And if they can’t, they didn’t deserve it in the first place.
But the proof stared right back at me – I did indeed have a life.
And it’s an awesome one!
The year began with my mom’s life-changing hip replacement surgery. It’s given her incredible pain relief and she could finally go out and about again. I can hardly describe what an immense blessing that was – to all of us!
Then there was the mansion tour. While attending a negotiation class in Minneapolis, I was able to tour the James Hill House.
(Want to see how a $63 million man lived back in the day? You can take the video tour of his home right here! He was impressively ahead of his time.)
In February I celebrated 12 years as a non-smoker! (Aaah, I love breathing…)
The biggest change to my business this year was partnering up with Eniko Crozier.
I remember the first days and weeks we spent our mornings together with coffees and our various techno gadgets, training so we were both familiar with the same apps and web programs. Our communication is now seamless as a result – from shared schedules to shared virtual file cabinets, we’re in sync.
Mom turned seventy this June. Seventy! Even now, she still enjoys my sarcastic sense of humor, and I still enjoy kicking her butt at rummy. (Love you Mom) My Mom and I spent a weekend in a cabin by moose lake making memories.
I scrolled through a few more pictures, and came upon some from the week that Wendell and I spent at a cottage in Grand Beach . Aah, it was so refreshing.
We walked the shoreline at the beach, enjoying the sand push up between our toes and feeling the breeze in our hair. Sharing coffee every morning with my man (who just happens to look like Sam Elliott, only handsomer) is always a treat, but somehow it’s a double treat when we’re away from everything.
At Hecla Island, right there on a rocky plateau by the shore, with the background sound of water lapping, they were married. (After everyone left, Wendell and I got our own little romantic moment by the water…
There was the time I got in a plane with my girlfriend Randine. We flew over the Lake of the Woods just for the heck of it. We just had to know what it looks like from the sky.
I really enjoyed attending a nine-week sales class where I got to build relationships with other agents.
Okay, I also really enjoyed winning the award for the most listings during those nine weeks. *smirk*
Oh – and check out this sweetheart in my arm!
We just added her to our life this summer. I LOVE having another dog! She is so affectionate. I get so many hugs. No wonder they’re considered a form of therapy!
This is my third time attending the conference and each time I have had the privilege of seeing a part of the world I have not seen before. There is 100 classes with varying topics to choose from. I cannot think of a better time to educate ourselves and to encourage ourselves. In this transitioning market, when agents are grumbling, we need to be positively stimulated. I hope to come back with a refreshed enthusiasm about my career.
I am tremendously blessed to work with some very trustworthy agents and several have been there for me when I went away before. Bruce Kroeker, Wes Dowse, and Clare Braun have helped me out in the past. This time I have confidently left my workload to Ann Lemon and Rose Schroeder.
My profession requires entering into a person’s home – often a stranger’s – and look into every room. Sure, I see the foundation, square footage, and other technical things necessary to perform the task. But the most fascinating thing I see is the people – and in a way most don’t ever see. (not even their friends!)
Sometimes the house is empty. Still, the books and pictures – or lack – tells a story about the people who live there. The toys, the calendar, the picture of a missionary on the wall, it all gives a private peek into a life that is not available to the general public.
I recently went to a client’s house to get a signature. The young family was at the supper table when I arrived. They welcomed me in, and I joined them at the table. Their toddler was in a high chair eating some kind of beef and rice dish with a tomato sauce base. Rice was stuck to his cheek, and sauce smeared on his chin, and he smiled and cooed, eagerly waving a spoon. Apparently his meal was delicious.
The mom, trying desperately to feed the boy while containing her laughter, abruptly turned her head away and covered her mouth to contain herself. She exchanged looks with the proud daddy and his wide grin didn’t help her suppress the laughter at all. She turned back to resume feeding, and completely lost it, disintegrating into bubbly, joyous laughter. All three of us gave in, laughing together.
When the laughter subsided, she said, “It’s his first time eating with a spoon on his own!” The parents beamed proudly as they watched the boy spread more sauce on his highchair tray with one hand, and grab a fistful of rice with the other.
I am so honored and overjoyed to have experienced that joy with them. They didn’t see me as an intrusion in this special moment, but instead invited me in to join them. We had spent enough time together that we were comfortable with each other.
Days later, as I prepared to leave the house, a grin crossed my face as I relived that precious moment with that family. I feel truly blessed to see these special family moments. These are the most precious and memorable parts of my day, and those relationships are exactly why I do what I do.
Seriously, the people are my favorite part – of pretty much everything. I think everything -work, life, faith, business – is not so much about tasks as it is about character and relationships.
We reserve the right to choose if we want to work with you. We reserve the right to terminate a business agreement.
We, Tina Plett and Eniko Crozier, are service oriented at heart and we have been known to go the extra mile and serve our clients beyond their expectations. We delight in pleasing our clients. We are consistent. We strive to be on time. We invest ourselves emotionally, mentally, physically and FINANCIALLY to obtain the objectives of our clients.
We are passionate about what we do and deliberate and strategic in how we do it.
We offer to work seven days a week and we can do that because we are respectful to each other and we take turns giving each other a day off and time off when needed. Eniko has her day off on Tuesday. Tina has her day off on Wednesday.
When you meet with one of us for a seller consultation or a buyer consultation we will tell you more about the services we offer.
So why this bold Opening statement?
We respect ourselves and we want to be treated with respect. We have no interest in abusive relationships even in business. The commissions we receive from a sale are not worth losing our integrity or self respect. We will not tolerate abuse in any form.
Our time is valuable. Our spouses and children sacrifice time with us so that we can Serve you.
We have no interest in being a tour guide. We are real estate professionals. Give us one good reason why we should spend our evenings and weekends with you driving around looking at houses unless we are the ones getting paid. How would you feel if you put in 40 hrs of work and then find out that someone else got the paycheck?
So let us save you some time. If you want to list your house and want us to lie about it having been a grow op, then don’t call us. We refuse your business. If you want to go shopping for houses with five different real estate agents so that you can go every night of the week with someone else, then don’t call us. We will refuse your business. If you want $600,000. for your property after we have shown you proof that the market stats show that it is worth $180,000. then we refuse your business.
If you think I am exaggerating to make a point you are mistaken. If you think we are out of line to draw these boundaries for our business then we are not a good fit to work together.
We may request to meet with you before we show you a house. We may ask to see your identification. We may ask you for a pre approval letter from your mortgage broker before we start showing you houses.
Working with a real estate professional should be a mutual decision. The seller or buyer should not allow themselves to be bullied into doing business with an agent. The agent need not feel obligated to take all business opportunities.
Some opportunities that have come our way have been out of our area of expertise. For example, we decline commercial listings. We decline condo listings. We are happy to refer you to a competent agent who is qualified to work in these fields.
However, we can’t wait to hit the road and come over if you are asking us to list a rural property. We will list and sell in Steinbach and Winnipeg and everywhere in between.
We specialize in residential resale homes and have experience in new home sales.
In conlusion, we want to enjoy our work. We want to be safe. Your jobsite may require steel toe boots and hard hats. Our safety is in three words. No thank you.
Most find themselves owing $1500 for every $1000 of their after-tax earnings.
That’s a deep hole. And sometimes, the hole we’re in isn’t even the result of poor decisions or spending habits. Sometimes it results from loss. Death, illness, layoffs in a slow economy – things we can’t control can have a lifelong impact on our finances.
Suddenly we’re way behind, playing catch-up. (I hate that game, but am playing it right along with you.)
But even down here in the deep, dark, debt-hole, there’s hope. Even if someone else dug the stupid hole and threw you in.
Financial restoration is possible.
It’s just going to take a lot of extra work. And I’m not getting any younger, so I’ll have to work fast too. That’s why I’m so focused on educating myself and growing my business. I want to catch up. I want financial restoration, and to bring others with me in the hope that debt is escapable.
How are you pursuing financial restoration under a load of debt?
They’re coming for me, and they’re coming for you too.
They go out of their way to drive to your place, and lie to your face.
Money. Envy. A burr in their britches. Self-loathing. Ego.
Who is this insidious creature? Allow me to set the scene.
I recently listed the home of a sweet elderly couple I’ve known for most of my life. The kindly gentleman had been my brother’s childhood hockey coach way back when. In my hairdressing days, this man became a loyal customer. When I moved into reflexology, he was my client there too. Now, I get to be this couple’s real estate agent. I’m so honored to serve them, and grateful for their lifetime loyalty. You can’t buy that, you know?
Days after I met with the seller and discussed when to put the For Sale sign in their yard, a vehicle drove onto their driveway.
The visitor was another agent who had heard they were moving, and he had come with an agenda.
“So, you are going to list with Tina Plett?,” the agent had asked.
“I was just wondering why you wouldn’t choose a local agent…?”
My client, who was confused by this sudden confrontation about his personal choice, replied, “Tina is as local as it gets!”
The agent left, the mission apparently fulfilled. The goal had simply been to undermine me without provocation, even if it meant being confrontational with a sweet elderly couple.
The weird thing about it though, is not that it’s ridiculous, given that I was born in Steinbach, have lived and worked in Steinbach for most of my life and still do. The weird thing is also not that I have listed in and around Steinbach for years, nor is it that I have life-long relationships with several of my clients.
The weirdest part is not even that this undermining tactic keeps happening, or that the very agents who confront elderly couples in order to win some imaginary pissing match also list in multiple towns.
No. The weirdest part is that they think it’s necessary.
It’s a question we all wrestle with, whether we are the customer or the business owner, the teacher or student, the politician or voter. Does faith have a place in the public arena, and how does that look for me and my business? There’s a reason it’s confusing. (And it’s not you!)
As I was thinking about it this week, I remembered a story from years ago, and how it impacted the way I live out my faith in business today.
Many, many moons ago, I went to a clinic for blood tests in the basement lab of a clinic. As I exited the elevator, and turned to head toward the lab, I suddenly felt compelled to talk to a woman who was seated in a nearby waiting area. I didn’t know her and didn’t understand why I would feel the need to talk to her, so proceeded to the lab instead.
After my appointment, as the door closed behind me, I felt strongly compelled to talk with that woman again. I decided that if the seat beside the woman would be vacant, I would sit and talk with her. As I rounded the corner, I noticed all the waiting room seats were full, including the one beside her.
I sighed relief. As I approached the elevator, the man seated beside her got up and left. There it was, and empty seat right beside this woman, just as I had reasoned. I sat down beside her, bewildered about why I was even there. I turned to look at her, and she dropped the bomb.
“I just found out I can’t have any more babies.”
She went on to explain that she had a child, but having another would be impossible. She was deeply sad – grieving! – that she would never have another. It was a deep pain I could understand well. I had also received the news that, two and a half years after my first child, I would not be able to have more. It was devastating news to a mama who thought she was just getting started with her family. I wanted five children. It was heartbreaking, and I had to mourn the loss of a life I would never have. I didn’t know exactly how she felt – we all have different expectations and circumstances – but I could sure understand the pain.
Beyond the pain, she also felt guilty for feeling sad. “I know I should appreciate the one I have…”
“You do.” I reassured her, “Just because you’re grieving doesn’t mean you’re not grateful.”
She became quiet, and let the words sink in. Then she nodded and turned to me with glistening eyes, “Yeah. You’re right. I do!” She seemed relieved – freed to grieve without guilt. To share that common experience and encourage her in her sorrow was clearly the reason I was meant to sit beside her.
On the drive home, I thought about our encounter and realized that living out my faith is quite simple. It doesn’t necessarily require speaking Jesus’ name in every statement or to every person. It’s speaking love and truth and life into people’s life that is relevant. Seeing an unmet need and making an effort to meet that need. It’s that simple.
The beautiful thing about faith though, is that it’s not a formula or set of rules. It’s relationship, so it’s different for each person. A person has a different relationship with their spouse than with their children, and each of those is different from the relationships with friends or their insurance broker. Each relationship will look different, have different expectations and even customized vocabulary or behaviors.
For me, I’ve understood my path in business is to simply meet a need and cultivate relationship– to love and live out the character and principles that come from walking in the Spirit. For others, living faith may be a more obvious or out-loud kind of path. I think the important thing to remember is that we are each responsible for ourselves in front of God, and can’t pass judgment on each other’s paths.
Faith is just that personal, and God is way more brilliant and mysterious than to use all people in the same way.
Do you wonder how living out faith in business should look for you? What’s one way you live out your faith at work?
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