When loyalty is based on indifference.
A while back I wrote an article about an agent whom I had regular lunch meetings with during the time I was a partner at VREO.
Robin was a client. But unlike most clients, he revered the time we spent together. He never answered his cell phone during or kept me hanging while he flexed his Realtor muscle before me. He never drowned me in his real estate war stories. He never pontificated. He never felt the need to prove anything to me about himself. There was no need. As a result, I looked forward to spending time with him. I never felt I was being sold, pitched, played, managed, incubated or cultivated.
Our last lunch was over a year ago. Well after he went from client to friend. But then some things just got in the way of us hanging out. I started 1000Watt. I hunkered down. I stopped taking lunch breaks.
Then last month, out of the blue, an email arrived from Robin. It was a lunch invite.
I’ve done business with many agents. Most were pleasant people. I hear from some via their monthly newsletters. Others send yearly holiday cards. A few call out of the blue and ask about my family and then sign off with the tried, true and tested “Oh and by the way…” pitch for referral business. One I never hear from at all.
Little do any realize that I’m seriously contemplating selling one of my homes. Been so for over a year now but haven’t because I’ve been sitting on the fence not quite sure what to do. None of the agents I’ve worked with in the past have compelled me. None have inspired me. None have made the effort to really mine the past client vein.
Little do they realize I guess how I was one lunch date away from giving them my business.
Robin and I ate at the Madonna Inn. If you’ve never been there just image what it would look like if gawdy died and went to heaven. (See pic above). The place is a testimony to Alex Madonna, a maverick builder, a cantankerous land owner and visionary who possessed an uncanny blind eye when it came to decorating.
After our meal, Robin and I emerged from this pink palace with another great meal, another great conversation under our belt. Our cars were parked at opposite ends of the parking lot. I decided to walk him to his car. Halfway there, I asked if he would list my home. I told him I was thinking about selling it for the past year. Granted the home is forty miles from where he practices but I would be honored if he would take it.
I know all about the jurisprudence of using a local agent. I’ve read all the “How to hire an agent” content ever written. But at the end of the day, after viewing every agent website in Nipomo, from the Hawaiian shirt wearing agent with the Hawaiian music that loads with the site to the dozens of agents who never returned an email sent to them from their own website, I came face to face with the reality that at the end of the day, this business is all about relationships. Deep meaningful ones.
Over the years, Robin spent a few dollars taking me out to lunch. We’d talk real estate, technology, movies and life. He never once asked me for business. Never once sent me a recipe. Never once sent me an email newsletter. He just acted like a true friend.
I never felt like a lead.
Never felt like a prospect.
Never felt I was anything but a human being.
Technology sure is great. When used correctly it enhances, expands and engages the experience. But it’s not everything. Sometimes technology can distance us from what we do best. Like the human touch. Like friendship. There’s no technological substitute for doing that. For doing the right thing. For going that extra mile. To me, this is part of Web 2.0 is about. Back to core basics. People connecting with people.
Robin got the listing.
It’s a beautiful home.
3 bedrooms, 2 baths with tenant.
Smart industry takes and creative inspiration.