Old story… drunk man sitting by the curb… dog walks up and sits next to him… dog says… boy, you sure look terrible. drunk and sitting on the curb in your underwear… man never lifts his head… just belches and mumbles… if you think I look bad, you should see it from my side of these bloodshot eyes.
Before humor became misogynistic and bawdy, this sort of story caused a chuckle. There is a great deal of truth in stories like this. We are all usually very guilty of seeing the world and everyone and everything in it from our own perspective. We are apt to claim… how else can we see things.
Step back… yes, you see things from your own perspective but don’t you think that your current state of mind naturally limits your focus. Isn’t it possible that your current place creates your immediate reaction and all the experiences locked away in your memory stay hidden?
Empathy is never immediate. By its very nature it is the opposite of the Darwinian need to survive. It calls on each of us to set aside our perception of right and wrong and what may or may not be fair or proper. It requires that we follow another old adage….
“before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes”
How many times have we sat at a listing appointment and been prepared and had all the data about market trends and recent sales. We have had a bag full of graphs. We have been prepared to refute all arguments about price. We have sat and carefully gone over the data.
Then the seller has calmly looked at us and said… “I think we can get more” or any other of the thousand responses that mean “I am not accepting what you have presented”.
Stunned ! We scramble and re-do the highlights. We go through the salient points of the presentation. We have the facts and we reinforce our argument. We are the expert here!
Often, we either take the listing at the price the seller wants with hopes of reducing it when traffic does not exist and offers fail to appear. We slink off knowing that we are right and “By God, the market will prove it!”
Come on folks, that is not representation. It may take a bit more time, but effective representation requires that you gain some knowledge about the process from your client’s perspective. Fiduciary responsibility is not another term for Agent knows best.
It may surprise you, but getting the listing is not the goal. Your goal is to listen and understand the situation from the client’s perspective. You job is to grasp the situation from the client’s viewpoint. When you fully understand their position, then and only then can you determine if you can provide a service that will be beneficial to them.
Each and every seller deserves your full attention. Your ethics require that you put their interest first. In a way, you are admonished to put on their shoes for a bit and understand. Then proceed.
Please don’t get caught up in the “I don’t do this for free” or the “I have to charge a certain fee to do my job.”. There is nothing here that precludes your being paid for the service your perform. If a client can not pay you what you desire… walk away. Accepting a listing that is over priced and putting time and effort into a home that will not sell at that price is very much like working for free.
You earn money performing a service. Fact finding is where you determine the situation and see if you can be of assistance. If you slow down and truly empathize with customers… you will find you end up with more happy clients and closed transactions.
Take a clue from the blind… learn to listen with all your senses. You will be better and the world will be better served.