Earlier in the week I was watching a show on television. It was a debate of sorts between two people involved in obesity science. I really don’t have an opinion on obesity science, but one of the panelists left me so angry and annoyed, I am on the side of the other guy, and I don’t even care about the data! Similar to the science debate, as agents, a LOT of the time, it doesn’t matter what our facts are if we present them wrong. As real estate agents in St. Louis, let’s not do these things.
- Interrupt your clients. As I was watching this debate unfold, it became clear that the one fellow would interrupt the other one seeking clarity. It was not perceived that way by the fellow speaking. Every time he was interrupted, he would say, “Let me finish.” When you are talking with clients, sometimes you want brevity and clarity, but it’s important to let your clients express themselves within their comfort zone. Some people speak slower than others, especially when dealing with complicated financial and emotional subjects like buying houses. Let them speak and then answer.
- Disrespect elders. The two people in the debate carried a wide space between their ages. The younger fellow was, in my opinion, very disrespectful to the older fellow. Some people will say that it’s great to really give older people issues, especially if they are wrong. I don’t see it that way. If someone has managed to inhabit the earth for longer than I have, they get my respect. Even if you disagree with me on respecting your elders, I can tell you that in sales, the last thing you want to do is disrespect your potential clients. When they see you do it to someone else, they will remember to not use you during a real estate transaction. In this case, your own beliefs about this issue don’t matter because your clients do have a belief system and it does impact their decisions.
- Mispronounce names over and over. During the debate, the older fellow kept calling the younger fellow Stephan (long a, two syllables) when he referred to himself as Stephan (emphasis steph.) I don’t think the older fellow was doing it on purpose; here he’s in front of millions of people around the world and he probably knows someone who pronounces their name the way he does, and it just came out. Here’s an example of a slight where none was intended. When you are talking to potential clients, if you aren’t sure how to pronounce their name, ask them! Don’t just keep using the wrong pronunciation over and over.
- Act with an air of superiority, which looks like condescension. The young fellow had this attitude about him. It wasn’t confidence. It was arrogance. Yes, he had a degree in neuroscience. Yes, he graduated from an ivy league school. However, both of those traits also made him a bit of an ass. And, I think he was totally unaware of it. In the business of selling homes and helping buyers in St. Louis, we can also have the same thing happen to us. Obviously, if we’ve helped buy or sell many houses, we are going to know more than the first time home buyer. That doesn’t mean we can’t act with some humility, and it doesn’t mean that we know everything. I’ve seen real estate agents who act as if they are doctors and they are not to be questioned at any time. This is a wrong-headed approach and is guaranteed to turn potential clients off.
If you can avoid doing the things above, you stand a wonderful chance of being a successful real estate agent in St. Louis. Isn’t that the goal anyway?