Two Russians on Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. The car stops and the driver asks for directions. Two Russians do not speak English, so frustrated driver leaves.
One Russian to another:
- Everybody say «English... English, you need to learn English...»... Did his perfect English help him?
I read a featured blog today, and remembered this story.
What is the language of our business? Do the parties speak the same business language?
The post is about the lockboxes, and the author's refusal to give the code to an investor, who was standing outside and wanted to see the property right away.
The author said "no", and rightfully so. We can't do it, and I understand that decent agents do not give codes no matter what.
What I did not understand was the explanation to the investor. The author passionately wrote that she would not do anything that could jeopardize her license... that she would not do something stupid like giving codes...that investor would not give a damn about the agent...did not care that she wasn't a lazy agent, and only cared that he had to wait....
Though right, it sounds very agent-centered. It is all right and important, but right and important for the agent, not the investor.
Investor is not here to please us, to conform to our schedules, procedures, ethics...not even to be nice. They are to buy, sell, and make money... That's why we call them investors. When they can't get into the property to view it for 5 minutes, and have to wait for 45 minutes to get in, it aggravates them. It sounds inefficient to them, and I am not surprised, they are trying to get access.
It is not surprising that they do not think about us, it is expected. If you want to make money working with investors, it is not a good idea to lecture them. We need to understand them.
If all they hear is about an agent, why should they give a damn? It is often not what we say, but how we say it.
What if we try to make it investor's business by saying that we would do the same for him and will not give the code to anybody when he is selling HIS properties? That this is done to protect the Seller, and that's what you would do for him. We need something that they can associate with. Not our situation only, something that is good for him.
Even humorous statement that you are trying to keep your license in good standing so that he can keep buying and selling. Making it his business could counter the feeling of inconvenience.
When we take the position that we need to explain to them what we think, we need to understand that what we say is not necessarily what they hear.
Here is a small example of that:
It is not necessarily how far we are from the Investor in terms of geography, it is how far we are from them in mutual understanding. I would even tell the investor that he can hang me and I would still not give him the code, but I would love to take him to lunch for all this inconvenience.
We need to diffuse the tension, not explain to them how outrageous their requests are.
P.S. One of the comments to the blog was «Share these comments with him and let him see how many of us take the rules as rules, not suggestions». We sure can share with Investor all those nearly 200 comments, but would any commenter buy a property with you?
So why would we listen to those who would never buy, and ignore the needs and feelings of those who do?
P.P.S. What English... English has to do with it? Well, it is when we, agents, are talking, and Investors do not understand us, and are walking...
So, does our knowledge of English...English Real Estate help us to do what we are here to do, i.e. helping to sell and buy Real Estate?