About 30 years ago, a man walked into a real estate office looking to purchase some land. He was sent to the agent on floor duty, a seasoned REALTOR with a lot of experience.
The customer looked ordinary. Dressed in jeans and an old baseball cap, he appeared to be of modest means, maybe a carpenter or some other trade. The problem is, he was standing in a real estate office in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where prices are anything but ordinary. The real estate agent took one look at him and knew he was out of his league.
Because property is so expensive in Jackson, the real estate agencies shared a policy that all buyers must show proof of funds before they can look at property. After all, you don't want to spend your day showing multi-million-dollar properties to someone that can't affordafford it!
The agent informed him of their policy and asked him to come back with his financial information. The man said he understood. He politely thanked her for her time and walked out the door.
It's important to have policies. The agent knew the policy and stuck to it. Well done!
This particular customer was not one to give up easily. He walked to the next real estate office and again asked to see some property. He was sent to the agent working floor duty. This office had the same policy as the last: every client must provide financial evidence before viewing property. It looked as though he would be sent packing again.
Something was different this time. The agent decided to ignore policy. Maybe because she had only been licensed for a few months. Maybe because this was her first customer and she just wanted to do something.
Or maybe she looked beyond the blue jeans and baseball hat to see the individual, none other than Harrison Ford! She was well aware of his work as an actor with a string of hits like Star Wars, Blade Runner, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
She knew he had the financial means to purchase a ranch in Jackson Hole. She deviated from the policy and showed him property without asking for documented proof of income.
Harrison Ford purchased a $6,000,000 ranch from this agent. The rest is history!
It's not enough to know your office policy. You have to know why the policy exists in the first place. Rules do not fit every possible scenario so you have to know the true purpose behind them and when it's safe to deviate.
Jackson Hole had a good policy, but the first agent missed the point entirely. You see, the goal was not to collect documentation; it was to prove the customer's ability to purchase. The second agent recognized Harrison Ford and knew he had the ability to purchase, which makes the documentation redundant and unnecessary. Her understanding of why the policy existed resulted in her first sale, a legendary story, and a fat commission!
HOW WE CAN HELP
As a property manager, it is my responsibility to develop policies and procedures that will protect the interests of the Landlord and then ensure they are carried out consistently. But I also understand why the policy is in place and know when it is safe to deviate without interrupting my ability to serve your interests.
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