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"Kill 'Em With Kindness"

Real Estate Broker/Owner with True North Realtors NY : Exclusive Buyer Agency

It used to be that when I would pay for my food in a drive-thru or check out at a drug store, the cashier would cheerfully thank me and wish me a good day.  When I was a teenager working at a fast-food restaurant, the owner would always say things like, "The customer is always right," and "No matter what, kill 'em with kindness."  In other words, when dealing with even the most difficult customer, a smile and kind words go a lot further than a frown and expressions of irritation.  Over the years, however, this philosophy has lost its momentum and usually, the most I get is a rushed, "Here ya go," accompanied by a grunt when I reply with a pointed, "THANK you."  I've gotten so upset before at the thought that I'm the one thanking THEM - THEY should be thanking ME!  Many years later, I realize just how applicable my boss' words are in every area of life.  Yes, even in dealing with our real estate clients, other agents, lenders, inspectors, attorneys, and...well, you get it...everyone.

puppy fawnLet's face it - we're all overbusy.  We all use the "Multitasking" setting on most days and when it comes to our business, we like things to go a certain way.  We also want people to act a certain way.  When they don't, our first inclination is to grumble and complain, not to grin and bear it.  But if we don't heed the words of my fast-food franchise boss, we, too, run the risk of earning the same reputation as the high school junior down at the local McDonald's.  And the financial stakes are much higher for us and our clients who are, in my line of service, making the largest investment of their lives.

I meet people every day who seem to have gotten up on the wrong side of the planet and yet feel entitled to drag everyone down with them.  Though I am not perfect, I truly strive each day to treat others as I would want to be treated.  And when I encounter those who appear to take up residence on the wrong side of the planet, my demeanor actually annoys them.  But I press on because my boss all those years ago knew what he was talking about.  He was a very successful franchise owner and his repeat business was phenomenal.  I watched him disarm customers, who were livid because their cheeseburger didn't have the right balance of condiments, with a simple, genuine smile and concern for their fast-food sense of security.  And those customers came back - time after time - because they knew they would be treated right.  How much more do homebuyers need that security and ability to trust their agents will treat them fairly, fully and with kindness?

This morning, I'm asking myself if that prized client I'm thinking of - you know the one, whose home purchase will net me an above-average commission - is worthy of my most refined manners and attention more than my other clients whose home purchases aren't as beneficial to me.  I love the quote by Goethe, "You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him."  It is constantly in my mind and my prayer is that even when the most difficult client or colleague crosses my path, I can genuinely smile, be attentive and "kill 'em with kindness."  With that mentality, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Linda Powers
Resort Realty - Duck - Duck, NC
On the Outer Banks

John - Love the photo. That says it all.

The only thing I remember from by pre-high school days (which were much too long ago) is a teacher who asked this question: "In what circumstances would you use your best party manners?" Of course the answer was we should not have "party" manners. We should have the same good behavior in all circumstances.

That certainly applies to treatment of everyone we know and meet on a daily basis - friends, family, and clients. Yep, your boss was certainly right!


Mar 31, 2010 01:53 AM
Benjamin Clark
Homebuyer Representation, Inc. - Salt Lake City, UT
Buyer's Agent - Certified Negotiation Expert

Treating others how you would want to be treated. That's behind every service I offer to my buyer-clients. Would I want to know that information if I were a Buyer? Would I want to know how these things work if I were a Buyer? Would I want to see all those comps if I were a Buyer?

Do clients want to work with a grumpy or non-responsive agent? Of course not!

Keep being genuine and killing them with kindness, John.

Mar 31, 2010 07:07 AM