Would It Kill You To Help?

Education & Training with MarQeteer

"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him." - James D. Miles

I just had a couple of conversations this morning that left me disturbed.  Before I elaborate, please let me ask a simple question:  As a real estate professional, are you in the business of helping people?

Both conversations this morning hit a topic that is coming up more and more:  Real estate pros who not only don't want to be bothered with lower-priced properties, they don't lift a finger to help these people.

The best agents I work with handle short sales, distressed properties, the whole works.  It reminds me of something taught in the very first sales seminar I went to 20 years ago:

The difference between the successful person and the unsuccessful person is they both hate the same things, but the successful person is willing to do those things while the unsuccessful person is not.   So that house is only going to sell for $60,000 and you "don't want to be bothered with it."  That person has friends, too, and negative words spread much faster than positive words.

Treat these clients the way you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes.  Imagine yourself needing help and finding nothing but a bunch of people shrugging their shoulders because you're not worth enough money to them.

I understand that lower priced properties, short sales, etc. aren't worth the same commission as that $500,000 potential listing that has you drooling, but would it kill you to help those people by at least referring them to an agent who is willing to help them?  They're all over the place.  I talk to them every day and they're usually the best ones out there:)

How much you truly care about people will ultimately show in your actions.  Actions speak louder than words...and spread twice as fast.


For creative marqeting solutions and vocabularian witicisms, visit me anytime at www.marqeteer.com.

Comments (48)

Brian Bean
The Dream Big Team at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Champions - Riverside, CA
Homeowner Advocate, Dream Big Team, S.Calif


Great thread. My thought is, though real estate agents are running a business, many still tend to treat it like a job. Thus, they don't have a business plan or a specific direction. Those who target specific geographic regions, socioeconomic strata or price points are making business decisions up front and following their plan.

That said, some people you can work with, and some you can't. A mentor once told me, "I can help most anyone, but only if they want my help." I would add to that, "... and will participate in the solution."

I have had to walk away from clients and undoubtably will have do so in the future. Right now, with so many people hurting, you have to make tough decisions. Call it real estate triage.

Jul 01, 2010 03:10 AM
Lori Churchill Cofer
Beasley Realty - Pullman, WA
Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA


Just last night I was meeting with a gentleman about a manufactured home....he made a comment of appreciation for helping him and he was aware I wouldn't be making a lot....I told him but I get the opportunity to work with him which I will enjoy immensely...and I MEANT it!

Jul 01, 2010 03:11 AM
Mark Boyd
MarQeteer - Lancaster, PA

More great points.  Thank you:) 

Some of you suggested that I read Minna Reid's post, and I did.  Great post, great points, and a great example of why it is important to insist on speaking with both people when dealing with a couple.  Let's face it...when you're dealing with only one of them, you're relying on that person to be accurate and truthful when conveying your word to the other.

How reliable is that, really, in the big picture?

There are many spouses, both men and women, who are afraid to tell the facts to the other when they know it's not what the other wants to hear.  That was me at one time.  I was scared to death of the anger of my ex-wife when the news was something she didn't want to hear.  The eternal optimist in me would then take over and focus only on the good possibilities while not painting a full realistic picture.  I hate admitting it, but it's true.  And there are plenty more out there in the same boat.  Insist on speaking to both parties:)

Jul 01, 2010 03:37 AM
Jeanne Gregory, RE/MAX Southwest, Sugar Land, TX

The best lead I ever got was from a man that I put in a $750 per month listing.  Three years later, he gave me a relocation account that has probably paid for both my kid's college educations, weddings and helped fund my reitrement.  My philosophy is "they all pay the bills".  This isn't a great time to be picky.

Jul 01, 2010 03:41 AM
Bruce Swedal
Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate

Ah one of the golden rules - Do unto others as you wish they should do unto you.

Jul 01, 2010 03:43 AM
Kyle Jan
Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix AZ Homes for Sale

My business plan has never been based on average loan size.  That is far too hard to dictate.  I can dicate my level of service.  Referrals come from satisfied people regardless of the size of the check.

Jul 01, 2010 03:50 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

My mantra is that it all spends.

Jul 01, 2010 03:58 AM
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Hi Mark~  I will help any one that needs it.  It is all the same to me! 

Jul 01, 2010 04:18 AM
Laurie Gibson
Windermere Powerhouse Group - Caldwell, ID
SFR, Canyon County Real Estate

I don't get the agents that don't want all the business they can get no matter what the commission,  I guess I'm just not that rich.

Jul 01, 2010 06:31 AM
Leslie Prest
Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ - Payson, AZ
Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson,

We work lower end sales often, do rentals, AND we try to help people when we can. Unfortunately being in rentals, some people think we should "help" by letting anyone rent with a hard-luck story. We can't always help, we have to protect the Owner, also.

Jul 01, 2010 07:27 AM
Ann Gravel
Pat Bennett Realty - Plaistow, NH

I have always been of the mindset that when you enter a profession you give it your best.  If a Surgeon or Lawyer were to help only those who could pay, I think a good part of the population would be in trouble.  That said, I had a client who went from a $40,000. price on a mobile home to $11,000. to get it sold.  Each time I had to show the home it was in extreme cold and walking upgrade on snow and ice to get there, not to mention it was thirty miles from starting point.  There was no heat in the mobile home and I got sick at one showing because the potential buyers went over that place top to bottom and in the end no sale was accomplished.  My client was elderly and had recently had a back operation.  There was no way I was going to let him dangle in the wind.  I was determined to sell that baby and I did.  My gratification was his smile and the warm affection gained for hanging in there.  

Jul 01, 2010 07:41 AM
Deborah "Dee Dee" Garvin
C2 Financial - San Diego, CA
C2 Financial

Mark,  The size of the loan or the commission earned is not my focus; however, there have been times when I have counseled consumers to go to another source for a loan,.,,and, it has nothing to do with vanity or superior attitude.  I have to agree with Michael.  I only have so many hours in the day...but, moreover, there are sometimes doing a loan for someone would cost them more money.

For example, as many agents I work on a "split".  And, my commissions overall are far lower than an agents.  So, let's say someone calls me with a 50K loan...first, my X of 1% would not justify the time spent.  Second, by the time all fees are added that loan will probably be a Section 32 loan (High Cost) and most lenders won't close them for fear of being tagged a predatory lender.  Third, I can educate and refer the client to a local bank or credit union who does not have the additional third party fees, etc. and the client will save money.

Now, I assure you, I would provide the client the same counsel as any other client, I have offered to hold their hand through the entire process with another lender...but close a loan under 75K?  Nope, never have (outside of retail banking) and never will.  And, the client thanks me for it.

Jul 01, 2010 07:43 AM
Joe Harvey
Lake Worth Real Estate - Lake Worth, FL

Its those lower priced hard to sell homes that truly need the "pros" to sell them.

Jul 01, 2010 07:54 AM
Kate Wheeler
Country Homes and Land Murphy NC Realtor - Murphy, NC
CCIM - Murphy NC Real Estate for Sale

The clients I was with yesterday apologized for all the time they were taking and said they wished they were buying a very expensive home because the split commission on the foreclosure they're buying wasn't going to amount to much.  They are a very nice couple and they've been a pleasure to work with.  I told them if they were happy with my services they could help me by writing a testimonial that I can post on my website.  I see that as a definite win-win. 


Jul 01, 2010 08:50 AM
Katrina Cole
The Jonathan Arnold Team of Inlanta Mortgage - East Grand Rapids, MI
Inlanta Mortgage, Business Development Manager

Real Estate is a service industry, but we seem to forget that.  There is no reason to ignore buyers and sellers because the price is low!  Actually, sometimes they are easier deals and bring more referrals.  Values are dropping everywhere and buyers and sellers should not be punished for their price range being low.  Now, yes focusing on this market could make for a difficult business plan, but it would still be do able; just close more deals to make the profit you are looking for.

Jul 01, 2010 08:53 AM
Tessa Skeens
Hampton ReDesign, Home Staging and Redesign - Grand Junction, CO
Staging For Realtors, Builders & Investors

Working with an investor I found out quickly which agents were willing to go the distance. The ones that dropped the ball lost out on the repeat business. I realize it's not always fun having to submit low ball offers but surely they can see the possibilities of multiple deals?

Dale Carnegie is famous for teaching that the way to earn friendship and business is to make someone feel valued. What better way than to value their business no matter how big or small?

Jul 01, 2010 10:00 AM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Bravo, Mark. Seems that most agents who think that they don't have "time" for the smaller listings won't need to worry about having the time to help the people that the clients refer to us. Even if I really can't help, I'll do everything I can to point them to someone who can.

Jul 01, 2010 01:05 PM
R.E. Renée Hoover, Salesperson
Century 21 Geba Realty, Milford, PA; Licensed in PA & NYS - Milford, PA
Poconos, Pike, Wayne, Monroe Counties, PA; PA/NYS

Love this post!  Life cannot be very deep when it is only about the money.  Money is nice, and necessary, but there are so many rewards far greater in life.  The satisfaction of giving a helping hand up to someone else is certainly one of them.  If I come across anyone interested in the Lancster PA area, they'll be sent your way.

Jul 01, 2010 01:32 PM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

 It makes me happy to see this kind of post which focuses on helping people rather than just making money!  When I was thinking of entering the real estate field, some acquaintances who had been agents at one time warned me that it can be a very harsh, back-stabbing business . . . as an educator worried me.  In all honesty, I have seen little of that in my short career!  Active Rain has shown me the very human side of real estate and my office co-workers have been nothing but wonderful!   

Jul 05, 2010 04:22 AM
Dawn A Fabiszak
Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Every market has those agents that are just 'too good' to take a low priced property.  They feel that it is below them.  How sad is that?  My first sale was a house for $26,000, a house!

Jul 05, 2010 05:06 AM