I sat out in front of a house for 20 minutes today, waiting for a buyer that I have never met. One of the hard and fast rules in this business is never meet a person for the first time at a house. After 12 years driving the streets selling houses, you would think that I would have learned by now not to do it. First meeting with a client has to be in the office. Has to be. I got a refresher course today.
The first issue is safety. I ignore the safety angle pretty much all the time. I believe that our streets are much safer than we believe and that we terrify ourselves unnecessarily about each other. I don't look or act like a timid person which usually results in people on the street reading my body langage as that of a "victim". And, I don't do things that invite others in an urban enviroment to mark me as a target. I don't confront strangers. I pay attention to where I am in relationship to other people on the street. My handbag is not necessarily where I keep my money.
However, the first contact I have with someone needs to be done at the office and not out on the streets. I know that. I had forgotten. Check with me in 6 months and see if I still remember how to do this...
The other issue is my time. Time is the resource we are all given in equal measure, the resource that, once spent, none of us can ever get back. None of us. It doesn't matter if you are the Queen of England or a Real Estate Agent in Dallas, both people have exactly the same amount of this irreplaceable resource. More precious than gold, more precious than any THING else there could possibly be described. Time.
This morning, sitting in front of that house, waiting for a total stranger to show up, by that point, I already had invested about 3 hours into the meeting. I have had multiple contacts with this buyer, by phone and by email. I spent about 45 minutes setting up the appointment to show the house. It wasn't an easy thing to set up. People don'[t realize that for every hour we spend on the street looking at houses, I have usually spent an equal amount of time in the office setting things up. Then there is the time it took to drive out to where the house is located. Then I waited.
I confirmed the appointment yesterday. I phoned multiple times this morning.
*** photo cuourtesy of red twolip via flicker creative commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/25182350@N03/