Do Nice Guys Really Finish Last?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate

Finish LineOnce upon a time, I was a newly licensed Salesperson embarking upon one of my first listing appointments.  Filled with hope and adrenalin, I proceeded in earnest to deliver a comprehensive and well-organized listing presentation.  Well, I didn't get the listing, and through the grapevine learned that the seller thought I was “too nice.”  Apparently, he lacked confidence that I could possibly be an effective negotiator in a lucrative real estate transaction.  Naturally, I was disappointed.

Recently, I’ve read a few blogs about the developing mistreatment of real estate agents.  The real estate business has gone through many changes since my early days.  Changes in how we list, promote, market, and show properties.  Changes in how we generate leads, build relationships, network, and connect with others.  Nevertheless, fast-forward to the present and there is still something that hasn’t changed in all these years – Me.  Of course, I’m a little older and much wiser now.  Plus, I've discovered a few more wrinkles lately.  Yet, my personality, my demeanor, the way I conduct myself in business situations, and the manner in which I relate to others has not changed one bit.  Never will.

I strive to abide by 'The Golden Rule.'  Moreover, I consciously aspire to treat everyone equally.  In other words, I treat the busboy with the same respect as the restaurant manager.  I treat the receptionist with the same respect as the person with whom I have a scheduled meeting.  Regardless of someone's position
nobody deserves to be abused.  Nobody.  Do I manage to cross paths with challenging, difficult, and unsavory people from time to time?  Yes.  Am I sometimes on the receiving end of hostility and severe lack of consideration?  Yes.  Has any one person ever taken advantage of my good nature?   Not twice.

WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get.  Perhaps I should add the letters WYSIWYG to my business cards.  After all, I’m outwardly and consistently upbeat,
conscientious, diligent, loyal, dependable, hard working, kind, and compassionate – loaded with integrity and bundles of energy.  Oh ... and I'm also a 'nice' person.  Without a doubt, I have numerous colleagues out there who are exactly like me too!  So, aside from my professional accomplishments and local industry recognition, could I be more successful?  That depends on how you measure success.  All I know is that I like who I am and I like what I do.  And, I sleep very well at night.

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carie shapiro

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Sandy Bliven 05/11/2012 11:31 PM
  2. Gloria Matthews 05/12/2012 01:22 AM
  3. Bob Crane 05/12/2012 02:42 AM
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Ann Wilkins
Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty - Oakland, CA
Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA

Great blog.  One advantage to being nice, is if you are professional, competent etc., other agents prefer to work with you.  This is critical in multiple offer situations - something we are seeing more of every day.  They are more willing to help you get into first position or will take your offer over.  I often tell clients my sales job isn't selling them on a house but selling the other agent on their offer.  You can be nice and be respected - not mutually exclusive at all.

May 12, 2012 10:46 AM #115
Jasmine Bega - Broker Sales Associate / REALTOR®
Urban Nest Realty - Las Vegas, NV
I love this post, thank you for sharing Carie! This came at great time for me!
May 12, 2012 02:13 PM #116
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I find that sometimes people mistake, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, and grace as a weakness rather than a virtue.

May 12, 2012 02:42 PM #117
Randy Elliott
RE/MAX Gold - Lodi, CA
REALTOR : Lodi / Stockton, CA

Last?  No way.  Not this nice guy.  ;-)

May 12, 2012 05:57 PM #118
Debbe Perry
Real Living Carolina Property - Morganton, NC
828.439.3084 Morganton/Lake James NC

Thanks for the thoughtful and well-written post. I think I've earned my wrinkles, and am (mostly) proud of them!

Thank goodness for models of the Golden Rule in my life, from my parents on. It sure helps when life gets tough and people are mean, and I can choose how I react.

One of the things I like most about Active Rain is the collegiality I find here - that plus the positive spirit in a sometimes negative world. Aren't we lucky to have this forum?

May 12, 2012 06:29 PM #119
Eugene Lew
RE/MAX equity group - Happy Valley, OR

Great post here. I think the reason many of us put up with abuse, is desperation. Looking at a bad client is better than no client. The mentality that if you do as much as the "client" asks, you will be rewarded.

What I've discovered is that if a "client" is dishonest, abusive, or constantly tries to go behind your back, then that individual will never get better no matter how hard you work for them. Going back doesn't work... you'll just get abused again.

However, not all deals go in your favor. Sometimes a client will have a change in plans, or a deal happens because of another relationship, that doesn't involve you. If a client is apologetic, or tries to throw something else your way, then they are a genuine party to work with again.

Not all parties are worth pursuing, or taking abuse from.

May 12, 2012 06:30 PM #120
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Carie, excellet post and points.  I believe you can be a "nice guy" and still market agressively and negotiate effectively.

May 12, 2012 11:19 PM #121
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Carie,

Stay as you are. You may not be a winner in the short run, but I bet you have lots of former clients use you again or refer others. That makes you a winner in the long run and sleep well at night, as you said.

May 13, 2012 12:17 AM #122
Barbara Bartell-Kamp
Keller Williams NY Realty - White Plains, NY
Westchester County NY Rentals, Condos, Coops, Home

WOW.  Are you my sister?  I so related to your blog.  I've been only doing this for 7 months and feel like "nice people" always end last.  I have not made a sale yet, despite the fact that every buyer I represented said they loved working with me and I bent over backwards to accomodate their needs, find answers to their questions, even do drive bys of houses to save them time if I didn't know the area.  I had two accepted offers where the people backed out..One just disappeared, the other just got nervous about buying. Others backed out because of medical problems, family problems etc.  I did "fire" two buyers because they were just totally unreasonable and difficult, and wasn't worth dealing with it!

Now, with the market so hot up here in Westchester County, even rentals are going in a day with counter offers!  I am representing a renter moving up from Florida who came up this weekend.  I called on 12 potential condos/coops/houses in several towns they expressed interest in.  They were put on market last week. 7 of them already had accepted offers. Houses especially go in a day if fairly priced. I booked the other 5 on Wednesday and by yesterday, only had 3 to show them! They liked one, I offered on it, and it had an accepted offer just before!

Sooo..I guess the good news is..its becoming a hot market! The challenging news do I get it to produce income!

I'm not giving up yet..I had a very successful business before this where Honesty, Sincerity, Listening skills, negotiating skills, and NICENESS stayed true for the 20 years I did business and was a "small" business competing with the big guys.

May 13, 2012 02:11 AM #123
Ann L. Ferguson
Century 21 North Homes Realty, Inc. - Lynnwood, WA

Great post. I find that I like even the most difficult of buyers and sellers, so it makes it a bit easier to continue to be "nice." But in some ways it makes it harder to make a sale when working with buyers, because I'm not firm enough in telling them the realities -- "If you like it, buy it!" I have buyers who want to keep looking even when we find a great house that fits them. That was possible a couple of months ago, but in this changing market, waiting to make a decision usually means you get none of them. So it's time to make sure to convey that message while maintaining "niceness."

May 13, 2012 02:56 AM #124
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Good Sunday, Everyone ~

Wow ... it touches my heart to discover that this blog post evoked so many thoughtful comments!  I wanted you all to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and express how strongly you feel about this topic.  As you can tell, I have a few feelings about the topic myself.  Essentially, I believe that staying true to who I am, while living my life in accordance with The Golden Rule, has served me well in the long run.  Sure, it can be very difficult at times.  However, it's the only way I know how to live my life -- no matter what.

I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for the many eloquent, candid, and sincere responses.  Each comment really meant so much to me -- and even though I am unable to reply to every one at this time, I just wanted to say "Thank You."  And, what a profound effect you all have had on me.  How fortunate I truly am to have so many wonderful colleagues here on ActiveRain :)

May 13, 2012 03:33 AM #125
Uber Concierge
UberConcierge - Vancouver, BC

I definitely agree. "I strive to abide by 'The Golden Rule. Regardless of someone's position  nobody deserves to be abused.  Nobody." Cheers! Great post! :)

May 13, 2012 07:56 PM #126
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

Excellent!  Good post.

May 13, 2012 09:05 PM #127
Peggy Chirico
Prudential CT Realty - Manchester, CT
REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate

Hi Carrie - You can probably also add that one of the benefits of being "nice" is that other agents will look forward to working with you. At least that's what I have found.

May 13, 2012 10:53 PM #128
Janet Gatseos
Showcase Properties Unlimited - Denver, CO

Thanks Carrie!  I needed that pat on the back!  I have always believed "What goes around, comes around" Share the nice and the nice will come back to you!  Thanks again!

May 14, 2012 12:08 AM #129
Curt Warner
Seattle, WA
Kirkland, Washington. You'll love it here.

Awesome post, Carie! Your description of treating everyone equally (and with respect) is the same approach I take, as well. I love it when i see someone being genuinely "nice" to their barista or server, because they're people, too!

Congrats on the feature!  :-D

May 14, 2012 01:18 AM #130
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

there are so many good people in this business, but also there are few very bad

Realtors got a very bad sad.

I met an older lady yesterday on my open house, she looked very stylish and confident......after a few minutes of a very pleasant conversation, she confessed that she left active real estate job 10 years ago~ and now working only as a small independent 'flipper'. She said, it was too stressful for her......She loved real estate, but can not deal with people..Sometimes i feel the same.......seems times are changing , but some things stay the same, people stay the same...

Love your: WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get.

May 14, 2012 02:20 AM #131
Eugene Adan
Adan Properties, Carlsbad, CA (760) 720-9710 - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad Real Estate

Agents, like buyers or sellers, can be hostile and less than agreeable to work with.  Recently worked with an agent who was adversarial and belligerent on the phone and through email.  It was a funny thing running into him for the first time at my listed property on which we were negotiating.  He said how nice it was to see someone in person instead of through email or phone.  Just like it was in the "old days" doing business face to face.  Yeah, sure.

May 14, 2012 08:17 AM #132
Corinne Kaas
Harmonizing Homes LLC - Toms River, NJ
Transforming Your Home With Design And Style

I believe you be who you are, the folks that can't deal with NICE, have an their own issue....


May 14, 2012 08:23 PM #133
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL
Lazy nice guys (and gals) finish last, hard working and creative ones do just fine. Hard working crooks and liars do pretty well too, but usually end up back on the bottom or in prison.
Mar 15, 2013 03:44 AM #134
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