Communication Gap

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Kristen Correa Real Estate & Reedy Creek Realty Services 0514644

When I take on a client I generally ask them how they like to communicate - in person, email, text, phone calls, and what times of day, what's their schedule like? Usually I don't really have to ask the question. The answer is already apparent. They have already used their tools on me and I know the answer. All too well - smile! I call it the Platinum Rule. The Golden Rule is treat others as you wish to be treated. The Platinum Rule is ask others how they want to do business and then do it, their way.

And while I do try to watch my phone during business hours, there are the occasional calls, emails, texts that go ignored while in another appointment, or, you know, while pumping gas. Or say a client has a question and the answer is this: I don't know, I will ask. Which really means: I will ask the agent, who will ask their client, who will get back to their agent, who will get back to me, who will let you know... in time... Yip. The answer is yes! See? It wasn't me, it was me waiting on the answer for you. And the answer is a good one! And the writing on your wall in your home I'm selling says Patience is a Virtue. Yes, yes it is.

So what about when that's not good enough? Say you've answered the phone or called back pretty fast on all their calls. You've replied to all emails same hour or at worst, same portion or 1/2 of the day. You've taken texting to a whole new level (literally had 24 one morning). You've met in person to show houses even after they are under contract on another just in case this deal doesn't go through (worried about inspection and appraisal) in other words, you've been there. You've really, really been there.

...And now they want to have permission to contact the seller directly. Because they don't want to bother all the people in the middle over little things like paint colors or carpet samples.

Would you say, "Hell no! I am the only person alive who can handle this volume of communication without hiring a call center or going insane or charging you twice?" Or would you call the other agent and let them know your client is about to go rogue and call their seller? Or would you just politely say, "What's the question? Make a list. I will get it handled?" Or would you do something... special?

I was at a loss as to why some people think they have questions that are so important that the answer needs to come before they take their next breath or why they think the pattern of events is so horribly broken. You know, the pattern whereby brokers have been hired to handle the transaction that the client is so desperately trying to handle (mis-handle) themselves, not knowing the seller client isn't answering the buyer's question right away because the seller is the speaker at an event in another state! She isn't stopping speaking to answer a question about the roof certificate! It's sitting on her counter at home! It's not on her podium!!!!! And buyer, your insurance carrier can wait on that answer!  Not. Critical. I will let you know when there is a 911!

And then I realized I do know the answer...

THEY ARE MOVING!

THEY HAVE TOO MANY AGENDA ITEMS!

THEY ARE HAVING TROUBLE MANAGING THEIR SCHEDULE!

THEY ARE FEELING OUT OF CONTROL!

THEY ARE FREAKING OUT!

The best answer to some of our questions isn't really the answer to that specific question at all. It might be simply: Keep your chin up. Moving is hard work. You are doing great.

Posted by

Kristen Correa Real Estate

Comments (44)

Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Just depends on the situation. Have had buyers just show up. I try to emphasize that if necessary can schedule an appointment to go see the property.

Jul 11, 2013 01:50 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Kristen - I like the idea of the platinum rule though I hadn't heard it before.
Jul 11, 2013 04:40 PM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

I like this: The Platinum Rule is ask others how they want to do business and then do it their way.

Jul 11, 2013 05:16 PM
Sharon Webb Raleigh-Durham NC Home Sales
Webb Realty Group | Coldwell Banker Advantage - Raleigh, NC
Trusted Adviser & Client Advocate!

Luv the Platinum Rule and I agree, it is the only way to work with folks. Well said!

Jul 11, 2013 08:54 PM
Mark Delgado
houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove - Benicia, CA
Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h
I love that you are so accommodating with your clients. We often have to establish our one Platinum Rule and explain to nervous owners that if we spend all day holding their hand than we aren't actually spending time trying to rent out their home, which is what they actually hired us to do. There is a balance.
Jul 11, 2013 10:44 PM
Blatt + Cutino
Coldwell Banker Realty - Monterey, CA
Broker-Associate 831/206-8070*Call today*

The platinum rule is a good rule!  Always a good idea to follow the client in terms of how they communicate with you and ask if another is okay too. Love this blog! Well written and funny!

Jul 11, 2013 10:55 PM
Linda De Fusco
The De Fusco TEAM Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
The Arizona Rainmaker

I recall a country western song about 20 years back...along the lines "I wanna talk about me, me, me" and "let's talk about you, you, you!"

We humans never learn.

LOL!

Jul 11, 2013 11:34 PM
Debra Hight
Coldwell Banker United, Realtors - Houston, TX
Debra Hight

Great post and reminder to try to put ourselves in other's positions.

Jul 12, 2013 01:20 AM
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Broker/Owner
Travis Realty - Enterprise, AL
email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846

Even tho we may have had a few communications, I still ask as they may have thought that the way we are using is the best for ME, and they absolutely hate it or have a problem doing it (i.e. - we've been talking on the phone, but they are hearing impaired and prefer to see the conversation)! Doesn't matter to me - heck, I've even gotten so that I like texting....

Jul 12, 2013 01:40 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTORĀ®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent post!  Oftentimes their quick responses and agitated remarks aren't about us or our ability, but them and their schedule that is being turned upside down by moving.  Yup - it's almost like displaced anger!

Jul 12, 2013 02:36 AM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

I also like your platinum rule, although I explain my communication rules to my prospects so when they become clients, they are aware of how quickly to expect a reply or response from me. If I'm not with a client or working on a task, I answer all phone calls, regardless of who's calling.

Jul 12, 2013 02:52 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Great answer.  That is called deflecting.  Perhaps if they have a lot of questions about the home you could just set up a walk through for them.

Jul 12, 2013 02:55 AM
Theresa Akin
CORPUS CHRISTI REALTY GROUP - Corpus Christi, TX

Love the post. If I'm with a client and my phone rings I send it straight to v-mail but with the message that I may be with another client or incapacitated at the moment and will get right back to you asap.  One thing that I don't put on the contract offer, since everyone gets a copy is the seller's phone number. I don't put it into the MLS either. Had an agent get very upset with me because I wouldn't give the number to them. Call me, I'll call/text them with your concerns. I don't ask for the sellers phone number.

Susan #20, How was the agent able to remove the keybox and put the keys into her keybox? I wouldn't just be talking to the lawyer, Call the board and the state commission.  In that part of the contact information for the seller, I do not submit the e-mail. I don't do it in the buyer's section either. I send a separate email to the title company with that information.  Once the buyer agent "was in the area" and thought she'd stop by saying she needed some information and also needed their phone number. They told her to contact me and they were so happy they didn't have her because she just demonstrated how deceitful and untrustworthy she was. She gained the nickname "The Fox". She thinks it's because of her looks!

Jul 12, 2013 02:58 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Kristen,

Moving is a tense time and some people loose their cool at thes time. One of our jobs is to be there for them, but there are certain times, when I will not answer my phone either. While driving or in the middle of the night or even just with my mouth full, I will have to call back, when safely able to do so.

Jul 12, 2013 05:24 AM
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Kristen, we have learned that most buyers that are that impatient are likely to be that unloyal as well.

Jul 12, 2013 05:28 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

That's great.  Sometimes they just need someone to listen to them and smooth things over so they feel better and can get on to their next item on the checklist.  I think you know how to handle it.

Jul 12, 2013 11:05 AM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

They are freaking out because they want to!  It's driven by the need to know NOW.  You have to nip this stuff in the bud or they are never going to let you sleep or have a moments of peace.  I would reiterate how the 'chain of command' goes & tell them the other agent nor seller is going to talk with them.  They have an agent & that's who the seller talks to, end of story.

Have them grow up & play by the rules.  They are there for a good reason to help 'shield' from people just like these buyers! They ARE the nuts we make these rules for.

Jul 13, 2013 12:01 AM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Kristen,

Understanding our clients' needs and how they prefer to communication is the first step in being a good Realtor.  Communication is essential to all business and personal relationships. It is definitely important to understand that no two relationships are the same.

Jul 13, 2013 01:04 AM
Kristen Correa, Broker
Kristen Correa Real Estate & Reedy Creek Realty Services - Keller, TX
I love coffee & real estate. I am out of coffee!

Thanks for the comments, guys. These clients are repeat clients, referral partners to me for many years, and worth every inquiry in gold, personally. Irreplaceable. And I need to remember that when they are struggling to keep calm and carry on.

Jul 16, 2013 11:12 PM
BILLY CRITTENDEN
Missoula Valley Properties, LLC - Missoula, MT
Broker/Owner,ABR,CRS,CNE,CNHS,GRI,RCC,SFR,SRS,SRES

Kristen,

Hang in there, you're doing a great job too! Thanks for the post

Aug 18, 2013 11:44 AM