Do you ever wonder how much your personal stubbornness costs you in commissions and other negotiated settlements every year?
I suppose the amount primarily depends on our individual personalities. But left unchecked, it can dramatically affect our business.
Let me give you an example.
It has been my experience that dry cleaners and laundries often go to great lengths to keep from reimbursing their customers for clothing items that the cleaners has lost or torn.
I have to wonder what is going on in their minds? If they immediately go on the defensive and attempt to keep from quickly and satisfactorily resolving the issue with the customer, it is almost sure that they will lose that customer.
So let's say they lost a dress or maybe they tore a shirt. Wouldn't it make better business sense to immediately apologize for the loss, and ask how much the customer believes he or she paid for the item, and then if it wasn't an outrageous amount, offer full store credit on future cleaning bills?
And then send a follow-up handwritten thank you note to the customer for his forgiveness and his past and future business.
You see, if the dress cost $250 and the customer spends $30 a week at the shop for cleaning services, in two months the customer has recouped his loss, and the cost to the cleaners was the wholesale cost of the gross cleaning bills.
The customer is not only retained, but will probably tell a number of people about his great experience with the XYZ Cleaners.
This equates to the real estate business. When you have an unhappy client, the first words out of your month should be, "I'm sorry. What can I do to solve your loss and redeem your faith in me?"
Then ask, "If I wrote you a check for $xxx right now, would that be evidence of my sorrow, and a sincere request for your forgiveness?"
And by the way, never, ever use the old saying, "Can we split the difference?" Even if the answer is yes, you didn't walk away a winner of your client's personal regard.
I became a licensed real estate broker in 1966. In all likelihood if you're licensed, you got yours decades later.
In all of those years -- some forty-eight all told -- no client has ever seriously threatened to sue me, much less followed through.
I've always gone overboard to immediately settle a dispute, sometimes at a greater expense than was the client's actual loss. And you should do that, too.
By holding your ground to prove you were right sometimes works. But what is important is what is the total cost to you today and what direct cost accrues to you in the future as a result of that stand.
Be like a good dry cleaners and laundry owner. Buy the lost dress and the torn shirt.
William S. Cherry & No Company