How Deodorant and Dominos Relate To Customer Service?

Real Estate Agent with Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois

I was all of 7 or 8 years old. My Dad had run out of deodorant. He gave my Mom the command to stop what she was doing and run out to the grocery store to get him a new supply.


She was probably cooking or working on one of her sewing projects at the time. She did what Moms do, she called out to me asking “Sugar, would you run to the store real quick and get your Dad some more “Arrid” deodorant?” 


The local “High-N-Low” grocery store was just around the corner. I was happy to do the assignment, even more proud I found the brand and purchase it.  I rush right home and presented it to my Dad. 


When he saw what I had purchased, the look he gave me sent terror through my bones. He began yelling for my Mom commanding her to his presence in the bathroom.  He fiercely scolded her for not carrying out the assignment he gave her.


At my tender age I had not started using deodorant, so I did not understand there were different formats of the same brand. He favored the cream style, and I had brought home the aerosol.  I stood there frozen and traumatized has I observed him speak to her a way no Husband should ever speak to his Spouse no matter how heated the argument. 


I did not know whether he was going to whip out his belt and whip me to the point of fainting like he did when at the age of around five when I told him my older siblings, who were conceived by him from a previous marriage had been playing in his dangerous collection. Upon him asking them, and they denying it, he grabbed me with his belt going to town on me.  The next day he had to bail one my older siblings out jail for an action that could have led to the death of a cousin.


Standing there enduring his yelling, I just knew I was in trouble again for trying to do the right thing. My Mom said not a word.  She stood there and gave no response.   I believe when he was finished she returned the spray and got the cream.  The household was at peace again.


As he performed his rage, my young mind maturing in the moment thought if it was that important to him, why he didn’t just go and purchase it himself before he asked her to do so? I could not understand why his Wife who went to work every day to help him provide for his household would have to endure such mistreatment.   I began to feel overwhelmed with guilt I had cause her much pain.


In that moment she was teaching me perhaps not on purpose, there are times in life when individuals are lashing out with anger the best response can be to quietly listen.


I must express though in that ranting space in time, I decided this man was not husband material, nor dad material. He became in my mind in this and numerous situations to follow, a man whose home I live in.  It was grinded in me if I was going to survive living with this man, I would have to do everything within my power to avoid him, not allow a father/son relationship with me, and most certainly not do anything to displease him.


I do believe every time he engaged me he saw it in my eyes my truth about what I thought of him. I probably suffered numerous other unfair physical and verbal punishments from him because, my non-verbal communications of what I really deeply thought of him were probably so transparent to him. 


Nevertheless, I showed him respect whenever I had no other choice than to be in his presence.


Survival to adulthood for me living in his household meant fading into the wall as much as possible to avoid confrontation, until one final day I had enough of being beat up on.


I, probably around seventeen or eighteen years old when he raised his fist to hit me, I said in a calm voice “you may be well able to knock me out, but this day if you lay a hand on me I promise, you will remember this fight, and one of us will leave out of your home on our back carried out, and it won’t be me.”


He looked into my eyes and it finally came out of his mouth “you really do hate me?”


I responded with “I promise you whatever success you thought I might be capable of, I plan to surpass it so it will be a living testimony I did it not because you encouraged it, but because it was in-spite of all the nasty evil things you’ve said and done to me!”


I finally learned how to intimidate the Intimidator!


In a recent transaction I had something happen with a valued Client really shocking to me. I was representing a Seller I had known since his childhood who found himself in a very stressful “Domino” transaction.


I, through my effective marketing efforts, and with the help of a very professional cooperating Buyer’s Agent had procured a financing Buyer for his home. My Seller had elected to pursue what I understand as a referred For-Sale-By-Owner without my participating in that transaction.


Not very much information was shared with me about that other transaction until one day another Agent involved I guess in the center of this “Domino” of transactions called me to inquire what was the problem with the Buyer purchasing my Seller’s home?


Suddenly, there was such urgency infiltrated into a smoothly going deal pending process.


I told her I was unaware of any problem. In fact, I thought the deal was going very smoothly. All of the processing of the deal pending had fallen right within the expected timeframe.  The Buyer was in underwriting awaiting a clear to close.


I thought I was providing sufficient transparent communication with my Seller through sharing with him every communication I had received from the Buyer’s Agent and their Lender.


The other Agent on the other end of my Seller’s transaction began to tell me she felt something was wrong, and I need to bet busy with getting to the bottom of it.


In that moment, I knew she was going to be a primary source of trouble, and my Seller was in the midst of a “Domino” effect transaction.


When I use this term it means a Seller is purchasing another home with their Seller purchasing another home all contingent on my Seller closing first so the other transactions can close as well.


What can make these “Domino” type of transactions stressful is when the timeline dates in the contracts are not extended out far enough to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances beyond any party to all these transactions control. Any hint of a needed extension can send multiple individuals into stroke territory.


This Agent began to tell me how I needed to make it my business to notify the Buyer and their Lender working diligently to procure the Buyer financing to purchase my Seller’s home, know their transaction had better close the next week or everything could blow up for everyone.


I did remember as she was throwing arrogant attitude through the phone waves my Seller had earned their clear to close pending their closing on their home, and even the most emotionally driven Seller would find a way to rationalize how stupid to allow a deal to fall apart because it may take a week longer to close.

I reminded her I could call daily, but there are times in a transaction that level of pressure makes no difference.


The next thing I know my Seller is calling his Buyer’s Loan Officer directly while I’m calling the Buyer’s Agent to explain how quickly our smooth transaction is becoming stressful, with her reassuring me there is really no indication for concern.


At the very start of receiving her Buyer’s offer I had interviewed her about her confidence in the Loan Officer. I discovered this was the primary Loan Officer she referred all her valued Buyers, resulting in some major trust here.  Plus, she was very faithful from the start to forward me an update before I even had to ask.  What a dream cooperating Agent!


What I really was denied here was my Seller consulting with me at the very start of him having the contract drawn up on his purchase, on my opinion of how much time he should have asked for to keep his Sellers patient and trusting everything would work out fine.


From the very start when going over the offer forms I tell my valued Clients it is very easy for parties to the transactions to start planning their lives around the dates in the contract, when in reality when life just happens they can really be target dates. It always best to wait until Buyer’s have a clear to close to solidify moving plans.


Real estate transactions can be like balancing priceless fragile objects.  More than the homes themselves, valued Client’s peace of mind is the most fragile because selling and purchasing has a built-in hidden stress that can surprisingly hit them causing them to explode.


I tell every valued Client I will do everything I can to prepare them for the experience, but there is no realistic way I can fully prepare them for the entire journey. There are some things in life we have to live them out, growing in wisdom as we go through the experience. 


I ask them to trust it is a step by step process, and I will do my best to prepare and/or guide them through each step of the process.


I just knew when that Agent told me there was trouble in my transaction, a transaction she was not even involved in; I knew she was the source of the trouble. She had begun to plant the seed of doubting me in my Seller.  I could imagine her saying to them “he must not have been doing his job if the closing on their home is delayed.”


The next thing I know his Spouse is calling with loads of rage me telling me exactly what I knew this Agent had probably told them.  I am so sadden share a Colleague would do this.  She was so angry at me because she said she had never seen her Spouse so upset. 


In that moment I remembered how my Dad had walk up one side of my Mom and down the other. I remember how she handled him with silent presence.


As my valued Client breathed all of her frustration on me, I naturally thought of all the objection handling expertise I’ve gain over these thirty-two years. I was so thankful that childhood memory was quickened to me, so I just listened in silence.   When she needed to take a breath from her anguish, she asked if I was still there?  I told her I was respectfully giving her the time to say everything she needed to say.


Once she finished, I said I hope her day improves from this point ending the conversation. I knew she didn’t know the whole story, she was reacting to her husband’s stress, in venting she would relief some of her stress, requiring me to have thick enough skin to know people with their all too human selves will make comments they may live to regret.


I knew silent presence was far more powerful than any objection handling I could use to redirect her emotional thinking process.


As soon as I finished with her I called her Spouse. I got beat up on a second time. He did unknowingly clearly confirm, I was the convenient passenger on this journey being throne under the bus; not just by the Agent involved on his purchase side, but also by the Loan Officer he was calling directly for the purpose of pressuring him to obtain the Buyer’s clear to close faster.


I became the easy target to deflect fault. It may my heart jump for joy when my Seller’s Attorney told me he explained to our Seller neither of us could be held responsible for the processing of his Buyer’s financing. This was a hard lesson there are just some times situations in life we can’t control, requiring us to stay flexible.


After every closed transaction I reflect on what I could have gone to help it go smoother. I use each of them as a learning lesson to improve customer service, only I was living out right before me a customer service challenge of evaluating in right now time, what I could do to help my valued Client know I was really serving him with far more effort than he perceived.


I first called the Buyer’s Agent to inform her of the drama unfolding. I was so grateful she gave me her ear.  She told me she could not believe someone who has known me and my character since their childhood would so quickly not recognize how badly I was being throne under the bus.  I told her it was the stress not the individual affecting their dialogue.   She helped me find clarity in what to do next.


Next, I called the Buyer’s Loan Officer to thank him for all his efforts with the financing. I told him how I appreciated him allowing my Seller to call him directly for status updates which is an unusual courtesy.  Gently, shared with him how I understood how this communication could lead to my being throne under the bus.  He immediately apologized acknowledging how if he did not get the Buyer financed this transaction could have an extremely ugly outcome.


Next, I sent an email addressed to my Seller, their Attorney, Buyer’s Agent, and Buyer’s Attorney thanking them for all the harmonious teamwork in making the transaction go as smooth as possible. I shared as hard as we try to keep our valued Clients informed of every detail of the deal pending process, there are numerous phone calls, text, and other behind the scenes action taking place to get us successfully to the closing table.  I mentioned it is so important we stay sensitive of how our valued Clients don’t see, or while under such stress don’t comprehend the vital behind the scenes effort to serve them well.


Next, as I always strive to do I attended the closing. So glad the Seller got to see the Buyer was really innocent and oblivious to all stress they endured. I really believe I Seller got to see their Buyer had been very cooperative wanting to purchase as much as they wanted to sell.  The closing was a joyous time for all of us.


I had called my Seller the day before to prepare them for one more stressful moment at the closing just like I did when they agree to list their home with me, I walked them through all the possible events that could happen. I told him to do everything he could to stay cool because the funding might not happen until he was on his way to his next closing.  Imagine leaving one closing headed to your next closing not knowing if the transaction fully closed.  Fortunately, the funding came through just before it was time for my Seller to leave.


I may never get an apology for all the ugly comments said to me on the phone, but I saw the apology in my Seller’s eyes. His eyes said he was glad I was there at the closing involved to the very end. 


I hope he learned from me charm is far more powerful than pressure. I can motivate people to do far more for me when I let them know I value and appreciate them.


The second lesson I hope he learned is when we can’t control the circumstances we can control how flexible we can become, not allowing it to stress us to the point we hurt others with our unfiltered tongue.


I really do believe when we daily strive to do right by others it is like good fertilized seed we plant in the ground causing all things in our lives to work together for our good, and the good of all whom we serve and touch with our good intentions.


My Dad in his funky moment and my Mom in how she handled his bad behavior really gave me a gift that keeps on giving. The gift was I managed to stay calm in the midst of anger, diffuse the anger through silent presence, get the transaction closed, and ultimately another valued Client to their goal.


Thanks for reading all the way to the end!


I hope what I endured takes you to a whole another level of greater success!


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Dale Taylor

Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
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