Is there such a thing as a valid excuse?

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Whether you’re dealing with prospects, clients, service providers, or friends, the way to maintain a good relationship is to do whatever you’ve said you’ll do, AND to respond when appropriate.

For instance, it’s a good idea to respond as quickly as possible when they’ve called or non-response is rudewritten with a question, forwarded an agreement to be signed, or (as in my case) sent completed work for review.

What does “as quickly as possible” mean? I’d say it means the same day, or if their communication came in late, the next morning.

If they’ve written or called and you haven’t replied after a couple of days, some might send a follow up saying something like “Did you get my message on Tuesday?”

When that happens, the best thing you can do is apologize, sincerely.

If there’s a valid reason for your tardiness, say so. If you just totally forgot, own up to it, but don't make an insulting excuse. 

excuses can be insultsIn my opinion, one of the worst things you can say is “I haven’t had a chance,” especially if the activity they expected (such as answering a question or forwarding a document) would have taken mere minutes.

In my opinion, ”I haven’t had a chance” is ridiculous if the task is small and more than one day has passed. It’s really means “I didn’t feel like bothering.” Or “You aren’t important enough for me to respond quickly.” Or perhaps, “I chose to watch TV all evening instead of (whatever you said you'd do).”

In other words, it’s an insult.

“I took a few days off for a vacation” is also an excuse that can ruffle feathers. There’s nothing wrong with taking a vacation – as long as you haven’t left people hanging. A quick note saying you’ll be away would go a long way toward maintaining relationships.

“I’ve been swamped” would be an OK excuse to not do something that would take some time – again except for the fact that it takes less than a minute to send a quick text or email telling someone that you’re running behind.

Are there any valid excuses for failing to respond in a timely manner?

Sure.

  • Illness or injury – or an illness or injury involving a loved one.
  • Being snowed in with no power or phone service.
  • Being affected by a disaster – like a hurricane, tornado, flood, fire, etc.

Otherwise, a quick note saying you’re delayed (and possibly for how long) will assure people that they matter to you – and that you haven’t forgotten them or whatever obligation you have to them.

 

 Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Will Hamm - they were on my mind after encountering a couple of rude folks.

Oct 20, 2019 03:35 PM #4
Rainmaker
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Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I remember my 4th grade teacher stating there were fewer excuses, but far more explanations.  She went on to say only the receiver of the explanation could grant a coveted excuse!

Oct 20, 2019 04:36 PM #5
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Myrl Jeffcoat That's a statement worth pondering. Did all the 4th grade students comprehend it?

Oct 20, 2019 08:08 PM #6
Rainmaker
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Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Most of us had to ponder until at least 6th grade before comprehending it!  

Oct 20, 2019 11:05 PM #7
Rainmaker
5,077,069
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Marte Cliff even with personal tragedies, one must at least turn over contacting the person to a manager.... that client would understand but expect to be contacted...

Oct 21, 2019 03:18 AM #8
Rainmaker
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Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Marte... as they say, "stuff" happens... but when it does the best course of action is to just "come clean" and let someone know what happened.

Oct 21, 2019 06:16 AM #9
Rainmaker
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Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

Amen! And if you want to be the deity of douche in my eyes, just tell me how you were out of town . . . like your phone didn't work that whole time? 

Exception: you were on a cruise or Mexico, somewhere with no cell reception. But tell us beforehand! 

NO excuses, no exceptions. Just own your shiz! That's what grownups do.

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Oct 21, 2019 06:26 AM #10
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
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Barbara Todaro I think so too. And if the individual or company wanted to keep doing business with that person, they need to make it happen.

Nina Hollander Yes, but of course sometimes the "stuff" is just arrogance, for which a person would probably not be forgiven.

Oct 21, 2019 07:32 AM #11
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
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Candice A. Donofrio At least that's what polite, responsible grownups do. Thanks for the feature!

Oct 21, 2019 07:34 AM #12
Rainmaker
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Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Marte- - -always a good reminder.  Unfortunately too many of those who need to hear this message are much too busy to understand it.

Oct 21, 2019 09:21 AM #13
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
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Michael Jacobs Right now I can think of a couple who are not too busy, unless playing counts. They're just much to self-absorbed to understand it.

Oct 21, 2019 09:38 AM #14
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Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, GRI, WLS
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
603-380-4886

Excusitis......I hear a lot of them over the years, especially from agents.  Be professional folks.  If you're busy then just say that and give a time when you'll respond back.  But if it's a contract thing going on, time is of essence and not responding doesn't work with me. If need be I'd call the broker if the agent is mia for over 24 hours.

Oct 23, 2019 03:47 PM #15
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Marte:

People don't want to hear excuses (all of us) but normally will be understanding if it's something like an injury or accident (yours or a family member), family emergency, a natural disaster, etc. as you pointed out. If you are going to be delayed in responding a quick text or email is far better than just being late and saying nothing, and others will appreciate this and understand.

Jeff

Oct 24, 2019 03:20 PM #16
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Anna Banana Kruchten - Phoenix Homes Sales At least you do have that leverage - unless the culprit IS the broker, of course.

Jeff Dowler, CRS I agree - most people are understanding. Those who aren't understanding in the face of something unavoidable probably aren't worth dealing with anyway. BUT - you do need to let people know.

Oct 25, 2019 04:24 PM #17
Rainmaker
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Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Any answer ... is better than crickets, Marte Cliff ... but that said, the truth is always the best option when providing an "excuse".  Today the sound of crickets (sadly) seems to be the go-to answer more and more often ... and in my eyes that creates far more problems moving forward ...

Gene

 

 
Oct 29, 2019 09:32 AM #18
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
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I agree, Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi. The truth will cause fewer problems than silence. 

Oct 29, 2019 03:27 PM #19
Rainmaker
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Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

As much as we want to honor commitments, things do come up unfortunately at times.

Nov 06, 2019 02:41 PM #20
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Laura Cerrano Yes they do, and people are usually OK with it if we tell the truth and don't make  goofy excuse - like "I didn't have a chance to..."

Nov 06, 2019 03:57 PM #21
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Plebe year at Annapolis the acceptable responses:
The answer to the question

Yes Sir

No Sir

No excuse Sir

I'll find out Sir.

Now in the "real world" there are sometimes legit excuses/reasons and if a client can't accept you were unavailable because of a death in the family, you unexpectedly were hospitalized, etc., it's time to evaluate if they deserve to be your client.

Nov 07, 2019 06:31 AM #22
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Liz and Bill Spear I agree. If they can't accept those reasons, you don't need them.

On the other hand, if an agent simply decided to take a long lunch instead of being at an appointment on time, they don't need that agent!

Nov 07, 2019 06:57 AM #23
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