I'm expanding upon an ActiveRain post I wrote in 2015 where I listed 20 things I learned tending bar. While most ring true today, this lesson is a harder one to relate to real estate completely because I got married before I became a REALTOR®
So today's post focuses on the third of twenty lessons.
Lesson #3: Never date a customer or client
As a bartender, you control the drinks and the cash register on behalf of the bar owner. Customers will flirt, beg, and make all kinds of promises to get a drink on the house and you have to be firm. Your tips are dependent on how you treat your customers - how you make them feel, how much attention you give them, if you notice when they need another drink, if you remember their usual order, etc.
It's important to build rapport with each customer. Each one needs some of your undivided attention. Sometimes they need someone to listen to their latest triumphs and give them praise. Sometimes they need someone to hear their woes and console them. Others need someone to ask them about their day or week. It's really hard to give everyone the undivided attention they desire if your love interest is sitting at the bar.
Single? Make it a double. Double Trouble.
When you are a single bartender, and your customers have had a few drinks, they may become braver or bolder. They may ask for another drink well after last call, they may ask for free shots, or they may ask you out. It's imperative that you do your best to help them save face so they can return again with their head held high, while remaining firm and saying no.
No matter what you do, this whole situation gets a lot harder if you say yes to someone at your bar. The dynamic changes for everyone. If you have a bad date with someone in the bar it becomes awkward for you and that person. Everyone's attention then focuses on why it didn't work out and not on your customers. It can also embolden other customers to ask you out and show you they are a better match for you than the other customer.
Real estate clients need that same undivided attention. You are tasked with looking out for their best interest, in terms of the real estate transaction. You do not take personal calls while you are with them. You are professional and focus on the real estate tasks that need to be completed.
Real estate is a bit like serial monogamy
The real estate relationship starts out with an initial meeting. You build rapport by asking and answering a lot of questions of each other. You spend time together touring homes or getting their home ready for market. You tend to have a lot of communication throughtout the time you are serving your client. If the REALTOR® calls work, the client takes the call right away. Because you spend time together you share the events of your days with each other an develop a trusting bond.
When the transaction is complete, it's almost like a break-up. You no longer need to speak to each other as often. The client may not take your call when at work. You begin to lose track of the day-to-day happenings in each other's lives outside of the updates on social media.
Can you find love on the job in real estate?
Admittedly, a close friend of mine met here husband at an Open House she was hosting and they are still married. She is however, no longer a real estate agent. I'm curious if you think not dating a client is a good lesson or, if you think it just limits the possibilities of finding love.
Let me know in the comments.
Maybe it's just my personal preference, but I still believe it's better not to date a customer or client, at least while you are working together.
In case you missed them, here are the previous posts about lessons I learned tending bar.