Your Undivided Attention

Real Estate Agent with Hollish Hill Group, JPAR Stellar Living

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. My husband Douglas Hill

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?

Image by <a href="">missavana</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>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. 

Lesson #1: Greet everyone with a smile

Lesson #2: Give your clients what they want if you can

Posted by


Dana Hollish Hill
REALTOR * Broker * Coach 
JPAR Stellar Living
800 S Frederick Ave, Suite 200, Gaithersburg, MD 20877
office 301.944.9070  
cell  202.271.5301

Comments (15)

R. Michael Brown
R. Michael Brown LLC Digital Marketing & Public Relations - Lake Placid, FL
Communication that increases sales!

Great fun reading this! You're an awesome writer!

Nov 09, 2023 08:47 AM
Dana Hollish Hill

Awww. Thanks Mike. So kind of you to say. Glad you enjoyed it. 


Nov 09, 2023 09:50 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Dana,

I like you going back to your older posts and rewriting and adding how they relate to real estate. Well done!

Nov 09, 2023 08:51 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Dana and so much you learn from being a bartender.  I do not think I ever ask for a free shot.  

Nov 09, 2023 08:58 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Excellent post #3. I think after a deal is closed it's perfectly fine to continue a friendship with a client. If that turns into a love relationship, even better.


Nov 09, 2023 01:33 PM
Dana Hollish Hill


That's kind of where I stand on the subject as well. I've made some amazing friendships in this business.

Nov 09, 2023 02:12 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
That kind of undivided eye contact can be terrifying, like the one in the picture. But it’s still important to do all those things. Really evaluate where you are and where you want to be..
Nov 09, 2023 03:08 PM
Dana Hollish Hill

I used to work with someone who gave amazing undivided attention to people. At a holiday party, several people told me that when they first talked with him, they cried. They had never had someone look at them so intently. It was genuine, but it was unnerving to some.

Nov 09, 2023 04:08 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Dana - the comparisons for real estate and wetting ones whistle go far beyond tooting of horns of any kind.   Hmm - mixed metaphors and last calls combine once again.   

I am happy (and likely for more than a hour, too) that this series is being served to us as you delve into your AR archives.  Our posts are a treasure trove showcasing many potential gems.   Good job.  

Nov 09, 2023 03:10 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Dana Hollish Hill, I do not think it is a good idea to mix business with pleasure-  However, I know many Real Estate agents who have worked together and ended up married to each other. 

Nov 09, 2023 05:47 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi DAna- I'm loving this series and so happy that you're continuing with this. I can't wait until the next one.  And while I'm not an agent, I think it would be best not to until any business you have with them is completed. 

Nov 09, 2023 06:16 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Dana Hollish Hill - Interesting article and lots of good bartender advice! Whether one is a bartender tending bar with customers or a real estate agent selling real estate, I think if you can't remember Dana's bartender rules, play Kenny Rogers -"The Gambler" and if you only remember one or two lines, it is know when to walk away and know when to run, and/or if you're going to play the game, you gotta play it right. 

Nov 10, 2023 04:01 AM
Dana Hollish Hill

Great idea Patricia -

Now I wish I had added that video to the post!

Dec 01, 2023 10:16 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

I am guilty of dating a server nd it was kept discrete and lasted for a while until another customer made her a better offer. All good. My clients get my undivided attention and none of them have asked me out which would make my wife happy.

Nov 10, 2023 06:44 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

A good analogy for sure. I am actually now married to my former client from over 17 years ago! 

Nov 10, 2023 06:47 AM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
NC Real Estate Transition & Relocation 919-602-848

Hi Dana, Very interesting post and how you tied bartending in with Real Estate. Thankfully I was married first. I've heard it is hard for some of the young women. 

Nov 10, 2023 07:54 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Please tell me if the person who looked so directly is someone I know?  Great post - and congratulations on the feature - miss you! 

Nov 10, 2023 04:01 PM
Dana Hollish Hill

Lise - It is indeed. Thank you. Miss you too.

Nov 10, 2023 04:03 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

A very entertaining and delightful post again. Thank you. And congratulations on the feature, well deserved.

Nov 11, 2023 06:08 AM
Dana Hollish Hill

Leanne - Thank you for your kind words. It certainly was a pleasant surprise. 

Nov 11, 2023 04:30 PM
Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC
eXp Realty LLC Salina Group - Salina, KS
Love To Help People

Dana, your comparison of lessons learned from bartending to the real estate industry is insightful and thought-provoking. The principle of not dating a client or customer highlights the importance of professionalism and keeping personal and professional lives separate in real estate. This approach ensures that clients receive the full attention and service they deserve, which is crucial in building successful and long-lasting client relationships in the industry. 🤝🔑 #RealEstateProfessionalism #ClientRelationships

Nov 28, 2023 07:46 PM