The other day I posted a blog entitled "Careful how you answer the phone." Basically it was a tirade against real estate agents who lack professionalism on the phone, and those who don't answer their phone at all. I've received several comments on the post and almost unanimously they agreed with what I said.
But, as with everything in life, there was one dissenter. Who of course didn't leave his name. Now, I'm not writing this post to call this person out. I just want to point out the short sightedness and lack of understanding of general business that this person exhibited in his comment.
The commenter in question stated, and I paraphrase here, "until you walk in someone else's shoes don't judge. I did 98 transactions last year and if I had spent all my time answering the phone from every buyer broker out there I wouldn't have done that much business."
Okay, fine, maybe I shouldn't judge. But let me point something out that I think a lot of business people, big and small miss. Once you as a business owner start thinking about what's best for you, you're done as a business owner. It's never about what's best for you. It's what's best for your customer/client.
My answer to the dissenting commenter would be, how do you know that every call coming is a buyer's agent? Do you have all the buyer's agents numbers memorized. Maybe it's someone calling off a sign or an internet ad you have out there. And by not answering your phone you missed an opportunity to pick up both sides of a deal, or at least a prosepective client.
Even if it was a buyer's agent, by not picking up the phone you may have missed an opportunity to sell your listing because the buyer agent couldn't get the necessary information from you and his/her clients decided to move on to another home. And if you're so busy that you can't respond to phone calls may I suggest you hire an assistant to handle those calls. 98 deals is great, but maybe you could have done more if you answered the phone.
When I owned my health club facilities up in San Francisco several years back one of the first things I did was extend the hours of operation. Why? Because my customers wanted it. Now I'm not saying that I did EVERYTHING my customers wanted. Some of the suggestions were a bit outlandish. But, none of the other previous owners of the health club ever took this step. They were all looking out for themselves. They didn't want to have to hire additional staff and/or man the desk themselves. And lo and behold the business did not thrive under their leadership.
My point, as stated before, is we as business owners (and corporate America could heed this advice as well) need to stop thinking only about what's good for the bottom line. Focus on building a better product and the bottom line will magically improve. I say that all time about professional sports franchise owners. Don't worry so much about cost cutting and revenue generation (of course pay attention to them) but instead putting a winning team on the field and those other things will take care of themselves.
And that's my two cents.
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