I have the worst barber in Seattle, and I'll never go anywhere else.

Real Estate Agent with Windermere Real Estate

Seattle CenterI got a hair cut this morning and as I was leaving the barber shop I had the same thought I always have when I leave the barber shop.  "Wow that is one God awful haircut, but I love my barber".    

I have been going to the same barber for over seven years now and he is quite possibly the worst in Seattle.  I won't tell you his name for fear of angering a man who wields sharp objects near my head.   Suffice it to say he is a Lebanese born man in his mid 50's. 

Keep in mind, cutting my hair is not all that difficult of a process.  You slap a #2 attachment to a pair of clippers and go to town, and yet still he manages to make a mistake or two each time.  Sometimes it is a clump of hair over my ear that was missed, sometimes he takes a chunk out of the back leaving a small but noticeable divot.  Once he actually clipped my ear and made it bleed for a few minutes.

So why do I go back?  I love the guy.  He is fascinating.  Grew up and lived in a war torn middle eastern country.  Has stories that would make your hair (pun intended) turn white.  Culturally he is dramatically different from me.   We talk endlessly about the difference he sees between America and his home land.  We talk about his children and the struggles he has to raise them in a foreign culture.   He is endlessly good natured and friendly.  He knows me, my life and my business.  I have also gotten to know him, met many members of his family and remember and bring up issues he is having with them, and his business.   In short, we have become friends over time. 


Because the guy is friendly and interesting.  He genuinely seems happy to see me each month, listens and shares stories and advice open and honestly.  He is a great guy, and month after month year after year I go back.  I risk the minor nicks and cuts.  Endure having to go home and reshape certain spots he overlooked, all because I cherish the experience.  He is comfortable familiar and I like going to him.

So what's the point.  As I left today a thought occurred to me.  What am I doing in my business that fosters the same feeling of loyalty and, dare I say it, love, from my customers?  What am I doing to make them so loyal that even if I miss trim their bangs from time to time, they will keep them coining back.

Here is my list of things to do.

•1.        Take a genuine interest in everyone in front of me.  Clients friends, family, acquaintances and strangers alike. 

•2.       Never treat anyone like a client.  The closing is secondary and they will come if you treat people correctly.

•3.       Truly make their interests mine.  That includes telling a client that now is not the best time to sell their home, or that that they can't afford the house they truly desire.

•4.       Take the time to get to know them.  Understand their needs, wants and dreams, before I ever act on their behalf.

•5.       Listen intently.

•6.       Share honestly.

•7.       Ignore the outcome.  Paychecks are temporary.  Loyalty is forever.


If you build it.  They will come. 


So good by for now my friend.  I'll be back next month.  But don't worry even if you take another chunk out of my ear, I'll still come back.  Some things are more important than perfection. 


Feel free to check out my Seattle Home Buyer's Blog at www.seattlehomebuyingguide.com


Posted by

Rob Graham, Managing Broker

Windermere Real Estate



Comments (57)

Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

At least your hair will grow back, I am not sure about your ear!  I have been going to the same place for years... and it is a convienience issue... i can just show up with out an appointment.  the problem is it is like playing roulette, Never knowing who is available to cut my hair, and there are times I walk out thinking "I hope she doesnt cut my hair again!"


Feb 19, 2009 02:31 AM
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

I think the best of both worlds is to be good at what you do AND to be personable.  I'm with Kelly.  If they didn't go a good job I would not be heading back. I appreciate your dedication to this man, but I would have to move on.  Maybe it's because I pay $50 to get my hair cut and $150 to have it highlighted.  I have high expectations at that price...

I think the same applies to real estate. You can be the nicest person in the world and make a transaction living heck with incompetance.  There are too many dollars at stake for personality to win over competance.


Feb 19, 2009 03:21 AM
Mike & Kathleen Kelly

Great post. It proves that sometimes it is more about realtionships than anything else. It helps to bring home the point of client loyalty and staying connected.

Feb 19, 2009 03:23 AM
Aaron Auxier - "Hollywood's Connection to Vegas"®
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV

Nice blog about loyalty and the like.

Feb 19, 2009 04:18 AM
Lisa Udy
Platinum Real Estate Group - Logan, UT
Logan Utah Realtor

Great post! It is funny how we will settle for a bad haircut if we like the person doing it.

Feb 19, 2009 05:02 AM
SacramentoCommercialLoans Bank Turn downs welcomed
Sacramento commercial loans - Sacramento, CA
Quick closings 916-847-7212

I am with you. I have gone to my barber for almost 10 years my son goes to him now. Sometimes I feel like he did the cut with his eyes closed or maybe he is PO at me. But I always go back , it is my safe haven a place that is full of sports, energy drinks and more. Plus lots of stuff happens there so it keeps things fresh.

Feb 19, 2009 06:13 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I liked your post, because it made me think.  But, wonder why we put up with incompetence?  I liked Melina's summation.  Are your points about being truthful an inner-monologue you've had with yourself, i.e., "Okay I don't like the haircuts, but dude is cool" ? OR . . . are you planning to be truthful with this guy and tell him you don't like the haircuts he gives you?

Reminds me of the SEINFELD episode where he wants to go to another barbur.  Remember that one?  

Personally, I am not someone into rewarding incompetence.  To me, this isn't being honest, it's being an enabler. 

Here's another story about a "professional" who clip too close.  A doctor (orthopedic surgeon) fractured my femur in May '08 when he replaced my knee.  OOPS . . .

He's a personalble enough doctor.  But, when I went back to him for the post-ops he wasn't diagnosing the problem.  It's NOT that hard to put a #2 clipper on . . . remember? 

Seven months later I'm at another doctor who spent over 6 hours on me (my left leg) trying to fix the problem of the bad haircut, butcher job.  75% of my femur has been replaced, and 50% of the tibia, not to mention the entire knee component.

AND . . . during the time of my bad haircut I was out working . . . SHOWING PROPERTY with a fractured femur!!  You are fortunate.  At least you can see the bad job on your noggin.  I don't have x-ray vision, and didn't know I was walking around on fractured bones, until I went to another barber. 

All things being equal . . . well, you get my point!?!?

You are a good person for being polite and hospitable to someone who continues to charge you for a bad haircut.  (My inner-monolouge: I thought only women were dumb doormats?)

Feb 19, 2009 06:51 AM
Paul McFadden
Responsive Pest Control - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Rob: Good point. I should refer you to my place, Capelli's. Not only will you get great conversation but a fantastic haircut as well.

Feb 19, 2009 06:58 AM
League City, TX - Worrell Team, REALTORS, GRI, CNE
RE/MAX 1st Class - League City, TX

Nice. Just let him cut a weave next time... ha ha.

Feb 19, 2009 07:41 AM
League City, TX - Worrell Team, REALTORS, GRI, CNE
RE/MAX 1st Class - League City, TX

I hope your barber doesn't read much on the Internet.

Feb 19, 2009 07:42 AM
Tom Ferry
Tom Ferry-yourcoach - Newport Beach, CA


GREAT post and great reminder!

Congrats on the Feature!


Feb 19, 2009 11:18 AM
Danielle Daniels
Real Estate Showcase - Marion, OH

Great post, I think we all have some sort of relationship similar to the one you write about. 

Feb 19, 2009 11:43 AM
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Great post Rob, and very moving.  You are right on, one-on-one relationships are what life is all about, community!

Feb 19, 2009 12:02 PM
Kelsey Barklow
Hurd Realty - Johnson City, TN

Did you crop the top of your picture because of your bad 'do? lol.

Feb 19, 2009 12:32 PM
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

Honestly i think there is a barber in this world who would be interesting to talk to and who would not take divots out of ones scalp --- interesting or not -- would be on the lookout for one that was interesting and who can cut hair. Our 2 cents.

Feb 19, 2009 02:19 PM
Tom Ikonomou Vancouver
RE/MAX City - Vancouver, BC
Pro-active Real Estate Marketing

What if you get a good haircut, will he lose you as a customer? lol I know, I know, your point is clear. After many years in the restaurant business prior to real estate I know for a fact; there will always be times when things do not go right, it's how you deal with that issue that will determine whether you lose a customer or gain an Ammbassador.

Look at the publicity you gave your barber!

Feb 19, 2009 02:30 PM
Randy L. Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

I think if I were to keep him as a barber, I would consider wearing a hat.  LOL

All kidding aside, great post!

Feb 19, 2009 06:13 PM
Lori Churchill Cofer
Beasley Realty - Pullman, WA
Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA


I have a rather interesting take on this...my husband is a hairdresser...and so is my son in a family run business my husband started over thirty years ago.  I would love to blog about this myself, but know that most people would never even see it ...and because yours is featured, I would like to pass on my thoughts if that is OK.

Now granted, I would have to tell you both of mine are superb at what they do...in fact when our local WSU Cougars made it to the sweet sixteen last year there was a blurb on Sports Illustrated about who cuts our local Basketball Coach's Hair which is my husband...

But your idea of loyalty is more true that you realize.  Just this morning my husband commented that he had one of his favorite clients yesterday that has been with him longer than he has owned his business...THAT IS A CLIENT THAT HE HAS HAD FOR 30 YEARS!  And a client that has followed him from A PREVIOUS TOWN!  That is correct...she drives 90 minutes one way faithfully every month! 

So I agree, we should be asking ourselves as REALTORS, what kind of service are we providing whereby we can receive that kind of loyalty! 

And PS...I agree with a previous comment...if I were you I would make this member's only....do you know how much business my husband and son have sent my way??? 

So all your REALTORS...think about that potential sphere of influence...


Lori Cofer Pullman WA

Feb 20, 2009 04:05 AM
Brett Tousley
Keller Williams Realty - Richland, WA
Tri Cities Real Estate | (509) 420-0013

I like the moral to the story Rob.  Asking ourselves how we can build loyalty and better serve our clients is important.

The barber?  I'd have to admit I'd look for another one if he took a chunk out of my ear. 

Feb 20, 2009 05:54 AM
Brian French
French Real Estate - Beaver Dam, WI
Evolutionary Real Estate

Well crafted post Rob.  Love the massage within the story.  Very deserving points.

Currently reading Never Eat Alone which is well written and parallel your point - a good read


Feb 20, 2009 10:35 AM

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