It’s one of those mornings when I’m rushing around trying to get too many things done before I head out the door. Yet, my eye catches the flash of my phone which I’ve turned OFF precisely to avoid this type of distraction. I can’t help myself. I pick up the call.
The voice on the other line is friendly…and unfamiliar. I instantly regret my mistake in picking up the phone. He launches into a sales pitch. This guy is good! He starts out by telling me that he’s got referrals that he has to get placed today. Folks are coming in to Kentwood, Michigan and he needs to find an agent to help them. Could he interest me?
I cut to the chase. “So…how much is this gonna cost?” Without hesitation, he answers…”only $99 per placement. And if they don’t work out, we’ll replace them with a guaranteed fit. In fact, we’re so confident about our product, that I want you to know about a special deal. Our clients are FOR SALE today! We’ll give you 10 of them for only $990! WOW!
It’s the phrase ‘clients for sale’ which stuns me momentarily. I have never thought of the people I serve as products which I can trade or sell for profit. He takes my silence as interest and continues. “In fact, we’re so confident about our service, we’ll guarantee you ONE sale out of the 10. All for $990!
I wonder WHO these clients are? Did they consent to be used for chattel? Are they aware that their names and the hopes and dreams they expressed when they filled in the innocent looking boxes for assistance with their home search would result in their information being sold and traded on the real estate referral market place?
And then I think about the agents who are going to buy these names today. Sinking hard earned dollars for the hope of landing perhaps one real estate deal. And I guess one could do the arithmetic and figure that you’d be ahead if you spent $990 and got a deal that netted several thousand in commission perhaps…
But what’s lost in the frenzy of boiler rooms filled with fast talking sales persons looking for the next sucker willing to part with some money, is the fact that real estate referrals are NOT really about selling people’s names and data. It’s about creating human relationships which begin through a need for service. People refer people whom they know, like and respect to others whom they know. Genuine Referrals are personal. And that’s why things become a little dicey when we take the referral relationship out of the personal context.
I’ve been in the real estate industry for over sixteen years. What has sustained my business has been my personal desire to help and educate my clients and my dependence on the grace of God for wisdom and guidance to do so. The latter has been the most important factor, especially as real estate transactions have become increasingly challenging. My clients are never going to be ‘For Sale’. How could you put a price tag on priceless?
If I can help you or someone you know with the home purchasing process, please feel free to contact me. It’s my pleasure to serve.
Picture courtesy of glindsays65 on Flickr with Creative Commons license.
Originally published on the Active Rain Network. Copyright 2009