When Integrity Bites…Suck Out the Venom!

I just had coffee with a client of mine who recently purchased a FSBO and wanted to thank me in person.  Although I consulted with him throughout the entire transaction, helped him comprise his Board materials, and coached him for his interview and various other parts of his purchase, I did so for no commission.  I had shown this client multiple apartments and after losing a bidding war for an apartment, we both noticed that a shareholder in the building was selling his own apartment.  After confirming that the shareholder didn’t want to work with agents, we set the wheels in motion for him to purchase the apartment directly from the seller.  The seller was made aware that I would be involved in the background to insure a smooth transaction but again I would require no commission.  I tell this story because I have seen many of my colleagues ignore FSBO listings for their clients for fear that no commission will be earned.  Who can blame them right?  Wrong.  Our responsibility to our clients is to make sure that they are privy to ALL properties that may fit their criteria, regardless of our payday.  It’s that simple.  On the rare occasion that this happens (this is only the 2nd time in my 15 years), it is entirely worth the lost commission to develop trust with our public.  

This brings me to the question of integrity and how exhibiting it is a winning proposition every time!  A few days ago , I showed a new client (a writer who actually came to me via this blog) a property that both she and her husband seemed to like very much.  I have visited their current apartment with over 60 feet of bookshelves and although agreed with them that this apartment was very nice, didn’t think that the apartment would look anything like it’s current state with all of their books.  When I shared this insight with the seller’s agent (90% of the time I am the seller’s agent) he was noticeably upset and asked why I would talk my clients out of an apartment that they seemingly liked?  He then asked me what kind of salesman I was?  Need I explain?  For a split second I actually thought maybe I did something wrong but then quickly realized that this is precisely why my clients work with me:  TRUST.

Their is absolutely no question in my mind that if I chose to be a more aggressive "salesman," my commissions would increase in the short term.  I just have to be mindful that the way I do business allows me to sleep at night and feel good about the service that I provide to all of my clients.  If it sounds a bit like I’m trying to convince myself of this, your dead on.  When deals fall apart, the tendency is to question what YOU could have done to make them happen.  The unfortunate answer is often to compromise one’s integrity.  An unfortunately I believe that this compromise happens all too often in my industry.  For me, it just isn’t an option.    

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