Sometimes I like to argue, not to be mean or hurtful, simply to get someone to see things a little differently and perhaps help them change the way they do things so they can have what they really want.
Case in point – Not long ago I was in a real estate event chatting with a group of agents, the event leader had invited me there to talk about the transaction coordinator services my company provides in an effort to help the agents take their business to the next level. As I’m just getting into my presentation I hit on the concept of working smarter not harder, which set off a nerve in one of the participants. I’m not sure if she was having a bad day, a bad week or truly believed that she needed to suffer for her business either way she told me that I was talking about a concept that was essentially a fairy tale.
EEK – I’ve never had anyone say something like that, instantly I asked her to explain. She told me she’d bought many books and courses over the years that promised if she did this, or that she wouldn’t have to work so hard or so many hours to reach the income level she desired. While I wanted to ask her if she’d done everything she’d been taught, I thought better of it as I didn’t want to aggravate an already raw nerve any further.
I did let her go on a little while and was attentive, it didn’t take long before the entire room was engrossed in what she had to say and I think many of them had also felt this way at one point or another, feeling like here I was to sell them another variety of snake oil.
When it was my turn to talk I explained that like her I’d purchased many programs and didn’t always feel like I’d gotten my money’s worth and yet I still believed that there were ways to work smarter than harder. I went onto tell her about a study that was done by Clarity Consulting way back in 2003 which through their research showed it took an average Realtor 19 hours to coordinate a transaction from contract to close (http://clareity.com/transaction-coordinators-an-underutilized-asset-to-residential-real-estate/) and that since I’d been in the business for more than 20 years I felt that over the years transactions didn’t get any easier, I thought they actually got even more challenging and time consuming. However for the sake of the “argument” I’d use the 19 hours figure as a good base line.
Then I asked her to tell me about her business, the way she worked with her clients and the others involved in a transaction from contract to close. She told me about scheduling inspections, sending the contract to the title agent, the lender and uploading it to her brokerage’s website. About following up with everyone to make sure they were on track and tracking down signatures on documents or getting missing ones so her files were in compliance. She told me about scheduling the walk-thru, the closing and then making sure the closing statement went out and she’d had a chance to review it.
I told her that sounded like a lot or work and it must take up a big portion of her time, to which she responded with a loud YES, followed by the statement that it’s necessary to see to it that the transaction closes and smoothly on top of that, to which I wholeheartedly agree.
Here’s where I won the argument….…….I asked her if she had someone who could do 95% of the items she told me she did from contract to close would she have more time for other important things in her business or her life? She hesitated then said well sure but they’d have to do it my way, I’m picky and right now don’t have the time to train someone or enough business to hire someone full-time.
This was when I told her about the team of transaction coordinators at my company and how she didn’t have to do much training that each of them had worked on thousands of transactions over the years. All she’d have to do is let us know her preferences and let us help her, oh and that she’d only have to pay us when it closed.
I could see her eyes change, she smiled and then went onto apologize for being aggressive with me, I thanked her for playing along and being a part of helping me explain what we can do for her and anyone else in the room.
While I’ve never had that kind of experience when I’m explaining what my team does, it did really help to get the point across, she didn’t have to work hard to get what she wanted, she just had to get smart about it, get some help and work on areas of her business that only she could.