A few of us veteran Realtors (meaning old-timers) and a couple of Builders were talking about the people and places of our business from days gone by. “Did you ever know Del?” one of the Builders asked. A couple of us Realtors nodded.
“Tough to work with,” said one Realtor, I never got anywhere with him.”
I told of my rough first encounter with Del, and I’ll replay it here:
I slipped out of heavy morning traffic on East First Avenue and skidded to a stop alongside the high old curb in front of a shabby empty little house on a double-lot. I was late. The guy I was meeting stood next to his pickup in the driveway, staring me down as I pulled up. I had never met him, but I had been warned. “I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him,” an Agent had told me. “I’ve worked with him. He has no loyalty and he doesn’t even like Realtors.” I knew he built new homes and developed old properties. Despite the warning about him, I was determined to make a good impression with a thorough professional sales technique, and possibly make him a client. Hence, the pile of paperwork I brought with me about the potential development of the property at which we now met: a survey map, Assessor’s map, City zoning ordinance, and development requirements for that section of the City.
I jumped from my car and hopped up on the curb, carrying my pile of paperwork, my keys, and a big coffee-to-go.
The guy appeared in front of me. “Hello, I’m Del,” he said, unsmiling, a silver-haired guy in jeans and plaid shirt. I went to shake his hand, and as I shifted my load, my coffee cup shot straight down, exploding on the sidewalk. Coffee shot straight back up, making an impressive and interesting pattern of brown streaks and blobs, decorating the front and inseam of my tan pants.
Del said nothing. He raised an eyebrow as he turned away toward the house.
Inside, I implemented my thorough and professional sales technique, explaining the information and maps I brought for him, doing my best to impress him. “Hmm,” said Del. He glanced at my blotchy pants. As we parted. I stood beside my car and searched my pockets. No keys. Did I leave them in the house? I waited for Del to leave, hoping he wouldn’t notice my predicament. No such luck. He sat inside his pickup and kept a penetrating eye on me. There was nothing to do but stride confidently back to the house as if I had a purpose other than searching for lost keys. But there they were, glinting in the grass. I grabbed them as quickly and nonchalantly as I could and whirled back toward the car. Del nodded and raised an eyebrow as he drove away. So much for making a client out of that guy, I thought.
To my surprise, Del called me within a week, asking about other properties. Maybe I impressed him, after all. Within a month, he purchased two vacant lots and a duplex through me, and he listed a new home he’d built.
Within another month, we sat in my office conference room going over two offers we had received on the new home. “I know them both,” said Del. He was referring to the Realtors who brought the offers. “I’m not impressed with either one. They think they’re big shots.”
I felt comfortable enough with Del by then to say, “Before I met you I heard you didn’t really like Realtors.”
He looked at me with his penetrating stare and said with all sincerity, “I guess I like a guy who drops his coffee and loses his keys in a matter of a few minutes.”
And there it is, an expert sales technique to impress even the toughest client.