Two powerful words

Private Property South Africa
Cathy Nolan

Nearly 25 years ago I sent a “thank you” card to a client who had given me an opportunity, as a very raw, new agent, to do a market evaluation and CMA of his property.

I had, as part of my canvassing programme, knocked on his door (unsuccessfully) and then tele-canvassed him (slightly more successfully) and he had somewhat begrudgingly agreed to allow me to take a look at his property and then prepare and present my findings to him.

Despite my giving it my best shot and preparing a solid CMA and presentation, he really wasn’t that interested in selling – at that time. And the accent there is on at that time.

Part of the training

Trainers Ed Hatch and Del Bain were fresh in my mind after having invested what in those days was a fairly large amount of money on their course. One of the suggestions they made, simple as it was, was to make sure I sent a hand-written and personal thank you card to folks with whom I had worked.

So I took their advice and sent cards – hand written (by a lady friend whose handwriting was a whole load better than mine) but ones that I drafted and signed with my scrawl.

In any event I sent the card and I made a note to do a follow up call in a months’ time.

Progress!

After several more calls he asked me to come over: they were expecting their first child, and had decided it was time to invest in a larger home. They agreed to list with me and signed a sole mandate, and we put the home on the market.

It was a double blessing for me, as I managed to find them another property, which they bought subject to, and then I managed to get their home sold.

I remember popping over after we closed the sale with a gift and to thank them for entrusting me with their business. We got to talking, and I asked them what made them pick me as their estate agent – I knew they had bought from the area’s (then) top agent originally.

Their answer was simply that I was the only agent who took the time to say “thank you” – and they pointed to my (very rudimentary) card, which was still stuck to the fridge.

The truth …

The truth was, they wanted to know they were not only dealing with someone who was going to sell their home, but also someone who gave a damn and appreciated the opportunity to handle their custom. My relative inexperience was made up for by enthusiasm and humility.

A simple card made the difference (combined with a genuine and honest desire to help them achieve their objectives).

Friends

I have never been one of those people who can easily separate clients and friendship. Dave and Sheila (and their children) and I are still friends today.

I have had the honour of selling their second home (I missed out on their third home purchase regrettably) and having had them refer both their daughter and a handful of friends and family to me.

The lesson

The lesson is simple – and while the card was the mechanism – the fundamental issue was the same: people don’t care about how much you know, as much as they do about how much you care.

Be humble – and remember to say thank you!

By Chas Everitt’s Barry Davies

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