Several months back I made passing mention of a casual chat I had with a guy down at the beach while waiting for the tsunami to arrive (that sounds completely odd in itself but it’s the honest truth). He’d mentioned he was moving into the area so I gave him my business card in case he wanted to ask anything of me, the experienced local (8 years is twice as long as I ever stayed in one place while growing up so for me 8 years is a lifetime).
I never heard anything until a couple of months later when I received a Harcourts branded envelope in the mail. It was a letter from the guy who I’d chatted to all those months ago.
So what was the letter about? Did he refer back to our chat on the beach, mention how he was enjoying his new life in Brighton or even ask how my ankle was healing up (I had a broken ankle when we met the first time)?
Nope. In fact, the letter was actually addressed to Pogostick, which is part of my business name, then went on to explain why I should list my house with him and why now was a great time to sell. Obviously it was the stock standard mail merge mail-out real estate agents do from time to time when they’re not busy buying new suits or polishing their beemers.
To be blunt I felt pretty used. No I didn’t have a little cry about it but it was a good reminder to me about the importance of treating clients, and potential clients, like real human beings with lives and interests that are not centered around hanging out to hear why you’re the best agent to list with, and why Harcourts is a fabulous choice if I’m serious about selling. Actually a fabulous choice is no agent, and I’m always happy to see people selling their home without having to resort to an agent. In my mind, that’s a victory for the little guy.
And while Darrell will probably never read this post and find out about the ensuing hurt feelings because he’s too busy adding other ‘friends’ to the client database, this is a lesson for anyone hoping to tap their friends for commercial reasons – be nice about it. This isn’t Facebook or Twitter where it’s all about having the highest follower count. It’s better to have 10 raving evangelists as clients than 100 names in your impersonal database.
If you genuinely want to help people get what they want, you’ll do well. Killing the golden egg-laying goose never made for a successful business.