My First Broker used to use the expression that loose lips sink ships. This post made me think of him with a smile. He did bring this point up and remind his fledglings about it often. Keep your business exactly that. Bet there are lots of things he taught us that I use to this day. Thanks, Harvey Gates.
The One Big Thing They Forgot To Teach Us At The Shannon & Luchs Academy of Real Estate:
WHEN TO ZIP YOUR LIP!
In this business, there are so many times when it is better to be silent than to speak, and this is something that they forgot to tell us in real estate school. Sure, we learned all about what the contracts said and how to fill them in, all the different kinds of loans that were available to buyers, how to put together a competitive market analysis, and many other important skills of our trade. But they forgot one big thing: knowing when to shut up!Here are some examples of knowing when silence (or at least discretion) is golden:
- You get a floor call from someone who wants to see the most expensive listing in the office. You show it. They love it. Do not return from your appointment all excited sharing this good fortune with your colleagues. You never know who else in the office knows the buyer or who else might be working on an offer on the same property - that's because they are smart enough to keep it to themselves. Your excited blurt could hurt your client and your chances of turning the appointment into a relationship with this prospective buyer.
- You answer the office phone and it's a call for another agent. "Oh, hold on just a minute! She's in the ladies' room!" No! No! No! We don't want our clients to get that picture in their minds.
- When you have a client in your car, it's fine for them to tell you their life story, but it's best that you just listen. You needn't share everything about your prior careers or six ex-husbands or delinquent step children.
- Don't discuss your political or spiritual beliefs, or at least be extremely careful about with whom you share them.
- When you have a client who really likes a property you've shown them, don't call the listing agent to say you'll be writing an offer. It's OK to call for disclosures, buy it's best to say their might be some interest from your buyer and you want to be ready just in case. Tell the agent you have an offer when you have the contract and earnest money check signed.
- Never ever gossip about your clients to anyone! Wherever you are selling homes, consider it to be a very, very small town. I've heard agents brag about celebrity clients, talk about the messy divorce that's leading to a new listing, or share how badly someone is behaving in the course of a transaction. Whatever you say will get back to the subject of your gossip!
A lot of this is basic common sense, which might be one reason they leave out of the ciriculum in so many real estate training programs. But what's that old saying?
Loose Lips Sink Ships
Some of this advice comes right out of my early history in real estate. Some comes from watching new agents under my care when I was managing an office with 40 mostly newbies. And I often had to temper their enthusiasm, suggesting that they limit their displays of glee to inside my office with the door closed. And one was from listening to a painful story from a colleague I love who said something that a client interpreted as gossip. Oops.
So here's my advice to newbie Realtors: at some point very early in your career, get your brain-to-mouth filter serviced, and keep it in top running condition.