At times clients disappoint you and you may say things you regret
New Fillmore Magazine May 2009
By Paula Pagano
Frank Woods is one of my most favorite clients. He decided his current house is too small for him, his new fiancée, Linda, and her five-year-old son.
Frank is bright, witty and charming, with a high profile job in the insurance business. He also has plenty of money and such an easygoing personality that it is a real joy to work with him. We have become good friends and even see each other socially. He is a great source of referrals. He sings my praises and lauds my merits to his influential circle of friends.
In the span of a few months, I find him a magnificent (and very expensive) home in Pacific Heights. To make sure we win the bid (it’s a seller’s market), we get our inspections and disclosures done before the offer date. As I am driving to Yosemite to celebrate my birthday, I get a call on my cell phone. I’m in high spirits, thinking our non-contingent over-asking offer is a sure thing. It is Darlene, the listing agent, on the phone.
“Frank just called and withdrew his offer.”
I gasp, searching for what to say. “He did what? What reason did he give?”
“No reason. You better call him and straighten this out. I am meeting with my sellers in an hour. You still have time.”
I call him immediately. Although Frank is an astute businessman with a prestigious job, he is nervous. I feel exasperated. I expected much more of him. All the time we spent looking was for nothing. He’s about to miss out on a great house. He tells me he could not sleep at all the night before. Instead of recognizing his buyer’s remorse, I got irritated.
“We’ve done our inspections. The house is in perfect condition and in your most favorite neighborhood. It is such an opportunity,” I plead.
“I just can’t go through with it,” he says.
“But this is your dream house.”
“I’m not ready,” is his answer.
I start to get forceful. I tell him how embarrassing it is for me to withdraw an offer already in place. I remind him how prestigious an address it is. I know I shouldn’t be thinking of my feelings, but I let him know how embarrassed I am letting down a top-selling agent in my own office.
As a professional, I should be detached, but I cannot contain my disappointment. I feel the anger collecting at the bottom of my throat. Instead of throwing the phone, I do something worse. I attack him where he is most vulnerable.
“Did Linda put you up to this?” I can almost hear the venom in my voice.
There is a silence at the other end of the phone. I have made a huge miscalculation. My bitter words hang like drawn daggers in the air. Cruel words which I cannot take back. He does not answer, but rushes a goodbye. I wonder if it will be goodbye for good. Will I ever be able to amend the hurt I just caused to my friend and client?
When I return from my vacation, Frank avoids all my phone calls. A few months later I notice his home listed with someone else and wonder where on Millionaire Row he lives now. I still write and call him occasionally, but never hear back.
Excerpted from Secrets of a Top Salesperson, ©2009 by Paula Pagano.