This phrase is a famous line from the great old 1967 movie, Cool Hand Luke. Yes, I know a lot of you are scratching your heads saying “what could this possibly have to do with buyers, sellers and real estate agents today?”
Those of us who work in residential real estate live it every day. We all lean more and more toward communicating everything by e-mail, voicemail, electronic signature and social media. It’s the world we live in. The reality is that with the busy lives we all lead, and the globalization of our client bases, we could not effectively or logistically get deals to closure without this technology. Unfortunately it is also sometimes a “cop out.” It’s easier. It’s less confrontational. It is impersonal. You can do it at midnight in your jammies.
However, here’s what I know from experience. I love the convenience of today’s technology. It has made our lives so much easier, but I also fundamentally know that this is still a “people to people” business. If you are “too busy” to establish a “real” working relationship with the people critical to getting your deal to closure, you may find it crashing and burning. I see it happen every day. A contract is ratified and then falls apart because of any number of issues that can happen on the way to settlement. Then the blame game begins, and it’s always someone else’s fault. As an agent it’s your responsibility to get the deal to closure. In addition to being technologically proficient, you must be an excellent “one-on-one” communicator and problem solver to get your deal to settlement. Your reputation depends on it.
When you have a ratified contract, taking the time to actually speak to the agent on the other end to establish a working relationship of mutual respect and cooperation is critical to both the buyer and the seller and creating a “win/win” for everyone. Speaking with the loan officer, Title Company, home inspector, and contractors involved can make you the expert at problem solving when things get tough.
Here’s another reality. Living in “cyber world” is having a negative impact on person to person communication skills worldwide. This is becoming so clear in the business world that millions of dollars are being spent on studies to learn why we can no longer effectively communicate. Many recent college graduates are not getting hired for this reason. Studies show that as many as 44% of applicants lack interpersonal communication and problem-solving skills. Where will we be in 10 years? So make that phone call. Actually meet the people involved. It’s a win/win for all of us!