Friday, 29 May 2020

Learn to Laugh at Yourself

Written by Posted On Friday, 11 January 2019 05:00

How do you handle those situations that totally embarrass you, but other people think are funny?

Maybe you said something in a sales meeting that was misunderstood that got a big laugh. Maybe you dropped a dessert in your lap at the company party and everyone laughed while you sat mortified, or you forgot how to open an MLS-locked door, with just your prospects watching.

How you respond when something happens to you can make or break the sale.

The two most embarrassing incidents of my career happened on the same day in front of the same prospect, the Chairman and CEO of the largest lender in the southeastern United States and four members of his senior management team.

I had been asked to make a presentation to become the exclusive marketing consultant for an unknown number of real estate developments they could or would soon own through foreclosure.

This was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I knew I was the man for the job. By the end of the day, I wanted to foreclose on my own career.

In one day, I spilled a cup of coffee on my new white shirt right before my presentation, and my suede coat caught on fire at the lender’s Christmas party while talking to the chairman.

This opportunity was a huge one for a 43-year-old Realtor trying to survive in a world with fixed mortgage rates at 20 percent. I was dressed to the nines and poised to make a great first impression.

There was no doubt in my mind that I was the man for the job, and that I would get the business. I had the experience, track record, and wearing a new shirt with cuff links. ‘Confident’ does not begin to describe how I felt. At first.

I was seated on one side of the conference table drinking a cup of coffee waiting on the chairman’s arrival through the door facing me. As he walked in, I stood, leaned across the table, shook his hand and sat down.

Before everyone was seated, I happened to notice a huge coffee stain on my shirt, which from my vantage point seem to spread from my shirt pocket to my belt and across my stomach.

I had dragged my tie through my coffee when I leaned across the table to shake the chairman’s hand!

Now, instead of listening to what he was saying, I was thinking to myself “How can I prove that I am not a complete and total slob?”

What would you have done?

Here is what I did.

I faked  an upset stomach and hurriedly excused myself as if going to the men’s room. What I really did was run across the street to a men’s store, purchase a new shirt and tie, put them on and run back to the meeting. It didn’t take five minutes.

I apologized but explained I was feeling better, trying hard not to breathe too heavily. The meeting went well, but I was a wreck. The CEO and other executives couldn’t stop grinning at me during the meeting, which I assumed was their overwhelming approval of my presentation.

At the end of the meeting, the chairman asked if anyone had any questions. No one did, but he said he had one.

Turning to me he said, “Fletcher, how did you do that?”

“Do what?” I asked.

“How did you get the coffee stain off of your shirt?”

By this time the room was rolling with laughter, as I haltingly explained what I had done. It was by far the most embarrassing thing to ever happened to me in a business meeting. But that claim was about to be negated by what was about to happen in front of 400 people later that same day.

I had been invited by one of the lender’s board members to the lender’s Christmas party that same night, which I haltingly attended because I did not want to replay the coffee saga with the CEO and his management team.

As we were standing around the buffet table enjoying our food and replaying the coffee stain saga, the executive vice president commented that he smelled smoke.

All of a sudden, the chairman said, “Hey, Fletch, your coat is on fire.” It seems that I had my elbow in a candle flame as I held my food plate. My coat was not on fire, but it was seriously scorched.

They started laughing so hard tears were coming down their faces. I’m thinking, “There has got to be cave I can crawl into and never come out of around here somewhere.” The only thing I knew to do was smile sheepishly and go along with their fun as the other 400 people at the party joined the CEO and his staff wondering, then discovering what happened. The words “ crowd uproar” comes to mind.

On the way home I thought about quitting real estate altogether. When I got home I told my wife I had lost the business. There was no way they would hire someone who spilled coffee on their shirt and stuck his arm in a lighted candle. I was done.

I knew I would never get their business. I was wrong. One of the officers called the next day with the good news.

The result: I became the exclusive marketing consultant/or broker of record for  27 lender properties over the next 3 years and the source of laughter with the client every time we talked.

Looking back, I believe it was the very day I felt the most like quitting that my career took off.

The Lesson: Moments such as these that show the real you and how you respond to the unexpected. Laughing it off works in most cases.

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David Fletcher, NHCB

Lifetime Achiever David Fletcher is Founder and CEO of New Home Co-Broker Academy LLC, home of the New Home Co-Broker (NHCB) designation. More than 4,000 real estate agents have completed the  Academy's course, How To Build A New Homes Niche, a three-hour online course based on research, case studies and David's  long career recruiting, training and supervising onsite teams, who sold more than $3 billion new homes and condominiums.

Along the way, he wrote Condominium Sales and Listings and has been the featured speaker for the National Association of Realtors and a present at the International Builders Show. He served as chair of the Sales and Marketing Council for the Florida Home Builders Association. 

He started in real estate as the project manager for Bay Island, of the first major condominium communities in Florida. During this time, he obtained his Florida real estate broker's license, served as chair of the Sales and Marketing Council for the Florida Homebuilders Association, earned his MIRM designation, and served as president of the Florida Condominium Developers Association. It was here that he leaned to work with local Realtors, 

After a successful three-year run, he brokered 27 lender workouts, 11 rental conversions, a TPC golf course, and more than 1000 condominium units in six different communities. 

He recruited, trained and supervised onsite sales teams for more than 70 communities, always insisting on co-broker cooperation in his listing agreements. 

He has been a contributor to Realty Times for 16 years and contributed to Inman News for 3 years. 

His education philosophy is based on these simple assumptions:

  • Builders need qualified buyers. Realtors need saleable inventory. 
    Today's home shoppers expect their Realtor to help them navigate the buying process whether it be for a resale or new construction. 

To lean how you or your office can benefit with our popular online new homes course, visit our website. 

newhomecobroker.com

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