Obligation: A Dirty Word When You Work for Family?

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 04 March 2008 16:00

I recently read on a real estate forum where a new agent was heartbroken (and subsequently outraged) that his brother-in-law hired someone else to sell his home. Because he was brand new, he felt his brother-in-law owed it to him to give him the listing so that he'd get some much-needed experience. The new agent was bad-mouthing his brother-in-law to the rest of the family and swearing to avoid him at the next family get-together.

OUCH!

How fast can you say, "Kiss Your Family's Business GOODBYE!?"

No one on this planet is obligated to work with us, regardless of any personal relationship. Instead of whining and sulking and pouting about the situation, our new agent should have taken all that energy and asked himself WHY his brother-in-law didn't hire him. And made an effort to do better next time.

Was it personal? Maybe, maybe not. Although with this guy's attitude, it probably was. The minute I get a sense that someone feels I'm obligated to hire them (or even refer them), I'm turned off. Yeah, I'm contrary that way, aren't you?

Getting business from the people you know, particularly your family is an art that once mastered, will seem oh-so-obvious and natural. But if you approach the people you know with the attitude that they owe you something because you're related or went to college together or because you sent them a pretty calendar last year, your prospecting efforts with them will crash and burn.

What I would have advised the new agent to do (had he asked) would be to graciously accept defeat and cheerfully offer his assistance. I'd have told him to be pleasant, supportive and complimentary of the other agent's efforts. Sweet as sugar. Because ... at some point, the brother-in-law might just get frustrated with his listing agent and be open to talking again.

But instead, look what this guy did. He alienated his brother-in-law and gave the entire family a great reason to wonder about his professionalism. I'll bet that it will be a long time before anyone in that family dares to talk to him about their own real estate needs!

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