“What am I even doing here then?”

That is what an agent said to my client and I the other day.
My business is service based and I work mostly one on one with my customers.  This past Friday I went to meet a new client at a property.  The client had already set the appointment with the listing agent first before she called me for help.  If you understand how real estate commission works, buyer’s agent get’s half and seller’s agent gets half.  If the seller’s agent represents both the buyer and the seller, then they can collect up to double the commission.

So we walk up to the property and the seller’s agent is standing there with her card in her hand ready to greet the buyer.  This agent, she is NOT happy when she realizes I’m an agent and there to represent the buyer. She knows she no longer has the chance of “double-ending” the deal for more commission.

Instead of handling the situation with class, representing her property for her seller as she is being paid to do, she says,

     “You’re an agent? What am I even doing here then?” And then she just walks out.

I know plenty of people have had bad experiences with agents and other service providers.  But that surprised even me.  She was not attempting to hide her greed at all.  Luckily that property would not have worked for my client and we went on to her second choice, a better option.

Still I find it embarrassing that agents behave this way.  There is a better way to behave as a professional.

An alternative way.  I have always tried my best to imagine myself in my client’s shoes.  How would I feel if…?

     “Be Kind…. It costs you nothing” ~Kathy Mello, TGIF Body Shop

That was advice that Kathy Mello gave in her recent interview on Union City Advice Givers, you can listen to the interview HERE. Kathy should know.  She has run a family business with a staff of up to 20 people, for over 30 years.  Their business has a great reputation and when I asked her and her son Jason Cocco why the reputation is so good, they both had similar answers.

It starts with the culture you create in your business.  How you treat people matters.  When you have employees – how you treat those employees is in direct correlation with how they will treat your customers.


Recently my little sister had a beautiful baby boy.  She delivered at Alta Bates in Berkeley.  She had to be induced and we spent 3 days in the hospital.  On the third day early in the morning when she finally went into labor one of our favorite nurses came back on shift. My sister’s water had broke and no one had changed the bedding during the night.  I could see the nurse was visibly upset, even angry.  She didn’t act angry though.  She just efficiently moved about fixing the situation.  She added pillows and suggested a different position for my sister to be as comfortable as possible given the situation.  As soon as she was done she put her hand on my sister’s shoulder, leaning down, she looked her right in the eyes and said,

     “I treat all my patients as if they were my own family.  I promise to take the best care of you I can.”

It was still dark outside and dark in the room so I know she couldn’t see the tears on my cheeks but her compassion touched me so much.

Striving for empathy and understanding while providing excellent service is the right way to do business, it’s the right way to live.

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