Last weekend was a welcomed oasis from the flurry of realtors who had deluged my girlfriend’s house, scheduling seemingly non-stop showings.
My girlfriend was still stewing about an incident from several days prior. At the end of a long workday, she ended up in yet another coffee shop during what should have been her dinner hour, to allow a competitor’s realtor (disclaimer here: not the wonderful realtor my girlfriend was working with) to show her home between 6 and 7 PM. The majority of showings had run between 30-45 minutes, with realtors being incredibly sensitive to her and her husband’s work schedules as well as workloads. Their workday went into late evenings at times, in their home office.
My girlfriend drove by her home at 6:45 PM. She figured if she saw cars in her driveway, she’d drive around for a bit and try again around 7 PM. No cars, she went inside. Around 6:50 PM she heard voices and her front door start to open. The competitor’s realtor had decided to arrive…. for the 6 PM showing!
You can imagine the conversation at the front door. My friend asked the agent where she had been some 50 minutes prior. The competitor realtor waved a piece of scrap paper in my friend’s face, insisting that she had the right to occupy my friend’s house for at least the next 10 minutes… and that my friend needed to vacate. The nice couple who had arrived with the realtor clearly were embarrassed. They knew they were late. The realtor knew she was late.
Nobody apologized to my friend. Apparently nobody thought to call ahead and ask if their tardiness would be acceptable. Certainly they didn’t think about rescheduling. I’d say my girlfriend was entitled to be peeved.
My friend told everyone to go home. Then the realtor started to argue with her, in order to save face in front of her now completely chagrined clients. Because it was all about the realtor, not all about the homeowner.
All it would have taken was an acknowledgement on the part of the realtor that she was, indeed, extremely late, that this nice couple was really interested in seeing my friend’s house, and would my friend mind if the realtor quickly showed this couple around and, of course, please continue doing whatever my friend was doing at the time that the realtor basically barged in on her evening.
No apology. No acknowledgement. No professionalism.
My friend looked at the couple on the doorstep, told them “sorry folks” and asked the realtor to leave and reschedule. Everyone lost. My girlfriend possibly lost the sale of her home. The nice couple lost the chance to see “their” house. My girlfriend’s wonderful realtor had to do damage control with my girlfriend as well as chastising the competitor realtor for screwing things up.
You and I know that if we showed up at our appointments 45 minutes late, there would be no appointment. You and I would have called our prospect to let them know we were running even 5-10 minutes behind schedule, determine whether there was still a window of time for the appointment or whether we should reschedule. You and I would have apologized for inconveniencing our prospects.
That’s professionalism. It starts with a willingness to assume responsibility for one’s actions. It’s not all about us and our drama. It’s all about our customers and being relevant and valuable resources for them.
Let’s face it. Not everything in life runs smoothly. There are traffic back-ups, appointments that run long and cause us to be late for everything afterward. There are electronic malfunctions during presentations, hard copy that doesn’t arrive on time, and the customers who stand us up even when we are on time.
How do you handle being late for appointments? What approaches work for you? How do you safeguard being on time? Share your stories with me.