Sunday, January 18, 2009

Politeness Is Good For Business

Sunday can be a tricky day for showing apartments, since most supers don't like to show places or be bothered. Sunday is a good day, though, for showing doorman and luxury buildings, since keys are usually at the desk or there's an on site rep who shows you around.

This afternoon some pied a terre clients called me to tell me they were coming into the city to look at their final three choices. Since they are great people I was more than happy to make myself available. And so I called each on site agent at their favorite buildings and set up appointments for the afternoon. Given that the clients were coming in from out of town, they got delayed. Here's how the on sites reacted.

Building A: Was more than happy to see us on short notice, and had no problem whenever I had to call and push up the time by 20 minutes or so.

Building B: Is a nice, but overpriced place whose on site agent that visibly annoyed when my clients were 20 minutes late. "I have a 3:30 appointment," the woman told me. "And I go home at 4:00, so let's hope they show up soon."

Building C: Is a very overpriced new development where pretty much every unit looks out onto a brick wall. The on site agent was confused that my clients were even in town, since he had called them earlier in the day when it was snowing. But the snow cleared, and in came my clients who wanted to see his building again.

I had to push up our appointment, which is when the on site agent called me and asked, "Why are you late? Are these people even serious? I thought our building was the only one they were looking at!" It was a funny statement, since his building was actually their least favorite. And in New York, every one has at least three choices for everything.

The takeaway? When one works in a customer-service oriented field, such as real estate, does getting annoyed at someone like me about traffic and weather and parking delays do any good in the long run? My clients, again, who are from out of town, are relying heavily on my opinion and insight when it comes to making their final choice. I didn't get any static from Building A, and as luck would have it, it seems to be their first choice.