By Dave Robison
My brokerage had one crazy month a few months ago. We had five buyers who failed to perform on a contract and lost their earnest money. Now in Utah, getting the buyer’s earnest money is supposed to be as easy as the buyer’s broker writing a check in about 24-48 hours. But in all five cases it was a fight, with hours of discussions and arguments. In the end, our sellers received their checks — although, in some of the cases the buyers and their agents were very bitter about turning the money over to the seller.
In the midst of the stress, there was one agent in particular who shined through. I believe this person will always be more successful than others (and he is, actually). His attitude reminds me of the attitude held by one of the most successful people I have ever met: Bill Child.
Bill Child sold his furniture store called RC Willey to Warren Buffett. Bill met with me and several friends and told us his story. I also read the book written about him: How to Build a Business Warren Buffett Would Buy. The great thing about Bill is that his attitude toward working with others never changed from the time he took over RC Willey to when he sold it.
Bill took over the business when his father-in-law died. He didn’t realize it at the time, but the company was laden with customer service problems, debt, and tax burdens. Bill turned all that around. For example, the company had sold an appliance that later became known to have a defect. There wasn’t a manufacturer warranty or guarantee on the product, but Bill wasn’t about to let his customers down. He took on the responsibility himself to do the repairs on all the units, even though he knew it would make his company go in the red. Most companies would just blame the manufacturer and keep their money in their pockets, but Bill’s customers were his No. 1 priority and he took the responsibility himself when legally he didn’t have to. He cared more about his relationships and his customers than he cared about profits.
Now, I don’t know the details about all the conversations the agents had with their clients regarding deadlines and earnest money, Continue reading »
By Chris Nichols
We all remember the New York Times best seller, “Who Moved My Cheese.” Published in 1998, it’s a great book by Spencer Johnson about change in the workplace and in life. A couple days ago I popped into a Borders bookstore, I was drawn in by the 50 percent off signs, as this was one of many stores that was being shut down as part of their bankruptcy. The irony wasn’t lost on me when one of the first books I saw had a cartoon image of a rather large cat on a lazy boy with the title above it, “Who Moved My Mouse!”
We see it all around us, Borders is just one example of a company that didn’t see the change coming as more and more consumers have switched their purchasing habits from actual books to ebooks. We are seeing similar transitions in our very own industry, the cheese has definitely moved, and the cat is trying to find that mouse searching for the cheese!
I’m in San Diego right now at a real estate conference and had the opportunity to listen to Troy Hazard tell the interesting story of the Asian financial crisis that impacted his business in the 1990s. His message was simple, as he asked us only to remember three simple words – “Change or Die.” Troy hit us over the head when he said, “Stop buying in to the dream that things are never going to change. Things ALWAYS change!”
Some key suggestions I took away were:
1. Take responsibility, the first step with most things in life!
2. Stop thinking you don’t have the time. We choose where, when and how we invest our time.
3. Eliminate all the things you can’t change or influence. Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Continue reading »