Pick up the damn phone!

The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” becomes truer every day as up-and-coming agents join more seasoned professionals in the real estate industry.

In real estate, as in all professions, different approaches to negotiation present real challenges. As one of the “old dogs” my instinct is to always negotiate it out: leave no stone unturned and make sure everyone feels like they’ve explored all options before giving up on a deal … regardless of the challenges or potential disagreements. And while technology is ultimately helping to make our lives easier, it’s also creating new headaches.

The root of the problem? Phone phobia – the lack of desire to give somebody a call and have an actual conversation, especially when things are going sideways.

Without seeing someone’s body language or hearing their tone of voice, it’s much harder to understand the whole picture in any business relationship but especially in real estate.

Words on a screen with an emoji or an exclamation mark seem to be acceptable business communication these days but this approach is missing one essential element: the human factor.

What do I mean by that? Let me give you a personal example: I have a million-dollar property on the water listed for sale. I received an email on Friday from an agent informing me of buyers wanting a viewing on the weekend but without confirmation of the day or time.

I replied promptly and after some vague back-and-forth, the conversation finished with a short email: “SO THE CUT IS WRONG.” Full stop. Long story short: there was no house showing.

Looking back, the agent may not have understood the listing cut and didn’t bother asking for clarification.

With a simple phone call, the outcome may have been different for all parties involved: happy clients and a successful closing.

Why are we not using our people skills anymore? There are countless circumstances where a warm voice and a firm handshake have held deals together. In my opinion, the lack of engagement in the end result is allowing a comfortable, hands-off form of communication to become the norm.

My takeaway message? PICK UP THE DAMN PHONE! Let’s get our brains and instincts back into the game to represent our clients fully and to the best of our abilities! Otherwise we might as well just go home and let our computers handle it.

Pam Cherington, FRI, is the Owner/Broker at Red Door Realty in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has been a practicing REALTOR® since 1987. When the office isn’t calling, Pam enjoys walking, especially in the company of a good dog or two.

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