How important is it, when meeting with a seller, buyer, renter, realtor or contractor, to be totally focused on that person? If you’re not paying complete attention to what that person says and how he or she says it (tone of voice, hand gestures, body position, eye movement), isn’t there a good chance you’ll miss critical information that’s being shared with you?
The number of people who are not 100% there during a meeting has become epidemic – and is a major pet peeve of mine! If you’re over fifty years old, you already know what I’m talking about. Baby Boomers grew up without cell phones, emails, and text messages. Heck, we didn’t even have phone answering machines!
Here’s an example of this epidemic at work. A real estate investor needed help structuring a deal and asked for an hour of my time. He drove up from Atlanta and met me at the Adairsville Waffle House.
As we discussed his deal, every two or three minutes he looked down at his lap and typed something on his cell phone. He wasn’t typing meeting notes; his writing pad was on the table. I finally asked him what he was doing. He was answering emails and text messages as they came in. What?!?
I said, “Hang on, I need to take care of a problem.” I got up from the table, walked out the door, got in my car and drove back to the ranch. A few minutes later, this guy called and asked where I was. I explained that I was back at the ranch, I wouldn’t be back, and wished him a safe journey home. He said, “But I drove all the way up from Atlanta.” “Yes you did,” I replied, “but your focus was on your cell phone; not on what we were talking about. This means you were wasting my time. Next time you meet with someone, remember to be 100% there. This is your big ah-ha moment for today.”
Now, more than ever, it’s critical that when you’re meeting with someone or a group of someones, that you’re totally focused on them – not on your cell phone. Otherwise you’ll miss what they’re communicating, plus it’s just plain rude!
If you’re wondering whether this problem is really becoming epidemic or if I’m just being overly dramatic, here are three more examples of this at work: Last week, I met with a small group of experienced investors to discuss creative ways to find motivated sellers. During people’s presentations, several attendees wrote and answered emails, texted messages and/or took phone calls. What?!?
A few weeks back, I was out knocking doors with a new investor. While at a seller’s kitchen table creatively structuring an offer, the investor’s phone rang. You won’t believe this: He answered his phone and carried on a very unimportant conversation with his caller! What?!?
About a month ago, I met with an experienced investor to discuss a deal he was thinking of doing. As we inspected the property, he kept looking at his watch. I finally asked if he had a meeting to get to. He looked at me confused. I explained that he kept looking at his watch, and in my world this meant he had someplace else to be. He smiled and explained that he had an iWatch, and he was just checking the messages as they came in. What?!?
Like I said, maybe it’s my age, but there are two things that really annoy me and most sellers: First, when someone is not 100% there. Second, when I can see a guy’s underwear because his pants are around his knees.
My advice: Pay total attention to the person you are meeting with. And for gosh sake, if your underwear is hanging out, pull your dang pants up!