Something REALLY cool happened with one of my clients this week that I thought I'd quickly share with you. Frankly, it started out as a serious "problem". Ad working with them, well let's just say, "difficult". I don't mean that it's been hard to sell their properties, but rather, it's been very hard to get "in sync" with this client's expectations. It always seemed that each AM had entirely different "rules" and "procedures" for handling properties than the next AM did-even properties from the SAME SUB-CLIENT. It just never made ANY sense at all. I mean, when you handle a property for a sub client, they have IDENTICAL expectations, as far as the "basic" procedures for EVERY property. So why was each AM for the AM firm asking for different things? Then answer: THEY needed training. THEY didn't know the proper procedures themselves and when issues arose because of this they seemed to find it easy to just blame the brokers. Unfortunately, I personally ended up n the wrong end of these accusations a few times. And they didn't just blame me-they ATTACKED me (as they did with other brokers) with scathing emails that were copied to superiors to cover their butts. Heck, they even put me on the dreaded "blacklist" temporarily. Well, I am usually an advocate of bowing out gracefully and trying to rebuild the relationship from a "take the high road" perspective. But not THIS time. I really had had enough. I was VERY upset because I was REFERRED to this company by a good friend of mine who works for the sub client and I was not going to be embarrassed by wrongful b.s. So I called the "boss" at the AM firm and requested a meeting with him, his direct reports in mgmt. and a few of the people with whom I had issues. I went in initially with the mindset that I was going to speak softly, confidently and convincingly in an effort for us all to meet at some middle ground and get the relationship back on track. However, about half way in to the meeting I realized that the blame placers were NOT about to admit one ounce of fault, including the #2 person in charge of the staff. So, I quickly changed my attitude to "hell, I don't care if I ever do business with these guys again but I'll be damned if I am NOT going to make it be know publicly EXACTLY what was done to me". I also knew that I could actually HELP these guys get their act together by establishing proper means of communication with their brokers and by doing business in much more cohesive ways, using simpler systems and approaches, that would be similar to those used by the biggest and best firms in the Asset Mgmt. business, with whom I am very familiar. To my amazement, even though my tone was harsh and now quite loud, when I took over the conversation, I seemed to have really gotten the attention of the "boss". He seemed to realize that just maybe there was a much better way of doing things. He genuinely became interested and seemed to be making note of my points. The conversation ultimately changed to a much more bilateral direction and we chatted for several minutes, eventually ending with with a mutual agreement in place that we were going to try to handle things a little differently with me than they did with other brokers. At the time I didn't realize that the special method we were using with me was to be sort of a beta test. But just this Friday I received a call from a buddy of mine in another state, another great REO broker, who was having the same issues with these guys, and who ultimately had a complete blowout with this company for the same reasons that I did. He calls and says "you're not going to believe this. They invited ME down to meet with them because they are restructuring their system of working with REOs and individual brokers to match the things that YOU (me) had suggested!" I was totally floored! Believe me, when I left that office after my meeting with them, I was surprised they didn't throw me out after the tone and language I used. But in the end, I guess they understood that I had some real experience with really big companies that could be very helpful to them if they just implemented some of the ideas. I have to tell you, I was very flattered but most of All IMPRESSED at how open-minded the guy at the top really was-THAT is what makes a hell of a good company! Now, I am NOT advocating going in to your companies and blowing up. Nor am I telling you that moaning and complaining is EVER right. But I AM telling you that when you are truly wronged on a repeated basis and it's going to cause you potential embarrassment or real harm, then sometimes it is just fine to go ahead and speak your mind. Just do it tactfully and offer something of value to the client in return that may benefit them. This is when you TRULY discover whether your client is "Worth" working for or not. Again, it's not about thinking that you are some kind of hot shot, that kind of attitude will get you a very deserved swift kick in the rear. But it IS about knowing when a partnership is in need of a little tightening up.
To your success! Mike