The New Fillmore 2009

At times clients disappoint you and you may say things you regret

New Fillmore Magazine May 2009

By Paula Pagano

Secrets-of-a-top-salesperson-by-Paula-PagnoFrank Woods is one of my most favorite clients. He decided his current house is too small for him, his new fiancée, Linda, and her five-year-old son.

Frank is bright, witty and charming, with a high profile job in the insurance business. He also has plenty of money and such an easygoing personality that it is a real joy to work with him. We have become good friends and even see each other socially. He is a great source of referrals. He sings my praises and lauds my merits to his influential circle of friends.

In the span of a few months, I find him a magnificent (and very expensive) home in Pacific Heights. To make sure we win the bid (it’s a seller’s market), we get our inspections and disclosures done before the offer date. As I am driving to Yosemite to celebrate my birthday, I get a call on my cell phone. I’m in high spirits, thinking our non-contingent over-asking offer is a sure thing. It is Darlene, the listing agent, on the phone.

“Frank just called and withdrew his offer.”

I gasp, searching for what to say. “He did what? What reason did he give?”

“No reason. You better call him and straighten this out. I am meeting with my sellers in an hour. You still have time.”

I call him immediately. Although Frank is an astute businessman with a prestigious job, he is nervous. I feel exasperated. I expected much more of him. All the time we spent looking was for nothing. He’s about to miss out on a great house. He tells me he could not sleep at all the night before. Instead of recognizing his buyer’s remorse, I got irritated.

“We’ve done our inspections. The house is in perfect condition and in your most favorite neighborhood. It is such an opportunity,” I plead.

“I just can’t go through with it,” he says.

“But this is your dream house.”

“I’m not ready,” is his answer.

I start to get forceful. I tell him how embarrassing it is for me to withdraw an offer already in place. I remind him how prestigious an address it is. I know I shouldn’t be thinking of my feelings, but I let him know how embarrassed I am letting down a top-selling agent in my own office.

As a professional, I should be detached, but I cannot contain my disappointment. I feel the anger collecting at the bottom of my throat. Instead of throwing the phone, I do something worse. I attack him where he is most vulnerable.

“Did Linda put you up to this?” I can almost hear the venom in my voice.

There is a silence at the other end of the phone. I have made a huge miscalculation. My bitter words hang like drawn daggers in the air. Cruel words which I cannot take back. He does not answer, but rushes a goodbye. I wonder if it will be goodbye for good. Will I ever be able to amend the hurt I just caused to my friend and client?

When I return from my vacation, Frank avoids all my phone calls. A few months later I notice his home listed with someone else and wonder where on Millionaire Row he lives now. I still write and call him occasionally, but never hear back.

Excerpted from Secrets of a Top Salesperson, ©2009 by Paula Pagano.