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How much disloyalty will you accept as an agent? My relocation buyer experience

A few years ago, I handled a mid-sized relocation account for a company based north of Austin.  It resulted in about 35 sales for me and my business partner.  I have only handled two such accounts, but both of them followed the same trend.  The president/CEO/board members moved first, then the middle managers, followed by the "underlings". 

Dealing with corporate relocation companies is interesting, because you are often working with buyers who would not have otherwise found you.  As such, you end up with a few folks in your car that are less fun to spend the day around. 

I had one such experience that I have never forgotten.  I can't truthfully say that I am proud of my actions that day, but if I had it to do over again, I don't think I would necessarily change what I did.

There was a manager with the aforementioned company that needed to find a place quickly, preferably in Cedar Park or Round Rock (both on the north side of Austin).  His needs/wants were greater than his ability to pay for them, but I worked diligently to find the right homes to show him and his wife during their visit, because I knew that they needed to act fast.

While we were riding in my van after spending a couple of hours together, my cell phone rang.  Sometimes, I don't bother to answer it, but they were busy studying some MLS sheets and I decided to go ahead and pick up the call. 

What happened next is seared into my memory to this day.

ME: "Hello, this is Jason."

CALLER: "Hi, Jason, this is _________ with ______ Realty.  Are you with John Logan?"

ME: "Um, yes I am."

CALLER: Could I speak with him?

ME: I suppose so....(trailing off and turning to the buyer).  It's for you, John.

I let them finish their conversation, then he explained that he had been working with another agent who was trying to locate homes as well.  Even though I had already agreed to pay the referral fee for him, and I had filled out the requisite paperwork, I had no desire to continue working with this couple.

Yes, I had a signed relocation document, but I had a very strong feeling that this guy would try to circumvent the process and go around me if it was at all to his advantage.  I know from previous experience that it is difficult to make a case for earned commission unless you are part of the negotiating process.  Also, buyers with this mentality usually don't limit themselves to only two agents.  Who knows how many people he (and his wife) had spoken with?

He didn't feel that it was necessary to tell me anything until he was "caught" when the other agent called.  Frankly, I felt that they deserved each other.  She was aggressive and brash enough to intrude on my outing with a buyer, and he was rude enough to speak to his other agent in my car.

I drove them straight back to their car and wished them well on their home search, which would not include me anymore.

I wasn't rude to them at all - just very matter-of-fact.  I told them that I had a lot of buyers that I was working with who already appreciated the service that I was providing for them, and that I didn't have time to spend further selling them on using me as their agent.  In a (somehow) kind way, I also indicated that I no longer trusted them.  I also told them how shocking it was to receive a phone call from another agent who KNEW that they were with ME specifically. 

Maybe I overreacted, or maybe this was the absolute best course of action.  Either way, it is what happened that day.  As I mentioned, I don't think I would handle it differently seven years later than I did on that hot July day in 2001.

What would you have done in this situation? 

Copyright 2008    Austin Texas Homes    Jason Crouch

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