Active Rain March 2, 2009

The Extra Mile

Sometimes an inch or random extra effort is all the difference between making a sale or going broke.

I got a buyer referral in an area that is about 45 minutes from my office. Far for some, no big deal for me. What was unusual about this was that she needed me to pick her up and drive her to see the listings. This is not unheard of in New York; my wife rode the subway all her life. You don’t need a car here. However, New Yorkers are famously cynical, and for a woman to trust me blindly to pick her up is uncommon. On my way to pick her up, the thought occurred to me that maybe I was the one getting fooled. And, sure enough, there was no answer at her door or her phone.

I felt bad. We all hate no shows, but I felt I should have known better. After trying 7 times to call and leaving a note on her door, I drove toward home, chastising myself for not allocating my time toward another endeavor. As I am prone to do, I called my wife to vent about my no-show.

While crossing the Tri-Borough bridge from Queens to the Bronx, chirping in my wife’s ear about the unfairness of it all, I was shocked to get call waiting beeping in from none other than my no show. I was approaching the toll plaza. She was very apologetic. She works in health care and had to work late. She set her phone on vibrate to get some sleep and saw that she had missed all my calls. She asked if it was too late to still keep our appointments. She was mortified that she missed me.

15 minutes later (and one awkward exit and re-entry onto the Tri Borough Bridge back to Queens) I was back at her door. She and her sister would be looking together, and, luckily, all but one of the homes we had lined up were vacant, so our tardiness was meaningless. It was an outstanding afternoon. You seldom find “the” house your first time out and this was no different, but we clicked big time. By the time we were finished I knew exactly what kind of home she wanted and how I could get her into one. We actually had some fun out there, seeing the houses we almost missed.

I got a thank-you email from her that evening and we’ll be going back to it this week. It is amazing to me how close the day had come to being a washout. I didn’t have to turn around. I could have been grumpy with her or left an angry note. I didn’t. Picking up a solid buyer is always a good feeling, but snapping victory from the jaws of defeat is even better. It just goes to show that you can’t lose your faith, even if you have to pay an extra $5 toll on the Tri-Borough bridge.