property investors network

A reminder that property is a people business

Property Investing is a people business. They way you interact with other people will have a direct effect on your personal success. Let me share an experience with you:

I had a day off yesterday (which meant that I had do lots of jobs around the house), and my wife Lorraine wanted me to help drop off her sewing machine which needed a service as it stopped working properly. Lorraine had telephoned a sewing machine shop in the morning to check they could do services and that they were open when we intended to pop in. The lady on the phone (we will call her Mrs Happy) was rather short with Lorraine and not particularly helpful or friendly. Even so, as it was the closest shop we decided to drop the sewing machine in, to see what they thought about it.

We arrived at the shop and Mrs Happy came over to look at the machine. Seeing that it was a very old machine (older than me), she said it would not be worth repairing, and we would be better off buying a new one. Mrs Happy may have been correct as it may well be cheaper to buy a new one rather than fix the old one, but that should be our decision. Instead of presenting the different options and then maybe making a suggestion, Mrs Happy took it upon herself to tell us what was best for us without taking our views into account.

It was not just what she said, but also the dismissive way she said it. Lorraine and I looked at each other and were shocked at her “poor attitude”. We picked the machine up and left the shop. As Lorraine was given this machine by her mother, she would prefer to pay a reasonable amount to get it fixed rather than buy a new cheap model. After the Mrs Happy encounter, Lorraine concluded that if she does have to buy a new machine she will not buy it from Mrs happy, but would rather go to another shop instead to spend her money. Maybe Mrs happy was having a bad day! We all have those occasionally. Unfortunately, Mrs Happy let her bad attitude come before her customer service. She did not find out what was important to us, her potential customers?

So what on earth has this got to do with property investing? Well, property is a people business. The better you are at dealing with people the more successful you will be. Consider for a minute how you deal with your customers? Customers, what customers? you may be thinking.

As a property investor, your most important customers are your tenants, the people who come back to you and buy (accommodation) from you every month. How do you treat and speak to you tenants or potential tenants? Are you looking after them and their accommodation (which after all is your investment). Look after your tenants and the property, and they could be with your for years and even provide new tenants through recommendation. This will help to reduce your void periods which will save you lots of time, effort and money.

What about people you speak to who want to sell their property? In that case you are the buyer, but if you are going to be buying the property well below market value (as you should be doing) then you need to sell the concept to the vendor, that they sell the property to you, rather than to another investor. If it is really a good deal other investors will be interested in it. So again you need to find out from the vendor what is important to them. You need to build the rapport with them such that they want to deal with you. Property is a people business. Make sure you are professional, courteous and friendly with everyone you deal with and people will want to deal with you.

Kind regards

Simon Zutshi

3 thoughts on “A reminder that property is a people business

  1. franco

    great point Simon, the sad thing is that this is the kind of experience that is all too common when dealing with people in every walk of life. In fact, when someone does their job properly, we’re all amazed at the great service when in fact the person is simply doing what they’re supposed to. We can all use this to our massive benefit when we’re the “supplier” to great effect, simply by doing what we’re supposed to be doing, ie understanding what our “clients” really want and need.

    Having spent a bit of time in the USA, one thing you can’t knock the yanks for is their overall average level of customer service which is streets ahead of the UK….

  2. richard weals

    Thank’s simon for such an interesting story, i mean the way you talk to people really does have an effect on your outcome.
    Since working on my communication skills i have increased sales in my current business so its an essential ingredient to becoming successful, so remember! words are the true currency of business not numbers.