When my sister entered the commercial real estate world, she had the opportunity to meet with a group of developers who were considering the purchase of some property that was just off I-5 and next to a large mall. She was like a hunting dog on point, absorbing everything, nearly quivering with excitement. And then, without blinking, one of them dropped the number that they thought they might have to pay for it.
Wow, she thought. This might be a 4- to 5-million-dollar deal! But as the conversation continued, she began to wonder: Did he say “4 to 5 million,” or “45 million?” Today that data would be an integrated part of her gray matter, and she’d be able to pull it up, share it, provide comps, and give her opinion. But at the time, she was as green as a beer on St. Patrick’s Day. Not wanting to look like an idiot, she tried some verbal prompts to get them to repeat the figure, but it didn’t work. When she was finally forced to say the number aloud, she did a masterful job of coming up with a bastardized version, a marriage of them both, minimizing the “to” and hitting the numbers hard: “4(ta)5 million,” which she believed could be construed as either correct, or massively, ridiculously wrong. To this day, she does a great impression of herself nearly swallowing her tongue to produce it.
When sales reps are fresh and new, they go out into the world with some goodwill chips in their bank. People, generally, are nice, and rookies can often be forgiven for not having an immediate and helpful opinion or response to questions. Those goodwill chips don’t last forever, though, so it’s a sales representative’s job to become well-informed regarding what they represent. Depending on the industry, there’s nothing wrong with being truthful and admitting that you don’t know, but of course, will find out. Then comes the race back to the office, the discovery process, the research, the picking of the brains with the most sales and product experience, and the return to the client with answers and options.
And that property I mentioned? Forty-five million. My sister didn’t know which number was right when she heard it, and she’s managed to do okay … a huge understatement.
May 21, 2020