I got fired…

I’m not one of those “Guru’s” who never makes a mistake or has never suffered a loss. I think that the most valuable lessons I have ever learned came as a direct result of a failure of some sort.

The other thing I want to express is that you can do everything right…and despite your best efforts things don’t go well.

Here’s my story…

I recently listed a property for sale at a price and terms that I thought would have sold almost instantly. I was wrong! Some background first. I got the listing because the Seller was dissatisfied with his former broker. It seems that his former broker listed the property and in the six months that it was on the market never showed it even once.

I had a buyer looking for that type of property. I called the listing agent who informed me that he could set up the showing. However, when I got to the property I was told the listing had expired and that the former agent had nothing to do with the property. That process was another story entirely. Anyhow, after my showing the Seller asks if I would consider listing the property.

Long story short…we do the proposal and list the property for sale. We promote the property using the Marketing Campaign Checklist© and we send him a Listing Retention Letter© every week. We showed the property at least 20-30 times during the term of the listing. We reduced the price of the listing, we called prospective buyers who passed on two other similar listings. And yet we couldn’t get the property sold.

Last week the Seller sent me a letter terminating our listing agreement. He stated that though he was satisfied with the level of activity he was terminating the agreement because we hadn’t succeeded in selling the property.

The fact is he was correct…we had failed!

I can argue why firing us wasn’t a rational decision. He must start over with a new broker. Like his previous broker the new broker thinks putting the listing in LoopNet and the MLS is going to get it sold. The new broker is a residential agent with no industrial tract record. The Seller is desperate…desperation causes people to make unusual decisions.

But, here is the take away…he’s absolutely 100% correct!

He hired us to achieve and specific outcome. The sale of his building. Even though we marketed the “heck” out of the property we didn’t meet his objective. We did everything “right” we had the property on about 20 different websites, we broadcast emailed it to 16,000+/- CCIM’s. We mailed postcards, contacted neighboring owners, shared it at commercial networking events, called other potential buyers from other industrial listings we had. We even sent out broadcast emails across the country to over 180,000 investors, brokers, and user…not once but twice…and still nothing.
Theoretically, we made all the “right moves” and yet we failed our mission!

Tony Robbins says, “When people succeed they tend to party but when they fail they tend to ponder.”

Here are some of the “take-aways” from this experience.

First, you need to understand that in life and commercial real estate you can do everything right…and still get the wrong result. We did everything right…except sell the property. We marketed, we called, we showed, we mailed and toured and at the end of the day didn’t sell the unit. To give you some context in the same time frame we sold and closed with the original prospect/buyer and leased several other units.

“Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.” Jack Welch

Second, the reality is that we didn’t sell the building. Despite our best efforts the building remained unsold. Newsflash, in commercial real estate and life…sometimes “sh!t” just happens. I have a theory, if you’re not getting in trouble or having upsets your not doing enough business. We can rationalize our actions and efforts, but the reality is that we didn’t sell the building.

Like Tony Robbins says, we lost…so we ponder. We took a critical look at what we did in this case, what we did well, what we could have done better, what we could have done differently. Armed with that critical assessment we decided that this was just one of those cases that “got away”.

Another interesting “take away” was that even though we didn’t sell the property in his letter terminating our agreement the Seller acknowledged all the efforts we had expended on his behalf. Even though we missed the mark the Seller confirmed our marketing process and communication with him.

This is principally why I stay in the business…how much credibility does a coach, guru, or mentor have if they have never done a transaction or haven’t done one in 20 or 30 years. The only constant in commercial real estate is change. That is why we update our Marketing Campaign Checklist© and Listing Retention Letters© monthly to keep the marketing relevant, timely, and effective.

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