The Importance of Starting Off on the Right Foot
I must digress for a moment to make a important point.
The Britos live in Corona, Queens, New York. They are young couple with small children. A few years ago they arrived in the U.S. from Educator. When I first met them they confidently proclaim that the American dream was also within their reach. They are Herbalife Distributors and proud of it. The Corona community is dotted with numerous Herbalife Health Clubs, which are decked out in the company’s dreary green motif. The competition among distributors is intense. Some commentators and investment advisers charge that the Herbalife’s multi-level distributorship business is nothing more than a Ponzi or Pyramid scheme. For the point that I want to make, the debate over Herbalife’s legitimacy as a business is irrelevant. From what I have gathered the Britos’ formal educational training is limited.
This Spanish speaking couple approached me about purchasing some of their products and becoming a member in their distributor line. Their sales pitch impressed me. It was coherent and alluring. They talked about how we could help each other by exchanging contacts and business ideas. The Britos offered me a more extensive business relationship than just Herbalife. I told them that Herbalife, the company, did not meet my standards in terms of customer service. Not withstanding this fact, I agreed to do business with them. Does this, to some degree, sound familiar? I only signed up with Herbalife because I would be in the distributor line of Jose and Carmen. I am not surprised that our simple Herbalife collaboration has blossomed into a robust and diversified business relationship. We have become friends and our business collaboration has proved to be very profitable.
About a week after joining Herbalife the Britos wrote me a personal e-mail. In less than perfect English they thanked me for my patronage, welcomed me to the company, promised to service my future needs and invited me to a social gathering at their Health Club. In stark contrast; Weichert after we signed its listing – a legal document whose every term promoted and protected Weichert’s pecuniary interests – did not even send us a form communication thanking us for our business and inviting us for “tea and crumpets” in the N.J. office. Amazing! There was never a invitation to come see Weichert’s operations and the resources that were being invested in the sale.
The sellers are financially well off and have real estate holdings in various states. I am quite sure that their estate proceedings will involve the sale of real estate holdings and other assets and the reinvestment of the proceeds. The same real estate concern involved with both estates could earn about $100,000 in commissions. By not starting its relationship with us on the right footing Weichert missed a golden opportunity to market its brand and line itself up for future paydays. Weichert and Ms. Bishop have never expressed any other interests in the sellers’ affairs or networking with me. Weichert is only interesting in selling a 530 Myrtle Ave. and nothing much else. In my opinion the Britos could teach Weichert a thing-or-two about marketing and building customer confidence and loyalty. As of the writing of this post I still do not understand why Weichert did not attempt to promote its brand by positive acts and not by just resting on some imaginary laurels.
Getting Down to Business
Ms. Bishop told me she wanted to visit 530 Myrtle Ave. I immediately made the arrangements to make this happen. I contacted my uncle so that he could ask one of his handymen to accompany her during the inspection. We did not want her to enter the
property by herself. We were unsure of its exact condition of 530 Myrtle Avenue. We wanted to eliminated the possibility that Weichert or Ms. Bishop could be blamed for damaging something in the house. I specifically told Ms. Bishop that this arrangement was necessary based upon our suspicions about Ms. Garcia having had unrestricted access to the house. In this respect there are two important points that cannot be overlooked; the sellers were careful not to expose Weichert to any potential legal claim for damage to the property and we never trusted Ms. Gracia in or around the property. Ms. Bishop inspected 530 Myrtle Avenue with a gentleman named Roy.
Upon concluding her inspection of the property Ms. Bishop called me. She told me that the pipes had ruptured at the radiators’ connection joints. She took pictures of the damage and sent them to me. We agreed that cleaning the carpets and walls of the water damage –which was very slight- had to be immediately undertaken to make the house more presentable for showing. We discussed cost effective strategies for cleaning the water damage. Regardless of this small setback, I instructed Ms. Bishop to show the house “as is” and we would proceed as planned. Weichert did not show the house with the water damage; and as far as I know, has never shown the house to a any prospective buyer.
Ms. Bishop and I agreed that it would be best to hire my Uncle’s handyman, Roy, to clean up the property. By this time Ms. Bishop had developed a working relationship with him. I discussed this idea with my uncle and he agreed to make the necessary arrangements. Unfortunately about a week later Roy still had not cleaned the carpets and walls. I could not understand what the holdup could have been. Ms. Bishop suggested that we contract a local concern (a Stanley Steamer) to come in and clean the carpets. Much her credit, she made the necessary inquiries.
I communicated with my Uncle via e-mail about our new proposal. Since he had long standing and beneficial relationship with Roy I did not want to take any action that might jeopardize that relationship or embarrass him. When my Uncle did not respond to my e-mail I simply assumed that he busy attending to his gravely ill wife. I concluded that he did not need the additional burden of this less than critical administrative matter. Accordingly I instructed Ms. Bishop to make arrangements with the cleaning company that she had selected. I would pay their fee and we would move forward.
The water damage was not my main concern. I was puzzled as to why Ms. Bishop had not yet shown the house. Showing should have been taken place given “Weichert’s vast network of buyers and sellers that were available through its hundreds of offices.”
Upon signing the listing agreement, E. Jones had told Ms. Bishop that one of the neighbors was interested in purchasing the property. She confirmed that my uncle had given her the particulars about this prospective buyer. Ms. Bishop also told me that she had an investor who wanted to see 530 Myrtle Avenue. When we next spoke about these two leads she causally told me that they were busy and could not meet with her. She never told me about the efforts she subsequently made, whether writing letters or e-mails, to stimulate their interest. This would have been the logical course of action take, especially in light of the fact that Weichert was not producing any positive results. As a comparison; C-21 had shown the house three or four times shortly after receiving the executed listing agreement.