We didn’t call it Clients First back then. That would come three years later. We simply expressed it as nothing else matters as long as we do what is best for the client. Money didn’t matter. The possibility of the client dropping us and going elsewhere didn’t matter. If we screwed up or made an embarrassing mistake, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was keeping the clients by doing what was best for them.
Eventually we embodied the concept in two words: Clients First. We called it our two word mission statement and put it on our website and in our marketing materials in 2001. We told new team members and watched as it transformed them. Unabashed at the simplicity of the promise we made, we told clients. Yes, we told the lady in blue that morning at the Mustang Library and the top agents we met around the country, but it seldom had an impact.
Perhaps it was working with JoAnn and me each day that changed our team. Maybe the clients took it with a grain of salt, although I believe some were deeply moved by our sincerity. We expressed it at every turn, and when people asked how you put Clients First, we would talk on and on, obviously failing from the looks in their eyes. We simply could not explain it, because, although it had changed our lives, the answer was just beyond our reach, waiting for us to change again.
It would be years later, more than two years after our conversation in Harper’s Restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina, before we could explain the ...