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Clients First: The Two Word Miracle by JoAnn Callaway, Joseph Callaway

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Staying with Us

In the declining market of 2007–2008, most homes did not sell, and the few that sold took longer to sell. The time-on-market average for active listings approached eight months, and the average term for a listing was six months. As a result, agents lost clients to a new listing agent only to turn around and list homes that another agent had just lost. It was like a game of musical chairs, except that it involved houses and agents, and the music conveyed disappointment and despair. Through all this, we lost very few clients. It was humbling to see clients sign listing extension after listing extension with us. In that period, home prices fell by half, and many of our sellers chased the market downward, as we advised reduction after reduction. Again, we were gratified that our clients believed what we told them about the market and worked with us as we all scrambled to deal with an unprecedented situation. Because our clients knew we cared about them, they stood by us. Because they stayed with us, we ultimately sold their properties more quickly than neighbors were able to achieve months later—and at higher sales prices.

We lost a few clients during that time. We couldn’t blame them. It was a terrifying time. Afterward, the most touching experience of all was that many came back to us. Clients rarely return. This is understandable, because they often leave an agent on bad terms. They are angry, disillusioned, frustrated, or all of these. They have made a decision ...

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