Tuesday, May 13, 2014 / by Lela Ashkarian
BY LELA ASHKARIAN
Mr. Lampe owned a luxury home in one of the prominent neighborhoods of Key Colony Beach. He wanted to list his property with a knowledgeable, trustworthy, and techno-savvy agent at Coldwell Banker. He visited the appraiser/father of the company that I work with and asked him, “Who do you know that I can count on to do the job?” The appraiser did not think twice; he sent Mr. Lampe to my office.
We had a very meaningful conversation that ended with making an appointment to visit Mr. Lampe’s home. I had no doubt that he would agree to list this luxurious property because in our initial consultation, he was impressed with my thoughts and advice on a subject about which I am passionate: how to get a property—his property—SOLD.
I prepared the lengthy document and made an appointment per his request to view a dozen homes in the same price range that I had suggested for his property. I thoughtfully asked him why it was important to sell his property because I wanted to know how to structure my marketing efforts. He did not have a clear reason at that time; nevertheless I took the listing because I knew that in working with him, eventually he would reveal his innermost thoughts to me. Mr. Lampe was a very neat, analytical, organized, and meticulous eighty-four year young who had once owned and managed a company. I was very eager to learn from him as much as I wanted to sell his property.
On the following day, I met Lampe at his house so I could tour it room by room, and then we toured other homes to view all of the listings that matched some of his home’s criteria. We spent all day taking notes and measurements and comparing locations, communities, and benefits. At the end of the day, he was ready to sign the listing with a one-year agreement much higher than what I had suggested.
I prepared a virtual tour video, flyers, just-listed cards, and open house and invitation cards to have a formal viewing for agents and visitors. In less than 180 days, I received a cash offer close to the price that I had suggested. Mr. Lampe totally rejected it, and I was shocked.
At our agent and customer meeting every month, we discussed his property viewing and focused on his thoughts, ideas, wants, and needs. I encouraged him to tell me more about his core goal: why he wanted to sell because, for sure, he did not need the money, and he really liked this beautiful home where he invited his children, grandchildren, and his large extended family. This waterfront property had seven bedrooms, 5-1/2 baths, a media room, pool and Jacuzzi, and five-car garage. It had very quick access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
We had several other showings and received a second offer the following year. That did not go as well, but the timing was with us, as the oceanfront properties were selling one at a time, and this home was very well exposed. I had to reposition my thoughts and strategies. I wrote him a letter:
Dear Mr. Lampe,
As it is my sincere desire to find a purchaser for your luxurious and special property, I was thinking about you with gratitude that you had made the right decision in choosing me as your agent to handle the sale of your property.
I need to share with you a few facts about me and the thought processes I use when I work with people like you to give them complete satisfaction. Knowing that you trust me to sell your house successfully is special to me. Do you know why?
First of all, it is about respect and appreciation. I recently received a telephone call and wanted to share it with you. A customer whose house I sold called me a few days ago and revealed something very remarkable to me:
“Lela, after I allowed myself all these wonderful feelings that my house finally had found the best new owner I could imagine, I came to understand my reluctance to let go of it. A house can be like a child; you build on experiences with it and have certain feelings when you look at it, and these feelings became memories that held me back.
“Understanding that a child you love very much and care about has grown over the years, a certain unfolding of situations occurred that promised a deep feeling of peace by letting the child go, knowing that happiness can be a very liberating feeling that expands easily.
“You know even my brain understood that letting go was not about losing or experiencing pain; it was about closure. And it was about the deeply abiding relief of swapping tension-filled resistance with positive feelings to take root inside my soul.
“I apologize, Lela, for taking so long to come to that point. After I made the decision to let my ‘child’ go its own way, I was repaid more than two million times.
“As an artist, I compared that tense feeling to holding onto a painting that was just 75 percent completed. I had invested so much of my joy and love into it. By not finishing it, I would never have to sell it, yet I wanted other to feel happy by having it. So after I rightfully trusted you, I was able to realize closure and therefore peace of mind deep within myself. I did that by letting go of the ‘unfinished painting,’ by feeling the joy, and by knowing that there was something way more important.
“After I sold it to my fullest satisfaction—thanks to your patience, help, and expertise—I gained insight that I did not lose anything because all of my memories and feelings served to carry me smoothly from closure to the next wonderful times of my life here. They still shine in my heart and will remain there for the rest of my days.
“To paint from now on with the ability to marry positive closure with peace of mind gives me a much greater gain than the million dollars I received from the sale.”
By this time, I had rejoined the By Referral Only coaching and learned the magic words. I was willing and eager to get another offer on Mr. Lampe’s house, and this time, I would try what I had learned. Right on! Late one night, I received an email from a new out-of-town agent wanting to show the property that her buyers have seen on my video on the Internet. I was definitely sure that this buyer was experiencing my description of the house:
“Waking up refreshed in the morning with a smile on your face, it really doesn’t matter if your first thought is devoted to swimming with dolphins, setting a new golf record, savoring the wonderful tastes at the restaurant by the boat or swimming in your heated pool (year round). What it’s really about is the deep, expanding joy of having so preciously taken care of the ones you love by buying this house. Being proud of yourself for making such an immensely satisfying decision can be an uplifting power for countless wonderful days to come, simply enjoying your life in your dream house. Only a few chosen people on this earth enjoy the feeling of scoring a game-winning home run.”
When I showed the property, I invited these buyers and their agent to take their time, to sit and enjoy the environment. After half an hour of conversing, the lady buyer wanted to go out and check on their dog. We all went out and Greta, the dog, cheerfully approached me and started to hang around me. She looked at her owners and nodded, as if to say, “This is IT!”
Would you believe that we sold the house after hard negotiations with Mr. Lampe? During the negotiations, I revisited his core desire of selling the property over and over again, and I found how very much he was attached to this house. It was very difficult for him to let go, but at the same time, he did not want this house to become a burden on his children. We closed the house, all cash, and both Mr. Lampe and the buyers were very happy.
From this transaction, I learned to:
PListen intuitively and be compassionate to the seller’s needs.
PBe on time and respect the seller’s opinions.
PThank them regularly for being patient with the process.
POpen one of the gifts with which we are endowed—patience.
PServe before getting served.
PEmbrace the spirit of whatever it takes to exceed the client’s expectations.
PHonor and consider the situation from the client’s point of view.
PBe open and learn from their experiences and wisdom.
PAsk openly what made them successful.
PBe there for them when they need you most.