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The Fine Line Between Client and Friend

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This has long been an issue throughout a variety of industries. Heck, most of the time, people would frown upon doing business with a relative or friend simply because there is a high likelihood the dynamics of the original relationship will change. There is a possibility they could change for the better, but unfortunately, they often change in a negative way. Sometimes it’s not that things change, but the expectation levels seem to unexpectedly rise to levels beyond achievable.

Simply put by the great Kenny Rogers,

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run”

Our nature is to want to give all that we can to the people that mean the most to us. Through pure instinct we immerse all of our knowledge, our skills, our patience, and most of all, our time. Please don’t think that I deny all of my energy into clients that are not close friends, but there is some level of obligation we subconsciously place on ourselves. We think, “If I don’t answer their call, they’ll think I don’t care.” This statement could not be more untrue. However, this undeniable stress we exude on ourselves is absolutely inevitable. Our friend literally had hundreds of REALTORS to choose to work with, and they chose ME! In addition, if they don’t get the outcome they imagined… then they are going to tell every single mutual friend about their experience. In a business that works off of referrals, I hope you can see how devastating this could be for someone.

Let’s flip roles for a moment and pose the question, “Could I fire a friend?” Could working with someone I know be SO emotionally and psychologically draining that it would be a better situation if we just agreed to not work together? My biggest professional challenge is that I have the most difficult time telling someone, “No.” Those two little letters are the derivative of numerous hours focused on doing things for people that are way above and beyond expectations. I guess it depends on whose expectations we’re talking about though. It’s sort of this unsaid agreement amongst friends that because they know you on a personal level, that they expect you’ll do everything in your natural powers to make them happy. In addition, some will expect supernatural powers as well, it all depends on who you’re dealing with.

In summary, I return to the original question, “Should we do business together if we are personal friends?” I shall answer that two-fold:

If you respect all that I offer as a professional and will follow my guidance, and understand that you don’t need to call me multiple times a day or scream at me because you know I’m a patient person, then I guarantee that your experience working with me will be bar none to other REALTORS.

If you enter into the process with the notion that I “owe” you something, or you abuse my kindness for your benefit, then I will politely tell you, “I’d like to refer you to one of my fellow REALTORS that will take great care of you.” So, ultimately, the decision lies in both of our hands.

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