On (Realtor) Tardiness

There are times when any/all of us are late. The question is whether it’s the exception or the rule. In my life and practice, tardiness is the rare exception.

A few weeks ago, I was scheduled to meet someone at 2 o’clock. At 2:15, I was in my car starting to leave when he pulled in.

He expressed surprise when I told him I was leaving, as he didn’t know what time it was. I almost continued my exit. He said that every other Realtor he’d met had been late; I respectfully and politely told him I wasn’t one of them.

Contrast that with clients the other day who texted me at 2:59 telling me they’d be a few minutes late for our 3 o’clock appointment – they respect my time, and more importantly, theirs.

(caveat: about 3 times a year, Google Calendar betrays me and I’m tardy or miss an appointment … technology is awesome when it works)

When I see a post start with ” this post may offend …” often, I’ll agree. This is one of those posts.

This post may offend some readers. But only because it’s going to cut close to the bone for many.

And I don’t care if I sound old-fashioned, because actually it’s nothing to do with ‘fashion’ or ‘generation’. It’s got everything to do with basic good manners and respect for other people.

So here goes… How did it get to be “OK” for people to be late for everything?

I’m not sure whether my proclivity for punctuality is derived from my time at VMI where being late without consequences was not an option, or from my time being a real estate kid, but being punctual is part of me and therefore part of my real estate practice.

If I’m going to show a house or meet a client at 3 o’clock, I’ll usually arrive between 2:55 and 2:59. If I’m going to be late (I was behind a tractor and a school bus last night on Miller School Road, but still arrived 5 minutes early), I’ll call or text.

I have a knack for working with good people who are nice, intelligent and respectful. And they’re almost all punctual (there are a few exceptions, but they make up for the habitual tardiness by being truly wonderful people … if they were not nice, we’d have a different relationship).

In all the years I’ve coached my daughters’ soccer teams I’ve started the season with the statement to the kids (and parents) that we start on time and as importantly – end on time.

All we have, in whatever profession, are time and expertise. Time and expertise are our currencies; not respecting either is inexcusable.

We all have lives and schedules to keep. Why not show respect for others?

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  1. Mark November 13, 2014 at 14:56

    Well-put. A pet peeve is when someone says they’re “really busy,” not necessarily related to being tardy but just as an excuse of any kind. 1) We are all busy, 2) In many cases, busy is a choice.
    It comes down to priorities. Another pet peeve, sorta related, is when a person answers a ringing telephone while they are conducting business with a real live human sitting in their office. That’s what voicemail is for!

    1. Jim Duncan November 17, 2014 at 09:45

      Very, very early in my career when I was actively being mentored by my mom, I answered the phone for her and told the person she couldn’t talk because she was busy.

      She *crushed* me when I told her what I’d said. I’ve never forgotten that.

      Since then, my goal (not always achieved) is to have each client feel as if they’re the only client I have.

  2. Simon Campbell November 21, 2014 at 12:31

    I love the article. We are professionals in a professional business and being on time and conscience of other’s time is one of the many ways we build a reputation and create trust. Thanks for the article!

  3. Pingback: Left Turns, Nest Summit, A Big Mistake and a Question | Note from Jim - RealCentralVA.com

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