Guest Column – Stan Albert – Respect is a two way street

“I don’t get no respect. Last week my tie caught on fire. Some guy tried to put it out with an ax!” – Rodney Dangerfield

Why is there so much profanity in our business? It’s not professional, and certainly doesn’t show any respect for your clients, fellow sales reps and support staff. The only thing it does is to increase your blood pressure and injure your heart, according to psychologists and psychiatrists.

The late comedian George Carlin used the f-word word some 29 times in one dialogue, so much that it really didn’t make much sense. At the time he was gaining popularity; hardly anyone was using harsh language in film, on stage or in public. Now, it seems that word is the best and only way to embellish one’s anger. Psychiatrists will say that such verbiage is intended to make the recipient feel like mush and the one spewing the language feel superior.

I’ve seen the more than gradual deterioration of good business ethics and the treatment of others in our business and it bothers me. My late mother, Lil, had many great expressions, most of which she claimed to be hers. One of the best nuggets: “You can get more flies with honey, than with vinegar.” Surely your own parents would have passed on to you: “It’s not always what you say, but how you say it.”

Recently, our support desk made an error. It was innocent enough and should not have happened, but it caused the agent to really go overboard on chastising the poor young lady to the point of tears and almost leaving our employ. When things quieted down, it turned out that the error did not have all the ramifications that the agent deemed that it would have. Within hours of this happening, I received a call from the agent. In addition to perhaps flogging the admin person, we should have her fired, he said. Fired, for being human? With about 100 agents, we handle about 1,000 calls per day and administrate close to 1,500 transactions per year. Our error rate is less than two per cent on all business that comes into our office. I challenge our agents to tell me what their error rate is per calendar year.

The use of profanity from agent to agent has increased so dramatically, that it astounds the writer to think that they’ve never visited a Roget’s Thesaurus for other usage of the English language. This is being a professional?

Come on guys and gals. Are we only supposed to be nice when it’s convenient or do we just shoot from the hip/lip whenever it’s appropriate to justify the ends to satisfying our anger? I know these articles are intended to be geared to coaching you on to bigger and better things in the wonderful world of real estate. Let’s not forget those guys and gals who toil for you behind the admin desks weekly, year in and year out. Most managers/brokers hear this common diatribe: “Well, if you paid them more, we’d have more professional staff and fewer turnovers and mistakes.”

Hey! How many of you have run offices? Run them efficiently and effectively so that the work you hand in gets done in a timely fashion – that is of course, provided you hand in all the paperwork that goes into a file so that you can receive your commissions. Efficiency is not a one-way street. And how many of you culprits ever stop to think what damage you do to the psyche of the admin person with your trucker’s mouth? Many of you are unappreciative of the mountains of paperwork they must deal with.

I can’t remember the book this quote came from, but it is appropriate: “Catch someone doing well and praise them for it, rather than always looking for the bad.”

Your brokers invest heavily in your offices in money, time, energy and resources. Running an efficient and effective office is not an easy task. Having had the opportunity to work with two large offices, I can attest to the support given to me and I constantly show my appreciation to my support team with lunches, movie tickets, quarterly awards for efficiency and Tims and Timbits on a regular basis.

In short, always treat your support team as though they were a member of your family.
Quote of the month: “Your friends are God’s way of apologizing for your relatives.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer (from his book Power of Intention)

Stan Albert is celebrating his 39th year in active real estate, and is with Re/Max Excellence in Woodbridge, Ont. He serves on committees at RECO and at the Toronto Real Estate Board. He is an established trainer and business consultant and can be reached at