All posts by Keith Thompson

Most unusual closing

Years ago, I was selling a hotel in Nashville well before the internet, cell phones, email, and such. Back then I had to physically go to the closings if I wanted to get paid.

The closing was set for 9am, so I drove up to Nashville early that morning. When I got there the buyer was there with his attorney and my client (seller) was there with his attorney. The buyer was a good guy and a deeply religious man. We had discussed our faiths several times during the sales process.

When everyone was in the room, everyone got coffee and chatted and the two attorneys do what they usually do and that was talk about where they went to school and common people, they knew etc. By this time, it is now 9:40 that morning.  During the chatter between the attorneys, I noticed the buyer hadn’t said anything. A minute later he leaned across the table and told me that if he didn’t sign all the documents before 10am sharp we would have to reschedule the closing.

I calmly stood up and ask to speak with the seller and his attorney in the hallway. Once we were clear of the room, I told the seller and his attorney what the buyer said. I looked at the seller’s attorney and told him the buyer was represented by an attorney and to just slide the stack of documents over and let him instruct the buyer. It was now 9:45

We walked back in and the seller’s attorney did just what I had suggested. He told the buyer’s attorney of the time urgency and slid the documents over to him. The buyer started signing and 12 minutes later the deal was closed.

I felt like I needed a shower after that, but I learned a big lesson that day. When going into a meeting, always ask everyone how much time we have.  KT

Who is paying for lunch?

Bob goes out each week to lunch with five friends. When the bill comes the waiter asked if it is one bill or split up?  Bob says to his friends, “I have had a good year so why don’t I chip in 80%.” Two of the other friends say “well, we will each pitch in 10%.” The remaining three fiends didn’t contribute anything.

This became the usual way they paid the lunch bill. One day the manager came over to the table and said, because you guys are such loyal guests, I want to give you 100 dollars in cash to split up as my way of thanking you.

After the manager leaves, Bob says well let’s split the 100 like we do when the bill is paid. I will take 80 and the other two friends will get 10 each.

The three that never contributed anything said, “hey now, wait a minute, that’s not fair.” We should all split it equally. Then the three said some bad things to Bob and called him greedy.

Bob decided he didn’t want to go to lunch any more with his ex-friends, so he didn’t show up the next week. The next week the remaining five friends all ordered lunch and when Bob still didn’t come, the three that had said bad things to Bob, asked each other, “who’s going to pay for lunch?’

Does this remind you of anything? Maybe the American tax system? KT

Being right or being hired

In our business, we can be absolutely correct in our evaluations and never earn a dime because we never get hired. See, you must get hired to have the chance to earn money. You could be the smartest real estate broker to ever lace up a pair of wingtips, but if you don’t understand what the seller is really looking for, you will never get hired.

I had this conversation yesterday with a guy. I ask him, “if he was working for a company and it was his job to hire the broker, what is his number one objective?” There are many answers that come to mind, but in the end, his number one objective is to keep his job. He keeps his job by making safe decisions.

So, let’s say this same employee has three equally qualified firms that have made proposals, which one will he hire? The one who had the best analysis or the one who gave him the highest value? Answer, ding, ding , ding – is the one with the highest value.

Now, to retain credibility in this process we always give a range (from conservative to aggressive) along with an asking price that is higher than both. I figure if we miss on all three valuations, we shouldn’t get hired anyway and get sent to our room without dinner. Ha

So, in hotel sales like much of life, the real insight comes when we understand what the other person really wants. If you can understand that, be ok with that, you will go far in life and in business. So, in our company I tell my brokers, you can be right, or you can be hired. I believe if you really think it through, you can get both. KT

Me first living with leftover giving

I wish I could think of these catchy phases, but I can’t. I was listening to Andy Stanley yesterday and he used this phrase, “me first living and leftover giving.”

My mentor in life (Harmon Born) told me years ago his view of personal financial advice. He said when you earn money, give 10%, save 10% and live off the 80%. That is incredibly simply yet it could be the best thing you could ever do. See, the giving part keeps your heart humble, the saving part strengthens your hope for the future and living on the rest, helps keep your spending in check.

What Andy Stanley was saying was that so many people use it all on themselves and if there is any leftover, sometimes they give. People that live this way very rarely have any leftover and more times than not, they live from paycheck to paycheck.

There is something very deep spiritually when a person chooses to have a giving heart. I can’t explain it in the vernacular, but you already know what I mean. Additionally, there is something about having money saved that helps you sleep better and have more rest and peace. The person that spends everything they make just seems to be in a constant state of unrest.

So, don’t be a “me first living and leftover giving” person. Instead be a “me first giving and leftover living.” KT

Influence – know when it’s time to change

I am not there yet, but I can only imagine that one of the most difficult steps in a person’s life is when they choose to retire. I personally don’t believe it should be based on years worked or your age. I think it should be based on influence. Take Bill Marriott for example. He is 89 years old and still carries enormous influence at the company his family started. Look at Bill Gates. He is 65 and could you imagine someone asking him to retire just because of his age?

I met a guy one time named Bob and he was in his mid-70’s. He still referred to himself by his nickname of “Big Deal Bob.” Well you can already imagine what I was thinking. Bob should have retired many years before but still believed himself to be in the game and influential. The truth was Bob was neither. It hurt my heart a little seeing him still trying to be what he used to be instead of what he was now.

I believe it is far better to hang up your cleats when you still have some influence left, instead of waiting until it is gone. Again, while I am not there, I just believe people respect the person who chooses the right season of life to roll down the door and look for the next thing in life.

A very smart lady (my oldest daughter) told me one time that the key to making that shift in life is to already be involved in the next phase. Basically, don’t wait until you end one thing to start the next. Pretty smart advice. KT