April 10, 2011

How Does Jack's 6th Compare to Your Client's First?

I remember it well.

I was sitting in the lounge on the first floor of Rawlings Hall, an un-air conditioned dormitory at the University of Florida. It was mid-afternoon on a Sunday and the weekend was coming to a close. I know I had to get over to my fraternity house for our Chapter meeting that evening but I didn't want to leave. Something magical was happening.

I remember it well.

We had been back in Columbus for about a year and our lease was going to be done or needing a renewal if we wanted to stay in our small two-bedroom apartment in North Columbus. I met with my parents and told them that we wanted to buy a house but we weren't sure what to do. Without hesitation, they suggested we call "their Realtor," who sold them the house I grew up in and my mother still owns to this day. That was 25 years prior to that day.

Experience + Excitement

Jack Nicklaus started that final round of The Masters in 1986 with not much chance of winning. He was 46 years old and the leader board was a virtual "who's who" of the game's biggest stars - Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros, Tom Kite, Nice Price and Tom Watson, just to name a few. The "Golden Bear" was being called the "Olden Bear" and was really looked at as nothing more than a nice side story early in the round. But what if...?

There was maybe three or four of my fellow dorm residents watching the action when Nicklaus birdied #9, #10 and #11 to really get everyone watching thinking "what if?" A few more people started filing in to see what all the screams and cheering was about. They didn't leave. Nicklaus made a momentum stalling bogey on Augusta National's signature #12 and more than a few people in the room thought, "Well, that was fun when it lasted," assuming Nicklaus was done with any hope of a comeback win for the ages and a record 6th green jacket.

Captain Bob and Bonnie

My parent's Realtor was "Captain Bob" Kidwell, so we gave him a call to say we wanted to buy a house. Kidwell was then the manager at King Thompson (now Coldwell Banker King Thompson) so he referred us to Bonnie Nyikes. Bonnie was a joy to work with and we began searching for our first house.

Like most first timers, we didn't really know what we wanted except for a place we could call home. Bonnie was helpful and encouraging and kept her poise throughout our search. She relied on her experience and expertise to handle the ups and downs of a home search as well as helped handle the emotions that you often see when the pressure of negotiation sets in.

Our first contract fell through due to a home inspection and frustration and fear set in. I remember thinking, "Well, that was fun when it lasted" and beginning to think we'd have to rent for another year.

The Bear Roars Again

Nicklaus relied on his previous trips through "Amen Corner" and knew that there were plenty of opportunities for success ahead of him and just as many challenges in his wake for his competitors to overcome. With Jack Nicklaus, Jr. on his bag as caddy, he added a birdie on #13, an unbelievable eagle on #15, a near hole-in-one turned tap-in birdie on #16 and a lead claiming birdie on #17. CBS Sports Verne Ludquist's famous call of that birdie has to be in most sports fan's Top Ten of most dramatic moments in sports. (Click here if you don't see the video below)

As Jack and Jack, Jr. approached the green on #18, they each had tears in their eyes and the rest of the world was beginning to believe that this storybook ending may actually occur. The lounge in Rawlings Hall, similar to every other dorm, sports bars, airports lounge and country club stag room across the globe was standing room only. People who had never played golf in their lives were passionately pulling for 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus to win the Masters.

From Bitter...to Bitterroot

Just like Nicklaus's bogey on #12, we had lost some momentum after that first deal fell apart due to a bad home inspection report. We started to question whether we were ready for home ownership. That is until we looked in the neighborhood of Sunbury Woods in Northeast Columbus and found a home for sale on Bitterroot Drive.

We liked it, we wrote on it and our offer was accepted as written. The home inspection went smoothly, our financing was clean and we were ready to close the deal and become homeowners.

Green Jackets and Green Buyers

Seve Ballesteros hit it in the water on #15 and fell off the lead. Tom Kite missed a short putt on #18 to finish a stroke back of Nicklaus. As Greg Norman's approach shot sailed into the crowd on the right side of the green and he failed to get up and down for a par, Jack Nicklaus was the Masters champion...again. I think they could have heard the cheers from Rawlings Hall and living rooms across America in Augusta when Jack won that day.

How Big of a Part will You Play in Your Client's Memory?

I got an email from my good buddy Tom earlier this week asking if I remember what we were doing 25 years ago. I replied back immediately saying "I sure do, and I'll never forget it."

I also remember the adventure and thrill of buying my first home. While it wasn't 25 years ago (actually 15 ago now), I certainly remember it well.

As Realtors, we get a front row seat to the action of our Buyers and Sellers. We sometimes get more than that. We get to be part of the action; an integral part of the transaction. What are you doing with each client to ensure that you and your services are memorable one year later? Ten years later? Twenty five years later? Will your clients be able to remember the transaction as if it was yesterday as they recount stories to their friends, children or grandchildren?

If they do, you'll know you have "mastered" your role.

Until next time, keep building relationships, solving problems and having fun