Most of my worst professional mistakes have been the result of one of two bad habits: haste, or wanting to please the client. By pleasing the client I don’t mean simply doing good work in a timely manner with a pleasant disposition, I mean the ugly side of this coin, people pleasing.

My business can be tricky. As a businessman, client happiness is everything. But…when I wear my appraiser hat (which is not – and should not be – all the time), I must be completely objective. The outcome my client wants must be secondary to the truth. Quite the balancing act.

True professionals must always be willing to take the heat, to tell the truth, and sometimes to disappoint. But the disappointment should be because the client fails to see or is in denial about a truth that must to be told, not because the professional failed to do the work or failed to pursue the truth fully themselves.

I have found that the extra telephone call, knocking on the door, or stopping by to take another look often opens up that “stuck” door to the truth. Things are unsettled or incomplete when I fail to take this crucial step.

Another big problem is not properly diagnosing the problem to be solved. A friend of mine, who also happens to be in the real estate business, told me an experience he had with a gentleman that I consider to be a really fine appraiser:

“Our church merged with another church in an adjacent town. The other facility was the bigger and better one, but the upkeep was too much for the shrinking congregation. So suddenly we had two churches, but with positives and negatives, and we had to make a decision. Which facility will we use, and what should we do with the other one? And you know what? He gave us an appraisal. It was a really good appraisal, but it wasn’t what we needed. We needed him to consult with us, to help guide us to the most financially feasible solution.”

There is tremendous value added when a professional takes the time to listen, to deeply and fully understand the needs of the client. This is also a time of relationship building.

Which is never a mistake.

– Bob Gagliano

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