July 19, 2010
I'm Not Sensing Any Urgency Here
Let’s start this blog out with some ‘what if’ scenarios:
What if you ordered breakfast at a restaurant and didn’t get your food until lunchtime?
What if the auto dealership needed your car for a week in order to change the oil?
What if you called 911 and were told the ambulance could be there first thing the following morning?
These are all ridiculous concepts, right? Then please tell me why seemingly nobody in the business world feels an obligation to return a phone call with the same sense of urgency as these real-life situations demand. As our company has significant dealings with banks, mortgage companies, and asset managers, this rant is directed (generically, of course) at them.
More than anything else since the real estate crash started some four years ago, the laissez-faire attitude of “I’ll get to it when I get to it” has pervaded our industry. Nothing is as maddening or ironically humorous as leaving a handful of messages for a variety of people, only to wait, and wait, and wait some more for someone to call back. In fact, my business partner (who lives on the other side of the country) laughs that the only person he can count on to consistently return his calls is me. That’s pretty pathetic.
So what has materially changed? When people involved in real estate were making money hand over fist, everyone had a sense of urgency. Deadlines meant something. We worked late whenever the need arose. Communication was nonstop. These days, people are shocked when I answer the phone at 7:00 am or return their call at 7:00 pm. Why is that so strange? Considering deals are harder to get done and due diligence is more important than ever, shouldn’t we all be working even harder?
Deals that should close in days take weeks and months. A single document needs signed and we learn 20 different people need to review it and approve it. More energy goes into finding reasons NOT to buy deals than figuring out ways to get ‘er done.
I really don’t know the solution to the problem. I suspect a certain percentage of this guilty population are employees who think the best way to keep their jobs is to stretch the timelines of everything they’re responsible for. Some companies are merely going through the motions, hoping to remain relevant until the markets recover (if THAT ever happens). Others are run by people who are more concerned about making their next tee time than their next buck.
Where do you stand? Are you working harder than ever, or are you comfortable knowing your next paycheck is just two weeks around the corner, so who cares how long it takes to fund this deal or sign that contract? To those considering doing business with Proficient Note Buyers, know this: WE CARE.
To those with whom we do business, we ask you do only what any Business 101 professor would tell you: Answer your phones. Return your calls. Act like you give a damn. Someday you might be on the initiating end of that 911 call: What will your sense of urgency look like then???
Make it a great week.
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broker, or anyone other than the actual note holder, please do not contact