Twenty Seconds of Insane Courage
A couple of years ago, I had a client.
His son was looking to rent an apartment on the Upper West Side and him, the father, was going to guarantee the son’s lease, so he was very involved with the whole process. He was my actual client. And I did a great job, finding them what they wanted at a great price and taking excellent care of them along the way, even predicting some potential downfalls and advising them expertly how to dodge them.
The day before the lease signing, I sent them an email with the details, what time they needed to be at the office, what documents and checks to bring with them. He called me immediately.
- I noticed the check for your fee is really high, he said.
- It’s exactly what we discussed, I said.
- I know, he said, but can we do anything about it?
And I thought of negotiating with him. I really did. I was going to discount myself. But instead, I said, can I call you back in a minute? Sure, he said.
So I hung up and called my mentor at the time, Eugene Litvak. And we had a chat. And he coached me. And so I called my client back and I said:
- Hey, I was just wondering, was there something I did that you were unhappy with?
- No, why? He sounded shocked. You were GREAT, he said.
- I’m confused, I said. If you thought I was great, why are you trying to rob me?
- Well, my income comes solely from my commissions. You trying to negotiate it with me last minute makes me feel like you’re putting your hand in my pocket and trying to rob me. And I was wondering if I did something to warrant this? Because if I did, I’d love to hear what it was, so that I can avoid doing it in the future.
It wasn’t easy to say this. My heart was in my throat. I thought I was being too much. I thought that I would offend him, that he would hang up on me or yell at me or laugh at me. I was sweating profusely as I was saying it, holding the phone to my ear. But I did it. Twenty seconds of insane courage.
But he actually apologized. And not just did he pay the full amount of what we originally agreed upon, but he became a return client that I did another 4 deals with over the years. I helped him buy an investment property that we successfully rented out several times and we both made tons of money together.
Bite the bullet. Don’t sell yourself short. Say what you’re afraid of saying. The world will open up to you in magical ways.