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Point & Purpose

Have You Popped The Question?

I was reminded of something this week that hit me a little square in the forehead. Not saying I didn’t need the reminder, it could have just been a little less frontal lobe-ish.


We’ve been working on getting one of our listings to closing, and had some repairs that needed to be made to the flashing on the roof. A week or more of calling our roofer, and no action. “I’ll get to it on Tuesday”, he said, then “Sure thing, that estimate’s on it’s way over”, he promised. This is a guy who’s done dozens of roofs for us in the past, but this time he just failed to get it done.

I called a previous client who had had his roof recovered a few years ago, and who had hired a guy who – at the time – was a college student, doing contracting and roof repair to put himself through school. Obviously a go-getter, willing to work hard, so I called him last week.

“Sure I can do an estimate for you, I’m in graduate school and not taking classes, I’ll get over there tomorrow afternoon.”, he told me. Turns out, he did the estimate in the morning, and the report was back to me in the afternoon. And he went the extra mile, giving us an estimate of repairs as well as a suggestion of something the buyers might want to pay attention to in the coming years, and how they could fix it when the time came. We scheduled a time to have him do the flashing repair, he got it done, and the invoice was off to the attorney’s office within 24 hours of completion. Going the extra mile, but he still hadn’t asked THE question.

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What’s THE Question??

When I called him to thank him for the work he had done, he was very helpful with his suggestions for the new buyer, and then he did it – he popped the question. “Thank you for the business, is there anything else I can help you with? Please keep us in mind for other repairs you might need.” Ah, the question … how can I help you again? I was a little taken aback … so many times I’ve just seen vendors come in, do the job and then leave, but this guy took it further. He thanked ME when he ws the one that had done the work, and then he asked for more.

Here’s why I think it’s an important reminder. We spend a lot of time meeting with clients, showing homes, blogging, writing, learning … sometimes I think we just forget to ask for the business. At least, I know I can do that. Maybe that’s what took me aback. So few people – including myself – simply ASK the question.

Are you asking THE question?

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Written By

Writer for national real estate opinion column, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.



  1. Paula Henry

    June 27, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Admittedly, not often enough! It is the transactions we really have to work hard on which would probably be the best to ask for business. These are the clients who have seen us go out of our way to make it happen, then, I am so thankful it closes, I drop the ball when it comes to asking for referrals. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Chris Shouse

    July 2, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    You are right I drop the ball as Paula said so often. The business right now is to say the least a challenge and things do not go as smoothly as they use to. Like Paula I am just so glad to be at the title company and getting over the last hump I forget to POP that question.

  3. Jeremy Hart

    July 2, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Chris, the closing table is a GREAT time to ask!

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