Keeping a Relationship with Someone Who Already Screwed You

And, I Thought Screws Were Just Hardware!

In a recent conversation I had with a fellow commercial real estate professional, he asked me what I thought he should do about a recent business encounter.  Someone, who had an obligation to pay him a commission, utilized a technicality to pay him a lot less, in fact a fraction of what he owed. Then, to add insult to injury, that person elected to make minimal payments over an extended time period, without interest, despite having no contractual right to do so. After understanding more details of the circumstance, it appeared that the real estate professional’s interpretation was balanced and realistic. It was plain to me that he had been screwed by this person, and that, while the real estate professional may not have perceived the payor as a bad guy, the payor obviously was not interested in doing right by the real estate professional.  In my book, someone who avoids doing the right thing when the opportunity to do right exists IS a bad guy!

I didn’t find this question, nor the answer, to be overly complicated. My response was simple and obvious: I advised the real estate professional to pursue whatever business and / or legal remedies that were available to him, collect his money, and never ever do business with that person again…PERIOD!

To me, and to most people, there would be no other answer.  When someone has demonstrated that, while they didn’t necessarily do anything bad, if they have an opportunity to do the right thing, but don’t, for whatever they claim are their justifiable reasons or extenuating circumstances, in my book they move into the Bad Guy column.

Guess how this real estate professional responded to my recommendation? He said that he was really only seeking to understand how he might collect his compensation quicker. He went on to tell me about the importance of keeping relationships, and how he thought it was important to maintain his relationship with the person about whom he asked…the person who used a written document as justification not to honor his word, his commitment, nor his obligation to pay this real estate professional fairly based on the agreement between them, irrespective of the many months of hard work this professional expended, at risk, and despite the substantial value this person derived from those efforts.

I had to place my right hand under my chin and thrust upward to close my mouth, as my jaw dropped to my chest when I heard this.

I only had one question for the real estate professional: “Why?

Why would he want to maintain a relationship with someone who obviously does not care for him, apparently sees no value in their relationship, truly put his money where his mouth was in this case, and already damaged the real estate professional?

The real estate professional’s response was: “Because I might get other business from him.”

That sound you just heard was my jaw falling off!

 

About Real Estate Strategies Corporation
Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.  Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America.  By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit www.RealStrat.com. Read about timely commercial real estate issues at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com.   Follow RealStrat at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

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6 Responses to “Keeping a Relationship with Someone Who Already Screwed You”


  1. 1 Greg Fegley December 15, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Andy,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. The concept of doing the right thing when there is an opportunity to do so is paramount to building and maintaining your personal and professional integrity. Once tarnished it takes forever to re-establish it. It is who you are and how you will be known to others. Be a good guy, ALWAYS. People will notice your actions and hear positive things about you from others so that you never have to deal with the bad guys again. (with luck)

  2. 3 Eric in Tampa January 4, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    We’ve all been there, unfortunately. And its not just the guy that stiffs you completely. Its also the guy that gains leverage and then tries to negotiate down your deal.

  3. 5 Cathi Johnson January 24, 2011 at 9:25 am

    I fully agree with you. I have set standards for myself and two of the most important are that I will not take abuse from a buyer or seller regardless of the future income potential and I will not do business with anyone who does not live by their word or written agreement.


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THIS WORK IS DESIGNED TO PROVIDE PRACTICAL AND USEFUL INFORMATION ON THE SUBJECT MATTER COVERED AND REPRESENTS THE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR. HOWEVER, IT IS PROVIDED WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE AUTHOR IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING LEGAL, FINANCIAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE TO THE READER. IF LEGAL, FINANCIAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OF A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL SHOULD BE SOUGHT. THE AUTHOR SPECIFICALLY AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY LIABILITY THAT MAY BE INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OR APPLICATION OF THE INFORMATION THAT IS CONTAINED IN THIS WORK.

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