On Nice People.

J Philip Faranda November 2, 2011

Nice dogI like nice people. You probably like nice people too. Nice people are…nice. Given the choice, I prefer to do business with nice folks. Especially here in rushed, rude, New York and occasionally aristocratic Westchester County, nice people are such a breath of fresh air. Of course, in business, being nice isn’t enough. People want to get from point A to point B, and if all they get is nice with no result, they get frustrated. 

For example: You might have had the experience of dining in a well-known bistro and been greeted by a cheerful, perky, awesomely-flared server who was wicked nice. They were really super neato charming. They ask all about you and you learn all about them, and, sometimes, you might feel a slight urge to stuff the center table ornament in their mouth and tell them to go get your food. 

That doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you “hungry.”

In my bartending days back in the Mesozoic era, people would come in and enjoy my company greatly. However, they only enjoyed my wit and charm after I made them “not thirsty.” Then we’d be nice together until Ted Koppel came on the TV. Of course, throughout the process, I made sure their glasses were full.

Here’s the real estate lesson. Recently, one of my clients was fortunate enough to get an offer on his property on a Friday. We had quite a few showings scheduled for the weekend, and the buyer graciously agreed to wait until Monday for us to evaluate any other interest that might arise until Monday. We received another offer on Monday. The second offer was informed of a competing offer on the table, yet their offer was significantly lower than the first. Even though they knew they had competition, they still made an uncompetitive bid. 

When my client and I discussed the merits of the two offers and it was clear that the second offer would not get the nod, he expressed sorrow for the losing bidders. “They were such nice people,” he said.

I told him they could have been $35,000 nicer. In business, nice may get your foot in the door. But if you don’t deliver, nice is not enough. 

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