Sometimes business becomes personal. And sometimes it goes wrong. But sometimes, that gives me an opportunity to decide if I am really the person I want to be.
That happened today.
Former clients, people I worked with for a long time and really liked, just disappeared one day. This wasn’t just business. We’d become friends. They swore there was no way they’d ever want to work with anyone else. Then they did. They didn’t say goodbye. They didn’t explain. They vanished.
I hadn’t seen it coming. I’ll be honest — it hurt. I felt like I got dumped at the dance.
Fast forward a couple of years and suddenly I got an email from them. They were having trouble with a real estate transaction and they wondered if I could help them understand what they should do.
I paused. I wondered if the better thing to do was to simply not respond. We no longer had any relationship and any communication with them had to be very clear, as they have another agent and I do not want to, indeed cannot, by the code of ethics, interfere.
But I decided ignoring them was not the right answer. I’d liked them, I’d done my best for them, and I knew I’d feel better about myself if I continued to do that.
I dropped them an email, asked for a clearer explanation, then made a phone call to someone involved in their transaction to get the full story. Once done, I let them know it made sense to me, that if they needed further explanation, they could call me.
“Do your clients and co-workers know how lucky they are to have you?” they wrote.
No. Of course they don’t. Just like these clients didn’t realize how hard I’d worked on their behalf until they moved on. Just like I sometimes take it for granted when I know I can count on someone.
Trust is hard to win. And it hurts when it’s lost. But I did my best, before and afterwards.
I treated them the way I’d hope to be treated. That’s all I can do. But that’s a lot.