Sit in the front, park in the back
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a philosophy for how I treat my clients that I refer to as “park in the back”. Before I worked in Aggieville, I made a point to park in the back of my office parking lot. Leaving the spots near the front door open for clients was a tiny action that I took not just for their convenience; I did it because my (short) walk from the back of the parking lot was a daily reminder of how much I value the folks that trust me with their real estate business. Parking closest to the front door (without a physical or handicap need) sends a message that you are more important than everyone else who comes to your office. This may seem like a trivial or meaningless concept, but I could never shake the image that parking up front projected.
Fast forward to now; working in Aggieville is quite different where parking is always scarce. I still park in the back whenever possible—even though that rarely leaves front spots open for my clients. But I’ve modified my philosophy to reflect how we do business in Aggieville: “Sit in the front, park in the back”. When designing our office space at 1202 Moro Street, my partner Mike and I spent a lot of time thinking about how to best utilize 1200 ft² for a growing team of 10. Open work space was a must, and I quickly decided that I wouldn’t have my own dedicated, private office. Before The Alms Group, having a private office for me was a symbol of status, of production level, of approval. It separated me from some of my colleagues. It furthered the mindset that I was different or better than others. That status symbol died when The Alms Group opened.
Mike had a great idea when we started working on the office floor plan: “Why don’t you sit in the front, Cam?”. This took a little while to wrap my head around, but the idea that I would sit at the front desk which is typically where a receptionist or office manager would sit really did reflect how we have chosen to do business. When I’ve met with agents to discuss joining The Alms Group, some feedback I constantly hear about other offices is something like “I pay my broker a large portion of my commission and they are not very involved in my business and my clients never even meet them”. Sitting at the front desk has been one way to change that concern; every day I get to meet buyers and sellers that are working with one of our agents. It’s incredible to visit with them, hear feedback about how much they enjoy working with their agent, ask them if they’ve considered which local school they’d like profits from their transaction to go to and much more. I love being able to put a face with the names I see on contracts.
We’re as high-tech as any other real estate company is, but we’ve made sure that the personal touch and the face-to-face business relationship will not die on our watch. We LOVE seeing our clients, our friends and our neighbors in our office. Sitting at the front desk instead of being secluded in a private office in the back has given me an unbelievable perspective into the great clients and schools we get to serve.
Stop by 1202 Moro Street in the heart of Aggieville some time; I’d love to meet you. I’ll be sitting in the front and parked in the back.