Today I was reminded of a time when I was involved with a legal dispute over a business purchase I’d made. I felt very strongly about getting the best representation possible in order to give us the best chance of success. We chose a top lawyer, one who had represented one of our local AFL teams – I thought if he is good enough for them, he is good enough for me.
The first meeting with him went for several hours. It ended up going over lunch and he arranged for sandwiches to be brought in while we worked through all the issues. We had his total focus and he made us feel as though there was no time limit and that he wanted to get the whole picture in order for him to be able to help us. He assured us that we had every chance in winning the case and we left feeling very confident we had hired the right person.
The case dragged on for months and we dealt with other members of his team while the cat and mouse game went out. Other than a call or two, the only time we dealt with the man himself was just before the case when to court and both parties agreed to try settle out of court. This was when he swooped back in with the most amazing presence and insight into our case, negotiating a fair and reasonable settlement for us.
The whole process probably cost us nearly $25K, but we only had about five hours air time with our lawyer. Was I happy with him? YES! Was it worth the money? ABSOLUTELY! He was there when he needed to be and delivered strongly. Did we mind him handballing our case to other members of the team at times? NO! We did not hire him to do the back and forward activities or administration, we hired him to do the front line work and get the job done. He gave us realistic expectations from the start, making it clear early on who would be doing what and that he would be there when it counted in order to get the job done.
The moral of this story is you don’t have to do all the intricacies of the transaction, BUT you do need to educate your clients as to what you are doing, make them feel valued and confident that you are in control, will be there when it matters and will deliver the results. You also need to train your support people EXACTLY how you want your clients dealt with and have systems for them to follow in order to give them the service and attention they need.
Just like my lawyer, you can definitely deliver value to your clients even though you are only giving them a small amount of airtime. As agents we get paid for the final result and we get paid for our presence and control when it matters. Ultimately we get paid for our ability to get the job done – with the right team and systems in place it is OK to handball a few things along the way.