The Four Things a Surgeon Taught Me About Real Estate

3/29/2016 : [5 Min Read]

Hip replacement Image 3684-PH.jpg
By X-ray Image ID: 3684. Photographer: Unknown. - from NIH Here. Credit: NIADDK, 9AO4 (Connie Raab-contact); NIH., Public Domain,

     What one of the hundreds of hips that I helped replace looked like...after the gross part.

     One of my first jobs after graduating from Clemson was working with surgeons in the operating room. I was a medical device rep in Atlanta in charge of delivering the instrumentation and implants for over 400 total knee and hip replacements, plus having the correct knowledge of how the system worked during the operation itself. Mistakes were not tolerated or allowed because it could lead to infection, improper measurements, revision surgery, or worse. Not many people realize I had to be as educated as the surgeon on the procedure itself (aside from pathology: that was a bonus). Even fewer people realize I was in the operation room during the procedure giving pointers on how the parts interacted. 

     One particular surgery I assisted with taught me something about customer service and the importance of doing things right. The surgeon had a reputation of being excellent and very, very tough. He had one too many slip-ups (perhaps a late rep?) from a previous device company and took their millions of dollars of business and gave it to us. Before the patient was prepped, he glared at me intensely as we shook hands (we both had on masks). He said, "Do you know the 4 rules of working in my OR?"

I replied, "Not yet, sir." I expected a cocksure, snarky response that would be simultaneously degrading and offensive. He replied, 

"One - Show up early. Two - know your stuff. Three - have everything ready. Four - get along with my team. Can you handle that?"

     Relieved,  I replied "Yes sir" with confidence, glad to know he had invited me to perform at my best. That day turned out to be easy, and the surgery went off without a hitch. I was able to advise him quickly on the measurements of the acetabular reamers, give him the options of which inserts were compatible with the replacement interface, and guide his staff as to which device was necessary for him to use next. It was a great experience for everyone involved.  

     This same experience is what doctors, executives, business owners, and other busy professionals expect when buying a home. Many of my clients don't have the time or knowledge to haphazardly find "For Sale" signs in Simpsonville. Your time is precious and you need an agent to do the work for you. One that shows up early, knows their stuff, has everything prepared, and gets along with you and your family. 

     However, sometimes doing that isn't enough. Sometimes there is more to working with a client who has a demanding life. 

     An example of this was from before I specialized in new homes. I represented buyers for both new construction homes and resales.  My client was searching for homes in North Main and Augusta Road. My client told me not to worry about setting up a showing, and I knew they would want to see the inside, so I set one up anyway. 

     When I got the call saying "I want to take a look! Is it too late to set up a showing?" (It would have been) I was able to say "I'm on my way, I already set it up!" We put in an offer that night and won against 3 multiple offers. If we had waited even a few hours, we would have lost the house. 

     I did my homework early with a 45 minute buyer consult, knew what my client wanted, showed up early, and got along with my client and the listing agent on the other side of the table to put together a deal. I made the habit long ago in an operating room to think ahead and know what happens next so I can capitalize on opportunity and reduce risk of bad things happening for my clients. 

     There are over 2,000 real estate agents in the Upstate. Is yours a part-timer or someone who has been entrusted with important business and medical decisions? What challenges has your agent put themselves through to grow? 


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