A month ago, a client and friend of ours lost both her parents in a sudden accident. It’s been a devastating few weeks for her and her family trying to put all the pieces back together.

All her friends and family have been very generous and supportive. Amongst all the cards and gifts delivered to the home was a sympathy card from a stranger. This stranger had gone out of his way to find her address and send a card to express his sympathy. A very nice gesture…except for the business card stapled to the edge of the card.

This financial planner had never done business with her, any member of her family or her parents. Reading about the accident in the headlines of the newspaper, he saw an opportunity to prospect for a new client and make a few bucks.

If he truly wanted to express his sympathy, a name at the bottom of the card would have been just fine. His poor choice in marketing efforts has now back fired. Our friend has chosen to broadcast his name and the details of his actions across her facebook account, naming him and the company he represents.

Instead of gaining a client, she’s now made sure he’ll never see any business from her family or any of her 400 plus friends.

In situations like this, there’s a fine line between your actions being perceived as an expression of sympathy and a sales pitch. Is it any different when the event is positive, like the birth of a new baby or a client accepting a new job?

Often in real estate, clients call us when major life changes come their way. Are you chasing ambulances to be there when they happen or just building relationships so you’re top of mind when those times come?

How do you express your sympathy or share a congratulations without it coming across the wrong way?

How do you make sure it’s about them, not you?

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