Lessons from Grandpa

Remember the days when you knew every single person in town by name? The days when you knew their family and what they did for a living? You knew what they stood for and how they raised their children?

Grandpa Gary
I grew up in a very small, country town outside Stowe, Vt., called Underhill, where this type of living was the norm among the population of only 650 or so. As my Grandpa Gary Smith says, it was just “good old fashion living.” Often it seems those days are long gone, but are they really? I would present the thought that perhaps it’s not the times changing, but it’s simply how we have changed the way we handle our relationships – both personally and professionally.

Case in point: I was sitting around the house this past weekend, minding my own business, watching some football, when all of a sudden there it was – a water leak and wet spot on the living room ceiling. 

Great. Fantastic. Terrific. 

Upon further inspection, I found out the washer upstairs had sprung a very slow leak and had been dripping water into the washroom on the second floor. After inspecting the leak, I did what any normal fearless leader of the household would do: I went and searched Google. 

Then something interesting immediately happened as I sat at the computer with my dumb Google idea. I thought to myself, “What would Grandpa Gary do?”  I know exactly what he would do. If he was unable to fix it himself, he would probably call someone down the road or someone the family knew and could trust. 

Being a mortgage banker for 12 years, plumbing is not my chosen profession or trade, so I did the next best thing; I started looking for a referral from some people I trust.  Several of my Realtor partners gave me names of people they know, like and trust to help in situations like these – a referral! 

Well fast forward a week, and we have had a completely stellar experience with our plumber who could not have been better.  The leak is fixed, the initial price quoted was exact (no haggling or additional expenditures) and the best part is it was completed on time as promised. It is clear why this Realtor refers out this exact plumber – his professionalism and integrity made her look like a complete superstar.

A recent study I read from the Learning Institute stated that more than 88 percent of people buy professional services based on who they “know, like and most of all, trust.” If that percentage is so high, why don’t websites have a virtual trust ranking or integrity meter?  A good idea may be a webcam where you can look the person dead in the eyes you are buying from.  But that’s probably not going to happen.

So why do we trust some of life’s biggest choices in our lives like buying a home or getting a mortgage to the World Wide Web? Could I have searched Google and been quoted a cheaper price by someone? Probably. Could I have searched Google and found someone that stated they could do it faster? Maybe. On the other hand, I could have just been told what I wanted to hear, ended up with a mess or major delay, and in turn, costing us way more than what I was actually “searching” for. 

Honesty, commitment and integrity may be old fashion, but one thing is for sure, it will never go out of fashion. 

About the Author
Shawn Kaplan is an active, 50 state Licensed loan officer with Access National Mortgage. Email Shawn at skaplan@accessnational.com or call 615-426-3182.

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