Let me repeat that title — I am not a Salesman.
“But Jay, you sell real estate”, you may be thinking.
No, not really. I can’t sell a home to anyone that doesn’t want one. I can help you buy a home. I can help you get your home sold. But I can’t, and won’t, sell you a home.
Some people have an innate ability to be true salesmen (or “salesperson” to be politically correct. Meh.) You may have heard the (politically insensitive) joke, “That guy could sell ice to an Eskimo”.
Well not this guy.
In fact, I’m not really fond, at all, of salespeople. I don’t like being “sold” on anything.
And the simple fact is, my brain just isn’t wired to be a salesman.
Sure, stupid government entities and all the bureaucracy associated with them has pretty much forced real estate agents to be called “salespeople”. It’s printed right there on our licenses — Real Estate Salesperson (at least in Arizona).
One of my favorite things about getting my real estate broker’s license is it doesn’t say “salesperson” anymore. It’s semantics, but I like it that way.
Ardell DellaLoggia at Rain City Guide wrote a post today that I think it one of the better blog posts I’ve seen. Ever. In Paradigm Shift: Changing the Human Experience, Ardell opines about something that I think is sorely missing in real estate.
Chiefly, “Who is the customer?”
It seems like an easy answer. It’s the home buyer or the home seller — depending on which side of the transaction we’re on (and we abhor single-agent dual agency ((Dual agency is where the same agent represents both the buyer and seller in the same transaction)). But that is a post for another day).
And that’s exactly my answer.
But it gets complicated. Complicated by agency law, and complicated by archaic brokerage models. As Ardell points out, “In most realities, the customer of the Brokerage is the Agent.”
If you could walk into most real estate brokerages today and look behind the scenes, you’d see white-boards showing listings and sales under contract. You’d see a wall full of “million dollar producer” awards, and “diamond awards” and other such nonsense. You’d see rah-rah sales meetings with brokers pontificating about ways to get more “leads” (a word I personally despise) and methods to sell sell sell.
It makes me want to puke.
When I started Thompson’s Realty, I was told by several well-intentioned brokers that our model wouldn’t work. One loudly proclaimed that we weren’t charging our agents enough for their Errors & Omissions insurance. “You can make a killing on E&O!” I was told.
Last I checked, I’m not in the E&O business.
“How can you charge desk fees if you don’t have a physical office?” one asked.
Last I checked, I’m not in the furniture rental business.
Something needs to change. Ardell proposes some great ideas. Ideas we are implementing as are some other progressive brokerages I know of. But it’s not enough. Until more wake up and realize that without the paradigm shift Ardell proposes, nothing in the grand scheme of things will change.
I loved Ardell’s article. Anyone remotely interested in real estate should read it — be you an agent, a broker, a home buyer or home seller.
I am not a salesman. To quote Ardell yet again, “we do not sell anything for a living. Rather, we represent people for a living.”