You’re Fulfilling the Stereotype
Last week I was at the NAR Convention in Orlando. I had the great opportunity to meet many fantastic people – the best that the industry has to offer. However, I also had the opportunity to see the worst that we have to offer.
While in line to pay for some materials, I noted a middle age female, with imitation blond hair, layers of war paint and clothing that stank of “I am trying to be too good for you, but can’t really afford the good stuff.” She was wearing a scow and flippantly unfolding apparel and tossing it where it didn’t originate. As the clerk came around, she made some very rude comments about the inability to see a certain item that she had seen that morning. She then began to berate the clerk and demand that he find the shirt she desired. He apologized, kept his composure better than I would have, and offered to ship the item at no shipping cost to her, within a few days. He had, in fact, sold all of that particular item. She declined and continued to admonish him. It was at that time that I noticed it – the “Top Producing Agent” tag line on her name badge. In lieu of space for designations, she had to purposefully type in this title.
We’ve Created the Monster
I was appalled at the behavior of this individual – but not at all surprised. See, this industry has taken otherwise benign individuals and convinced us that we are of greater importance than we really are. Brokers have indulged prima donnas and accepted higher levels of liability than necessary to keep these “Top Producers” happy. We’re given lavish awards, plagues, parties, gifts and ranking to people who did nothing more than their job. With the majority of people in this business making less than poverty level, let me just say ‘Congrats, to all you who paid the bills last year.’ Whenever I see the “Top Producer” tag line, it really does put me on guard.
The Curse of Privilege
In an attempt to cater to agents and make us feel like superstars, we find the nicest retreat locations, put out the red carpet for Association events and are encouraged to wear huge gaudy “SOLD” pins on their jackets – all to make us feel important. The unintended consequence is that this treatment has pushed moderate or low producers into emulators and they go in debt just to convey the “image”; all the while the “Top Producers” use this treatment as a platform to belittle and disgrace other people. Agents need to take a step back and realize what they really are; are service providers in SUV’s and dressed like an executive; but servants non-the-less.
A Service Provider
Yes, we have tons of training, expenses, politics and other obstacles; however the reality is that making a living makes us no better than anyone else. They say that you can tell a lot about people based on how they treat their waiter or waitress. But, really – aren’t we all just wait staff in the housing restaurant? It’s a job, just like any other. We’ve made it a life-status and the funny thing is that consumers think agents are pond scum and agents believe themselves to be deity. We serve, if we do it well; we get the chance to serve again.
My broker license didn’t come with ordination papers and I wasn’t promoted in the lot system. I would love to end this on a positive note, about treating others as you would like to be treated – but really I just want agents to be people-centric so that we can all be looked upon a bit better…