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You Can’t Handle the Truth….From a Certain Point of View

ObiWan


Knowledge is Power

Swanepoel’s Treands Reports and NAR’s (yes NAR’s) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is just full of useful information for practitioners. Both reports should be required reading for all agents. Recently Jonathan Dalton wrote a post called Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics. In the post he discusses how individuals have perhaps, slanted statistics to serve their own perception. The fact that the information is being used to fit an individuals theory is not nefarious in and of itself. Information is critically important. Here’s my theory of some numbers. The NAR Profile says that at the end of the transaction, those consumers who were interviewed; stated that in the process of buying a home they found the real estate agent useful 70% of the time and the internet 78% of the time. Most people would summarize that this means the Realtor is becoming antiquated. It tells me that Agent’s need to be aggregating more information, that would otherwise on the internet. Agents should be the source of the source and spend a bit more time finding out what consumers were looking for and providing it.

Perception is Reality – Or Is It?

What makes my interpretations of the above statistic more relevant than someone else’s? I would say that it’s my personal perception. I will break down the information to make it usable and typically will integrate it where it is most resonates with me. Information is ubiquitous and easy to find. It’s our previous experiences and influences that makes this information reality. Therefore, since none of us have the same experiences or influences we create these bits of knowledge into a thought stream that is unique for us.

What’s Truth?

Ok, pulling from my inner-geek; do you remember that scene with Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan when they are discussing Luke’s heritage? Obi-Wan told him:

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“Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

This is very true in real estate. Recently on Twitter I was making fun of an agent for her support of Open Houses. I never had much luck with them and they didn’t, at all, fit into my marketing plan. However, NAR’s study showed that 48% of buyers visited Open Houses before buying. Wow, that means that almost half of all buyers encountered an agent in an Open House. That’s a fantastic opportunity and good tid-bit to know. So, let’s combine my on-line marketing ideas, with Heather Elias’ Open House support and think of the number of consumer contacts; with valid interests in being served, we could find!

You Can’t Handle the Truth

Ok, another movie reference… One of my favorite movie is “A Few Good Men”, wherein battle worn Jack Nicholas, is worked up into a uncontrollable “spontaneous utterance” of guilt. The most memorable line of the fantastic repartee is “You can’t handle the truth!” Well, most of us can’t handle truth that is said at us, but most of us can handle it, if it’s delivered to us in a modality, by which we can understand that you have a valid level of concern for the recipients understanding and success. So, if you are delivering your perception, as truth, in vernacular that seems condescending and degrading you’ll most likely hit resistance. Many practitioners tend to try and coach their Seller’s through the selling process by hammering them with statistics and updated CMA’s. However, if you haven’t gained the trust of the consumer and if they feel belittled, than your job has gotten twice as difficult. Now, you have to not only convince them that the information you are trying to deliver is relevant, you need to overcome the barriers and gain trust. Those issues will cause the perfect storm for the loss of a consumer that you’ve already put time and effort into.

Break it Down

The next time that you have the opportunity to share your knowledge and want it to make sense; remember that communication requires at least two people, the information needs to be relevant and it must be delivered in a way that the recipient can know it’s intent is to help them. Otherwise you’re wasting your time and damaging your business.

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Written By

Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is TheAgentTrainer.com.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Barry Cunningham

    May 1, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    I watched an interview with Supreme Court Justice Scalia on 60 minutes this past weekend.

    I loved a statement that he made in reference to his good friend and liberal Justice Ginsburg.

    He said, he “never attacks people, he attacks their viewpoints”. He also said that “sometimes good people have bad opinions.”

    In this regard I applaud you for reading the information I wrote about and come to a conclusion that all agents should most assuredly read both.

    It seems we respectfully disagree as to the future of the real estate business model..and that’s fine. It’s not a zero sum game and what works for you…well works for you.

    If only more agents would follow your lead. Salute!

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    May 1, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    I think one the big issues is that the future isn’t written. Of course the industry will change, but I think agents will adapt out of necessity. Sometimes we predict so much, that it become self fulfilling prophecy. This post was really more about generally using information in one’s business and not just about projections of the future.

    I am not, by nature an open-minded person. But, I am learning!

  3. Athol Kay

    May 2, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Dude… Obi-Wan was just trying to tap dance out of a lie. He plainly told Luke in SW:ANH that Darth Vader killed Anakin Skywalker, and completely omitted that he himself had maimed Lukes Father and left him to die on the banks of a river of molten lava, and by stowing away on Padme’s spaceship played a part in the situation where Luke’s mother is killed. Really Obi-Wan should have finished Vader off and leaving him alive was a colossal failure of duty. No motive to hide anything I guess.

    When Luke calls Obi-Wan on the lie, Obi-Wan basically says “oh well, that was just kind of a metaphor”.

    “True from a certain point of view” comes shockingly close to “embrace a wider view of the Force” as Palpatine suggested.

    But I digress… things that are perceived to be real, are real in their consequences is the phrase I remember from Sociology of the somethingerother I did way back when. So yes basically agree.

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