I suppose one of the real advantages to Internet Marketing is that the person providing the product or service never really loses too much control over the process. People either buy the product or they don’t. People either ask for a refund or they don’t. I’m guessing some complain and send nasty-grams to the product or service provider but the storm blows over quickly and you move on to the next one.
In real life – that is, outside of cyber space – I have found keeping control of the process to be somewhat more challenging.
The Day Job Experience
My “day job” is real estate. Yeah. I’m one of those guys that everyone hates, doesn’t trust and thinks that I make way too much money. But they use my services anyway. It’s because of this love-hate relationship that most home buyers and sellers feel like they really have to drive the bus.
On one level, I understand. After all, it’s their house (either buying or selling) and it’s their money. I get that part of it. I also like to be able to bring people full on board with decision making. Yet, at some fundamental level, I have to believe that people are using my services because of my experience and expertise (perceived or real) much like they would consult with a physician, accountant or auto mechanic about things that are outside their own area of expertise.
Yet, I can’t count how many times that relationships have started out with “Hey, what do you think we should do? You’re the expert.” and ended up being “Hey! You’re not working in our best interests. You’re just trying to railroad this so you can pick up your big, fat commission.” What happened in between those two extremes?
The only thing I can figure out is that this whole process is very emotional for the buyer or seller and they tend to get a little irrational. Of course, I can’t point that out. Who wants to be called irrational? Who wants to be called emotional? Everyone likes to believe they are analyzing the situation calmly and logically - using the “I want mine and to hell with them” formula of cognitive reasoning.
For me, though, it’s frustrating and maddening. No matter how much I try to explain that the whole process is not really supposed to be adversarial like some courtroom drama on TV, no one believes it. We real estate professionals don’t help. We always talk about going to the mat for our clients and really pushing the envelope to make sure the “other side” doesn’t get what they want. It can be price, repair items from the home inspection, anything.
That’s when I get a little nuts myself. I hate it when my part in the process goes from trusted consultant to lackey. I get a little worked up when I try to suggest that low balling a price won’t necessarily achieve the objective of buying a home or that nit picking every minor defect in the home might just piss the seller off enough to tell the buyer to take a walk.
Ditto on the seller side. Fantasy pricing that no one would pay for a house that hasn’t been updated since the Nixon Presidency doesn’t get a house sold. Refusing to fix an electrical problem or plumbing issue only makes the buyer think twice about moving to the next step.
Maybe A Little Meditation?
Of course, it’s really all about me. I should understand that it’s a highly stressful time for the people – the non-professionals- involved in the process and that I need more patience, more empathy, more Xanax. I guess physicians get a little pissed off when people go for second opinions and auto mechanics shake their heads when the car owner says “no” to a recommended repair. Sometimes you have to wonder why people go to the people who have the training, experience and expertise to be able to provide good advice only to say, “Thanks. I’ll do it my way.”
Do you ever have challenges with losing control of the business process? Do you have any good solutions for maintaining equilibrium?