The Theory Of Sales Relativity

When we upend things in physics these days, it’s not necessarily that the old things were wrong. It’s just that underlying it is a more complete theory. Quantum Web 2mechanics tells us that a ball is made up of atoms, but Newton’s laws still work just fine. You can predict the ball’s trajectory without knowing that the ball is made up of atoms.

Lisa Randall


Allen Butler wrote the following on a post:

The only problem I see here is simply this: many consumers simply don’t know, or don’t care to know. The whole thing about being “transparent” is great ad copy. However, while we are waiting around for the internet to change our lives, your average Joe is simply looking for one more way to have to actually do less research and less work. The conveniences of modern shopping have led to very lazy consumers. Maybe a Redfin customer would have the gumption to search out the facts & such. Most will not. Real estate consumers fall into two distinct categories: buyers and sellers. The buyers will end up with an agent through sheer happenstance because they don’t know and don’t care.

The sellers will go with whomever is “recommended” to them by a family member of friend. It is usually not until they have expired a few times that they actually start to pay attention.

In a market like ours, the listing agents who get the job done will remain in the game. Those who don’t. . .well, most are already gone.

Gonna go out on a limb here (flame retardant suit loosely fitted to allow breathing room) and say that all this talk of disintermediation and having to prove your value in this new “web 2. . . .world” will not pan out. The consumer is too lazy.

Then again, I’m wrong occasionally.

I don’t think Allen is wrong. I don’t think that what web 2.0 offers is even a little bit new, either. At least not in the “what do customers want” department. What exactly do web 2.0 clients want? What is this unique commodity that they strive to get? Transparency. Isn’t that just a different way of saying, “I can see you aren’t lying to me”? I think it is just that. Customers don’t want to be lied to – not even a little bit.

Yes, you do have to actually have something they want (or need). They have to already want (need it) it or you have to be able to create a want. But as long as they have a choice, they will always prefer to deal with someone they believe will tell them the truth. I noticed many years ago that people who came here from some other country (who could not speak English) who I wound up having as customers had to have a translator. In many instances the person who wound up being the translator was their young son or daughter. Years ago, I had “translators” aged 10 and 11 years old explain the basics in a purchase contract to their mother and father while I listened. I could watch the parent’s faces as the various concepts were being talked about back and forth (in a language I did not speak or understand). From this there were two things I found most interesting: 1. It was actually possible to do this, so long as I understood what it was I was talking about to the 10 year old, and 2, the entire back and forth completely changed once they could tell I wasn’t lying to them. In fact, the main skill they seemed to have developed and relied on the most was determining, is this person lying or is this person telling me the truth. They weren’t nearly as interested in the nuts and bolts of the purchase agreement as they were in figuring out was I telling them the truth.

Over the years I observed that it wasn’t just foreign language cases who behaved in this manner but most customers. They weren’t really that interested in “learning all about it” but were very interested in knowing if I “knew all about it”. And if I would point out the “bad” things right along with the “good” things for them. From observation of this – that once they saw I was honest – it was like a switch had been thrown, from off to on – they would then move ahead rapidly, with no real objections, I was able to exactly identify and change what it was I was attempting to accomplish.

I saw back then that what I was really “selling” was my credibility. Just that one thing. That lesson stayed with me. I have learned since then that the business I am actually in is the lead generation business. In the business of getting and getting rid of listings there are just three parts. Leads, Listings & Leverage. This, of course, is straight out of The Residential Sales Bible. The main hat I wear in my organization is lead generation. In any organization, lead generation, done well enough and in enough volume will pretty much “solve” many of the other problems. One possible problem it does not solve is credibility. It is always vital that one is believable and that the customer feel like they got a “good deal” by using one’s services. This does not even imply that one have the lowest prices, etc., but simply that the customer’s overall experience – in their opinion, was a good one and it was “worth it”. For example, I don’t know of any amusement park on earth that charges more than Disneyland – to my knowledge they are the highest priced amusement park experience on the planet. Yet on any given day, over two thirds of all of the visitors to Disneyland are repeat customers. They come back again and again.  In their estimation they got a “good deal”.

What I don’t want is my customer wondering what kind of Mickey Mouse operation I’m running.

Mickey with logo