There’s always something to howl about

What If We All Just Gave It Away For Free

Now I Know Why Nice Guys Finish Last

This isn’t the first time this has happened…

A potential listing client called me up several months ago to come out and talk to her about her property. She grilled me about what I would do to sell her property and how much I would charge her.

To be perfectly honest – I left there hoping I wouldn’t get the listing.

And I didn’t. Well, for the most part I didn’t.

For the last several months, I have received a call at least once a month from her – asking for my take on a variety of issues regarding the sale of her home. I finally had to ask her, “If you value my opinion so much – why didn’t you list with me?”

“Because [insert agent's name here] is only charging me $500,” she blurted out.

And then it dawned on me. While I was thinking that maybe this potential client might have thought she made a mistake… and that she might become a real client… I was wrong. She was getting her home listed for practically nothing – and getting the advice of myself (and probably others) FOR FREE.

I could kick myself. Count another lesson learned.

The following video of writer Harlan Ellison pretty much sums up my rant. There is a great deal of similarity if you think about it. (Warning – Some Strong Language)

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    24 Comments so far

    1. Patrick Hake November 28th, 2007 10:23 am

      That was awesome!

      I hope the writers get what they are asking for from the strike.

    2. Allen Butler November 28th, 2007 10:35 am

      That was an excellent rant. Loved every second of it!

    3. Jeff Brown November 28th, 2007 10:46 am

      Reminds me of conversations I have every couple years or so with investors who’ve gotten themselves in trouble and are surprised I don’t act like the frickin’ Red Cross.

    4. Doug Quance November 28th, 2007 10:53 am

      :lol: @ Jeff

      I hear ya, brother. I hear ya.

    5. Doug Quance November 28th, 2007 10:58 am

      >Patrick: I wasn’t trying to draw a parallel to the strike (and I don’t think Harlan was, either) though I can appreciate that the writers want part of some of the future.

      Gee… wouldn’t that be nice? I sell you a property… and then – in the future – you pay me more money because you sold the property for more money…. yeah, that’s the ticket!

      >Allen: I’m glad you liked it. :smile:

    6. Tony Sena November 28th, 2007 11:31 am

      That video is right on the money!!! It drives me crazy when clients say, well so and so will sell my home for only $995 so why won’t you? Now I will just send them this video, lol

    7. I Love These Calls : November 28th, 2007 11:35 am

      [...] On a not-whatsoever-related note, check out Doug Quance’s post – especially the YouTube clip at the bottom. Sums up my feelings about Trulia Voices and those who fall all over themselves to provide answers to those unwilling to pay for expertise. Post by Jonathan Dalton November 28, 2007 | Filed Under Trulia, Marketing  [...]

    8. Russell Shaw November 28th, 2007 11:58 am

      The very definition of “criminal exchange” is something for nothing.

      The seller is willing to take your time – and not just once, either – and offer you nothing in exchange.

      The fact that you are a really nice guy does not modify the fact that she is criminal.

    9. Eric Blackwell November 28th, 2007 12:50 pm

      @Russell- Well said. I had never heard that before…



    10. Doug Quance November 28th, 2007 1:04 pm

      >Tony: It drives me nuts, too. Damn bottomfeeders! :twisted:

      >Jon: Thanks for the props!

      >Russell: Too true, oh wise one. Criminal it is!

    11. Geno Petro November 28th, 2007 2:42 pm

      Doug, send me a check and I’ll give you my comment. (H.E.just may have had a few nips, btw)

      love(ed it)


    12. Dave November 28th, 2007 2:53 pm

      The appropriate response to her at that point would have been, “So if you value MY advice then why aren’t you willing to pay for it?”

    13. Doug Quance November 28th, 2007 3:16 pm

      >Geno: Well said. :lol: And H.E. probably did have a nip or two.

      >Dave: Oh believe me – the call got cut real short at that point… and I think she knows why.

    14. Don Reedy November 28th, 2007 3:58 pm

      Jimmy Buffet has a line that goes “don’t try to describe a Kiss concert if you’ve never seen it….you just might up being gonged.”

      This is a great way of communicating how easily we give away what is at the source of our value to the client. The clients haven’t seen Kiss, we have, and yet we’re reluctant to “gong” them when they want to see the concert for free.

      I hear the gong going off now!!

    15. Tara Jacobsen November 28th, 2007 7:01 pm

      Thank you so much – I was feeling all beat up today but now I have a plan! I am going to listen to this daily to remind me that I do deserve to be paid, just like the rest of the free world!

    16. Morgan Brown November 28th, 2007 10:59 pm

      Herein lies the core problem with all information – it yearns to be free. The gatekeepers are constantly struggling to put a denomination on information and charge appropriately. More and more those gatekeepers are being – dare I say it – disintermediated by the web and other sources who will give it away for free. Just ask the newspapers how they feel about being “forced” to post today’s news (which costs 50 cents in paper form) for free online. It is killing them.

      Look at wikipedia – the encyclopedia Britannica is none to happy about that happy little experiment. Information flows to the price of free. It’s unstoppable because at any point there are hundreds of people with similar information who are willing to trade that currency (knowledge) for something else – usually business. And with all competitive red oceans, they head towards the lowest price.

      So instead of bemoaning this person as a criminal or a nag and a time drain couldn’t we flip this information seeking problem on its head? Couldn’t we send that person a white paper, point them to our blog and have them sign up for our weekly sellers email tip? Couldn’t we suggest that if they value that information that they forward it on to a friend who may be selling as well? Couldn’t we suggest that after 2 months of no movement with the discount guy that she list with us, and couldn’t we remind her in our emails and blog posts how much money she was leaving on the table with her listing sitting in a declining market?

      Couldn’t we leverage her desire for free information in to business for ourselves? Aren’t we all blogging and trading free information in the hopes of new business or improved business performance? Isn’t this a micro-example of the same thing?

      I say that when people want our expertise and experience we give as much as we are comfortable giving and then no more. Everyone sets their personal boundaries on that end. But as we are giving we are taking. Want to know how to sell your home? Sign up to my newsletter and give me your contact information – I’ll give you a white paper – and so on.

      This person is no criminal. How we allow ourselves to not take advantage of the opportunity is the only offense here.

    17. Greg Swann November 28th, 2007 11:36 pm

      > How we allow ourselves to not take advantage of the opportunity is the only offense here.

      Masterful. Thank you.

    18. Russell Shaw November 29th, 2007 12:26 am

      I totally like the idea of “How we allow ourselves to not take advantage of the opportunity is the only offense here.” I believe that successful people find a way to turn counter-efforts in the environment to their advantage. The old, you get lemons – you make lemonade. However, I stand by my statement that the seller in this case is criminal.

      It is OK if you don’t see it that way, as you have your experience and I have mine. I have found that people who want to value my time at zero and then help themselves endlessly are not the kind of people I choose to do business with. The world (and my area:-) is just full of really nice people (about 80% of them) and as there is no shortage of the nice ones, I would rather only do business with those people.

    19. Thomas Johnson November 29th, 2007 12:31 am

      Didn’t this old girl just disqualify herself from your advice by having an exclusive relationship elsewhere? Maybe one could point out that she is causing you to get very close to tortuous interference with her $1.99 listing broker?

      Hey darlin’ I’d love to flirt with you, but let’s do it after you ditch the boyfriend, because I know you’re not THAT kind of girl, OK?

    20. Doug Quance November 29th, 2007 8:18 am

      >Don: Oh yeah, I got gonged, alright. :lol:

      >Tara: I’m glad this made you feel better. Now I feel better.

      >Morgan: A brilliant retort. Somewhat Utopian, IMHO.

      >Russell: No Utopia, here. Just good, sound advice.

      >Thomas: As a seller, you can have an exclusive brokerage agreement – yet still solicit the opinions and advice of other brokers. Sometimes that answer to the questions, however, will be, “that’s a matter between you and your agent.”

    21. Kris Berg November 29th, 2007 8:34 am

      “You’re undercut by all the amateurs.” Love it! My favorite real estate ad was a full page in our local newsletter a few years ago where the agent proclaimed, “I will sell your home for less!” I have no doubt he delivered. And he probably accepted less compensation as well.

      Thanks for the post and video link, Doug. I’m with Tara – Required weekly viewing.

    22. Bob in San Diego November 29th, 2007 11:45 am

      “You’re undercut by all the amateurs.”

      With all the talk about ethics, why do you feel that it’s ok to call agents amateurs who charge less?

      In San Diego, less than 6% of residential properties listed are closing escrow each month. Commission isn’t a factor in those sales, just price. Marketing is not a factor either.

    23. Doug Quance November 30th, 2007 9:20 am

      >Kris: We had an agent like that here, too. I wonder what happened to him…

      >Bob: I can’t speak for Kris (and she does that so perfectly well by herself) but in my neck of the woods – there’s a ton of “amateurs” who charge very little… of which most are not serious, full-time agents. Some refer to them as “appliance Realtors”, as they dabble in real estate so that they can buy new appliances for their kitchens…

    24. [...] The reason why most competent Realtors require a six month listing has to do with the current real estate market absorption rate -  because we don’t want to give it away for free. [...]