OZ’S VOICE: Do not arouse the wrath of the Great and Powerful Oz! I said — come back tomorrow!
I bought my first house in 1984 when I was 22 years old. It was in Speedway, IN. I do not remember much about the detail of the transaction, but I do remember sifting through the classifieds of the newspaper, trying to get a feel for what I might be able to afford. I remember feeling lost. I didn’t know anyone in the real estate industry or where to begin, so I began calling around for someone to assist me. I had no clue what to look for. If someone had said, “come back tomorrow,” if I wanted the information, I would have had to come back tomorrow. How else was I going to get what I wanted?
When I look back, I’m amazed at how little control we as consumers had over what we were shown. I don’t remember giving it a second thought at the time. The real estate agent was like the Great and Powerful Oz. I was just happy to have a sitting.
DOROTHY: If you were really great and powerful, you’d keep your promises!
OZ’S VOICE: Do you presume to criticize the Great Oz?
[Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal the Wizard at the controls. The Wizard is unaware]
OZ’S VOICE: You ungrateful creatures! Think yourselves lucky that I’m giving you audience tomorrow, instead of twenty years from now!
[He turns, looks and sees that the curtain is gone -- reacts and turns back to the controls]
OZ’S VOICE: Oh — oh oh! The Great Oz has spoken! Oh — Oh…
[The Wizard pulls back the curtain]
I get it. The Wizard had a great gig. Who’d want to give up being the Great and Powerful Oz? I know why he’d want to pull back the curtain. I know why he’d try to pretend no one saw him. Wouldn’t you do the same thing?
And I can understand why real estate agents were reluctant to move boldly to the Internet, to give up the information. I mean, for goodness sakes, they were in control. They had a seat in the throne room all to themselves. I can understand the fear.
OZ’S VOICE: … Oh …. Oh ….
DOROTHY: Who are you?
[The Wizard peers out from curtain, then ducks back out of sight and his voice booms out again]
OZ’S VOICE: Oh – I – Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Go – before I lose my temper! The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken.
Enter the Internet… and the flood of information… and the consumer behind the curtain.
[Dorothy pulls back the curtain to reveal the Wizard at the controls]
DOROTHY: Who are you?
OZ’S VOICE: Well, I — I — I am the Great and Powerful — Wizard of Oz.
DOROTHY: You are?
WIZARD: Uhhhh — yes…
DOROTHY: I don’t believe you!
WIZARD: No, I’m afraid it’s true. There’s no other Wizard except me.
SCARECROW: You humbug!
WIZARD: Yes-s-s — that…that’s exactly so. I’m a humbug!
DOROTHY: Oh …. you’re a very bad man!
WIZARD: Oh, no, my dear — I’m — I’m a very good man. I’m just a very bad Wizard.
SCARECROW: You’d better be good enough to send Dorothy back to Kansas!
And so that is where we find ourselves today. The Great and Powerful Real Estate Wizards have all been exposed. The veil has been pierced. The curtain pulled back. And the natural first reaction is anger. We say, “Oh, you’re very bad!” Why? Because we still want what we went looking for in the first place.
And the Scarecrow is right, you’d better be good enough! Because you have no curtain to hide behind now.
I’m sure you remember how the story ends. The Honest and Humble Wizard uses his wisdom and experience to do what the Great and Powerful Wizard could never have done. He embraced the forced transparency. He gave them his experience and he helped lead them to EXACTLY what they were searching for. And he did it in a way that empowered them at the same time.
But our story has more than one Wizard. And more than one ending.
In our story, each exposed Wizard gets to decide how they’re going to react to the curtain being pulled back. Therefore, I’d like to make a suggestion to all of you Wizards out there. You would do well to react like the Wizard of Oz. Show us your true self. Don’t pretend the curtain is still there. Lay it all on the line. Let us see you and know you. Tell us the truth. Use your wisdom, knowledge and experience to help us find what we’re searching for.
If you do, you’ll earn our respect and admiration. You’ll also earn our business. If you don’t. We’ll find a Wizard who will, or be forced to find another way back to Kansas.Related posts: