Later today I’ll be doing a walk-through of the old house to see how the reno contractors performed. Then the realtor and I will formulate a marketing strategy to get the house shown in its best light — by “the realtor and I” I mean of course “the realtor”, because this is their métier and I’ve always believed in letting the pros do their job unmolested. She’s going to tell me what she’s going to do, and I’m going to nod sagely and say, “Excellent idea.” I’ve sold maybe two houses in my time, and not locally; she does that every week. Who do you think has the better idea of what sells in our market?
On that topic, by the way, there’s a good rule of thumb that whenever you see a totally shit ad on TV, the chances are excellent that it was either created by, influenced by or produced by the client, and not the ad agency.
I was once responsible for a marketing department which had three ad agencies working on different aspects of the company’s business — one handled all the fresh items (produce, fruit, bakery, floral etc), another did the grocery “dailies” — the everyday ads such as seen in the newspapers and flyers — while the third agency handled hard goods (furniture, clothing, appliances and housewares). Each agency was picked because they specialized in that particular area, all tried ceaselessly to poach parts of each other’s business, and all had their pee-pees whacked (by me) for straying into areas outside their own expertise.
“Leave it to the professionals!” should be every manager’s motto, but sadly, few follow that simple rule. Most think they know better than the pros — like I could perform a laparoscopy on myself better than a doctor simply because it’s my body and I know it better than they do. But businessmen — especially company owners — think they understand the marketing of their business or product better than the pros in marketing- and ad agencies. Without exception, they don’t. Even I, who had once worked at a couple of ad agencies and actually understood the process, generally deferred to the agency because — wait for it — it’s their job to know more about it than the client. The one time I exercised the Client Veto was because they’d misinterpreted the brief, which was — ta-da! — my fault in that I hadn’t communicated the brief properly (a.k.a. GIGO — garbage in, garbage out, as the old pros know).
Likewise, my brief to the contractors (flooring and painting) was simple: “Do what you think is best, make the place look amazing, but stay within the budget — unless I specifically authorize otherwise, because otherwise, you’re going to eat the overage.” I also told them before we started that I am the world’s most understanding client and will leave them alone — right up until somebody fucks up or breaks their word to me, and then I’ll be their worst nightmare. We’ll see how well they did, later in the day.
I love Linda, the realtor, by the way. Consummate professional, very experienced, no-nonsense and smart as hell. Took no shit from me, explained everything fully, brooked no argument; but when I told her why I was selling the place, she teared up. “You must really have loved your wife,” she commented; and when I asked why she said that, she replied, “Because every time you talk about her, what she said and what she did, you have a smile on your face.”
Guilty as charged. Damn, I miss her still more, every day.