Philip Whearty gave us a short talk tonight. He said ...
'One of the things I love most about real estate is the lack of absolutes. More often than not it is not a matter of being right or wrong but a matter of perspective.
'I liken it to, say, the difference between men and women. A man’s wife doesn’t come home until the next morning and the husband asks her where she’s been. She replies she stayed with a friend overnight. The next day the husband rings her ten best friends and none of them knew anything about it. The next week the husband stays out all night and the wife says where were you all night and he says he stayed at a mate's. The wife rings his ten best friends. Eight of them said he was with them all night and the other two said he was still there.
'You see - Different Perspective!
'My favourite joke reinforces the same notion. A man goes to the doctor and the doctor believes his issues are psychological. He shows him the Rorschach designs, the old ink blot test. What does that remind you of ? That’s Marilyn Munro getting out of the bath naked. What about this one? That’s a lady taking her clothes off - undressing. And this one? That’s a lady riding a bike, naked. The Doctor closes the file, there being no need to continue and says I’ve made my diagnosis, you’re a sexual pervert. Me, he says! You’re the one showing me the dirty pictures.
'When I started real estate I thought that when someone asked me, How’s the market? that it was a question. That it was an opportunity. So I used to bore people silly with sales metrics, RV ratios, and big sale prices in Champion Street - $36,000.
'Eventually, I realised it was an ice breaker, a conversation starter, a bit like the weather, and I developed a universal response - Unbelievable!
'So whenever someone asked, How’s the market, I’d simply say / UNBELIEVABLE and they would waltz away seemingly satisfied. Of course, I never knew if they thought it was unbelievably good or unbelievably bad, but it didn’t seem to matter much.
'People frequently ask questions they already know the answer to. The trick in life is to figure out why they are asking it.
'I often wondered if a funeral director had the same problem responding to conversation starters. Imagine being lined up behind one in the Rotary food queue searching for an icebreaker. How was your week? Nine! I got nine away this week and guess what, eight of them took the solid Rimu deluxe casket with gold handles.
'Guilt is a wonderful motivator. The 'how’s the market' question also serves me well as my dementia litmus test. If someone asks me how’s the market every six months or so, I assume it’s normal. But for those who, every time, immediately upon recognising me (I can literally see joining the dots in their head, a bit like a third form tech drawing student using a T square) - Philip/Real Estate/ Market - light bulb moment - How’s the market? - I know trouble is looming.
'So if you go home tonight and open the fridge door and you have forgotten why you are there, reflect on when you last asked me, 'How’s the market?' And if you can remember 'It's Unbelievable', then the TV remote you were looking for has probably just slipped down the side of the couch.
'And you are OK.'