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VANILLA – A Love Story. Kind of.

BoringIt happened again. I am questioning the value of some people. Some companies. Excuse me. Let me back up. My name is Stephen Garner, I am a former title rep for a national title insurance company in Phoenix Arizona.¬† I spent 10 years helping real estate agents and loan officers grow their business before leaving to co found PRO-Found.. Notice I said “Former”. It’s the FORMER that allows me to say what I want to say without fear of repercussion by The Man. The Man is in this case is, my dad. No I’m joking. . .The man is the establishment, the status quo, VANILLA Get it – The Man.

Anyway, in case you have not noticed, I have been on a bit of a tangent lately. I’ve been on a tear. I wrote a post a few days ago, maybe you saw it, “When It Comes To Service, Do Most People Suck?” I am here to report that apparently – they do. Obviously there are many of you that feel the same judging from the text and email messages I have received to that affect. Seems like many people, many companies [I have encountered] are OK being VANILLA. Here is why I am pissed.

I pride myself on getting things done. You need something from me that I have promised? It will be done. Period. It’s the way I raised. “Your word is your bond” my dad said. I wish, man – do I wish that others felt the same way. Today I am pissed about technology. A product. Not really the product though, the people behind it. We ordered a product that we needed that comes in 3 parts. We received part 1. I received part 2. Part 3? M.I.A. Where is part 3? I call the company, “excuse me, We ordered 3 parts, we only have – TWO?” “OH”, he says chuckling, I see what happened, we shipped X [part 3] to another state, I’m sorry about that”. Huh? This is funny? Your company makes a mistake and you think its OK to chuckle when your mistake is costing me and my company time and money? Really? Then he says it – The VANILLA response “I can get it to you in a few days… [I think he was smiling, maybe he learned it in his VANILLA employee manual?] WHAAAAAAAAT? Your company dropped the ball and didn’t do what you committed to when you took my money, my payment and your best answer is “you can get it to me in a few days?” NO. I want it faster than that. I want it tomorrow!”

To make a long story short, he talked to his boss who talked to someone else who OK’d our part #3 being sent next day air to us here in Arizona. Great, it’s only 2 days late- better than 3 or 4 or you get the point. But why? Why did I have to raise hell to get this dude and his company to do what they said they would do initially – from the gettyup? Why do people think it’s OK to be VANILLA?



VANILLA is boring. It’s not memorable and its dangerous in your real estate business. VANILLA means you are just skating by. Going through the motions. You are not stretching outside the box to get anything done on time or otherwise. You customer is not the key [other than your training manuals and role playing anyway]. I don’t like VANILLA. I can get VANILLA at a chain restaurant. A car wash. The DMV. The State. The Government. There is no shortage of VANILLA in our society, in our culture. Everyone says they are special. [Excuse me] Everyone SAAAAAYS they are special , especially in the real estate space. But really – are you? Service is an expectation – not necessarily a benefit. Home buyers and sellers are spending thousands of dollars with you and on you – are they getting a VANILLA experience or are you moving towards the CHOCOLATE or maybe even the STRAWBERRY. What are you doing differently?

Vanilla is easily forgotten. People like me don’t go out of our way for a VANILLA experience. Why should you take note? There are more and more like “US” out there and they are sick of VANILLA. Do wrong by them and they won’t just not come back, NO, they will tell the world how truly VANILLA you or your organization really is – on their blogs, facebook, twitter, YouTube , Tumblr etc.

The world is a small place thanks to the Internet. It’s very easy for a digital citizen¬† [Google it] like myself and the countless millions of us [and growing] to see whether you are VANILLA or if you are stretching – into the Chocolate or the Strawberry.

Imagine spending thousands of dollars on a real estate agent and feeling like you got a VANILLA experience. Would you tell anyone? Would you leave a comment or a testimonial? Would you go out of your way to tell someone when you heard them complaining about their VANILLA real estate agent?

You Tell Me.

We will talk later [in a future post] about what adding a little diversity, color, would look like in a forward thinking real estate agents business.

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Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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