What do stockbrokers, car salesmen and estate agents have in common:
- We all take a cut on connecting you to a product we don’t make.
- We are all responsible for anything that has ever gone wrong with anything in your life.
- If there is a pregnant pause in a dinner party conversation you can fill it up by bagging one of us mercilessly.
Blame comes with the territory in sales. It’s a large part of why salespeople get paid a commission, not because they add value to the product, not because they execute the sale but because they provide someone to blame post purchase when a buyer proves incapable of taking responsibility for their purchase decision themselves.
And in this department the car salesman and the estate agent have a big advantage over the broker because when a car salesman sells you a car you know it’s going to go down in value. You can’t blame him for that. And when the estate agent sells you a house it is well understood that the property market is too monstrous an animal for a speck of an estate agent to have any influence, so there’s no blame there either.
But when a broker makes a trade, well that’s different.
I was once attacked late one Melbourne Cup Day in 2005 in the Nursery Car Park by a lady whose husband had lost money trading in the tech boom five years earlier. No connection with me, no connection with my broking house, we had never met each other before. But as an identifiable broker I got the most unholy unprovoked embarrassing lambasting ever delivered in polite equine company until her husband turned up and hustled her away whilst taking the time to shout back “Sorry mate, I had to blame someone”. For all I know he was trading on line, either way I am happy to have provided the service pro bono, although there is a broker out there somewhere that owes me a commission share.
I also had a client once who inherited a portfolio from her expired father and with nothing better to do than back check all the trades he had ever done in his lifetime she discovered that he had once sold BHP through ‘Potters’ when BHP were priced in pounds shillings and pence. She daily recalculates how much money it would be worth today and, in her own words frequently refers to the difference in the Sterling to Aussie dollar adjusted price back then and the Aussie dollar price now multiplied by the number of shares grossed up for any capital adjustments and dividends as how much “That broker owes me”.
For brokers unfortunately the value of a purchase or sale decision is assessed every second by a share price that can plague them for the rest of their natural lives. Every day the quoted share price flashes either “winner” or “loser” on every previous transaction and as we all know, it is a fact of life that the broker will only ever take the credit for the latter.
No wonder some brokers turned to on line trading. After hundred of years of not getting the credit for the gains they eventually worked out how to avoid taking the credit for the losses as well. But not everyone trades online and when you consider that every single trade on the Australian market is matched and by definition creates a loser for every winner on every trade, you can see that there’s a lot of blame looking for a home. But the good news is that we’re here to take it.
I don’t know how much blame we’ve taken, how much credit we haven’t taken, how many relationships we’ve rescued and how many marriages we’ve saved but as an industry I’m guessing we do more for the harmony of our customers and their relationships than the estate agent and car industry combined.
So, if you have stuffed up in the market and need someone to pin it on, for a small fee please contact Marcus on 1300 MARRIAGESAVER or his office on 1800 NOTYOURFAULT.
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