As you may know, my mom died a few months ago. It's a rite of passage we all go through, I suppose.
When someone dies, there are immediate details to take care of. And these details must be attended to right away, regardless of whether it's convenient or even bearable to deal with them. Even as your heart is breaking, you must attend to these gazillion details, and usually (hopefully) without much experience to draw from.
Well, even in the midst of my family's sadness at Mom's death, I must confess to a little sticker-shock at the prices associated with one's final journey. We're a practical bunch and agreed on a pretty basic package, but the final tally was still somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000.
I thought it was quite a racket. $500 for a tent and seating at the graveyard? $1,500 for a concrete vault? $900 for this and $1200 for that? Not to be disrespectful, but sheesh. I was starting to feel a little taken advantage of.
Well, when all was said and done, I was wrong. Or, at least, pleasantly surprised (if you can use the word "pleasantly" in relation to your mother's funeral) at what we got for our money.
Kent, our wonderful funeral director, took care of us. Very good care of us. Exceptionally good care of us. In our time of need and sorrow, he showed up. And handled everything he possibly could. Professionally, competently. No unneeded drama or stress on a family who didn't need any additional drama or stress. The service and visitation went flawlessly, even with last-minute changes and requests. When the cemetery claimed to have no record of our plot reservation, he took care of it. After the family left the cemetery, he stayed behind to ensure that the final step in the process was completed without incident. When we returned to the funeral home after the burial, our things were collected and waiting for us.
But, Jennifer, what's so impressive about that? After all, you paid him to do a job and he did it. Big deal, right?
It was a very big deal.
Because... we toss around the phrase "You get what you pay for" as if it's an undisputed fact. But it's not. In fact, I very rarely pay top dollar for something and feel I got my money's worth. Most of the time, I feel ripped off. I usually come away with the feeling that the person I paid a lot of money to has an inflated sense of his or her own worth, and that I was taken for a ride.
But every once in awhile... someone blows me away. They DO their job and they do it well, and with pride. They deliver.
What's my point?
My point is that we real estate agents also charge a lot of money for what we do. Thousands of dollars. And our fees are almost universally perceived by our clients as excessive, perhaps even a racket, at least at first.
But we have the power to take that perception and turn it around. To deliver on our promises! To take care of the details! To show up and do our jobs, professionally, competently. Without subjecting our clients to unneeded stress or drama, which they certainly don't need.
We charge a lot of money for what we do. But if we do it well, exceptionally well, maybe our clients will say of us: "I GOT what I paid for and I was happy to pay it."