Lake Geneva @Brokers

Lake Geneva @Brokers

The business of cell phone development is one wherein the initial technology has long ago been pioneered. Cell phones make phone calls, this is what they do. This is why they were invented. With that base technology in place, cell phone manufacturers sought to create better phones, faster, slimmer, sleeker, alas, shinier. They made them to make all sorts of sounds, first chimes and then rings and then submarine sounds and now whistles. They made them play music, to store it and then to stream it, they made them take pictures. They’ve all done basically the same thing for a long, long time now. Which is why the new business of cell phonery is aimed at convincing the public of perceived benefits, long after the real benefits have been cemented and made uniform.


For instance, want to bump your phone against another phone to share something? We’ve completely got that covered. Want to turn your phone on without actually touching the phone? Check, been there, done that. Want to have a phone that talks back to you when you ask it a question? No big deal, we’ve been doing that for ages. These tweaks along the way do nothing to change the actual cell phone- the call making, the texting, the web surfing- they simply ad gadgetry to make you think that any particular cell phone is somehow better than the others. This is why perception matters, and this is why marketing and advertising are engineered to show consumers that perceived benefits are worth the switch, the upgrade, the cost increase. That’s because perception is more important than actual utility.

Soon, a great big, brash, real estate broker from Chicago is coming to Lake Geneva. They’re going to pump up our market with advertising, with slick this and shiny that. They’re going to tout their advantages, which they’ll presumably proclaim to be seller access to the Chicago MLS, access to their network of agents, access to their marketing. There will be precision bits of information, highly detailed statistics engineered to shock and awe, but the goal of the advertising will be to make vacation home owners aware that their brand is now available in Lake Geneva. That’s terrific news for me, because brands don’t sell houses. Agents do.

Another Chicago brokerage came here a couple of years ago. They have a network of Chicago agents, too, and they have some shiny and slick ads and sites. They have had limited success here, even though they can effectively proclaim the same advantages as the new company will bring. They aren’t as big, they aren’t as shiny, and they have only actual letters in their business name. But they have offered the same thing that the new company offers, only they’ve done it for a couple of years. The largest Chicago brokerage is Coldwell Banker. Coldwell isn’t the biggest broker by a little bit of volume, they’re the biggest broker by billions of dollars.

The news of this clunky behemoth’s arrival has spread quickly. They, of course, haven’t said anything yet, but the shenanigans have already begun. There’s to be a new office downtown Lake Geneva, which is likely because they were afraid to come to Williams Bay, which we all know to be the hotbed of real estate things and stuff. They likely wanted to come here but saw my new office and figured they’d choose the path of least resistance and tuck away into Lake Geneva, where they can blend in with the t-shirt shops and cafes. They’re going to take a few agents from Keefe, likely a few from Coldwell, ReMax, and Shorewest. They’ll start their advertising, and the advertising will be all about showing the market that it doesn’t know what it’s been missing. Except that the market has already had and dismissed what they’re offering. Access to Chicago agents and the MLS. It’s likely the largest perceived advantage that means absolutely nothing since the advent of that machine with the strap that wraps around your butt and jiggles all your fat away.

Not one to back down from a fight, I’m preparing a plan to provide even more advantages to my sellers (both perceived and actual), and in doing so will hopefully limit the appeal of this new fat band melting/real estate brokerage. There are things Chicago companies can offer, just as there are things that McDonald’s can offer. There’s a McDonalds in Lake Geneva and another one in Delavan. They sell a ton of breakfast sandwiches. In fact, they sell billions of them. Daddy Maxwells doesn’t sell breakfast sandwiches, not at all. But if I’m hungry and looking to eat breakfast in Lake Geneva, I’m going to head over to Daddy Maxwells. I’ll do so because Daddy Maxwells is Lake Geneva. It’s made in Lake Geneva, just like I am.

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