Turn on the TV these days, and you are likely to see something about Donald Trump, it’s hard to avoid. Whether or not you are for him or against him, no matter what station you’re watching, chances are you’ll see him or someone talking about him.
It’s interesting to me to see how Trump has been able to manipulate the American people into voting for him and how he has made us accustom to lying. There isn’t a day that goes by that Trump doesn’t lie, in fact, since he has been in office he has lied on average 2.9 times a day. I highly suspect that’s a number that is reflective of the population too; I wouldn’t be surprised if most people told a white lie or exaggeration three times a day either, it’s just that he is the President of the United States and his lies are publically televised.
When Trump decided to run for office, I heard that he was using Steve Bannon as the CEO of his campaign. I knew that Bannon was a filmmaker and that his directing style was influenced by the German director Leni Riefenstahl. In fact, Bannon has produced or directed 19 films and has referred to himself as the Riefenstahl of the GOP. Riefenstahl just happened to be a director for German Propaganda films for the Nazi regime.
Something that I have always found crazy was how Hitler influenced the German population during World War Two. How do you get so many people to follow you even when you are trying to eradicate people from the earth? To me it’s irrational, but to some, it must not be, look at Germany in WWII. I’m not comparing Trump to Hitler here, that’s not the road I am taking. I’m just introducing this because this bit of info made me look into Steve Bannon more. Would he use the same techniques as the German Propaganda machine in WWII considering he has compared his style to a Nazi director?
During Trump’s presidential run I watched the campaign just like everyone else but not to see what Trump would say next for entertainment but to observe how, and what he was saying. Watching him I thought this seems familiar and I decided to read Mien Kempf, that’s the book that Hitler wrote, it’s his manifesto and describes how he would manipulate the population of Germany into doing what he wanted.
In Mien Kempf, Hitler discusses using a strategy of telling lies big enough that people cannot believe it is true. Of course, Trump is not Hitler, but the way he influences the American people with huuuuge lies, on a daily basis, seems similar.
The New York Times agrees too. They published this in an online article.
“Trump is no Hitler, but the way he has manipulated the American people with outrageous lies, stacked one on top of the other, has an eerie historical resonance. Demagogy has a fixed design.”
It’s interesting to watch the President of the United States pursue what looks like to be an active strategy of lying to the American people. We see MSNBC, CNN, CBC and other media outlets report on Trump’s lies but is it sinking in? Do people not understand he is using a previous strategy that has had success with constant lies.
Maybe people don’t see the lies because our daily lives are becoming so full of dishonesty and over-exaggerations both on the television and on Social Media. People are pretending they are someone they aren’t, over exaggerating their abilities or posting fake profile pictures. Maybe this environment is cultivating a society that is more accepting of lying. Real estate certainly has its fair share of techniques based on lying and being disingenuous. Bait and Switch techniques and misrepresentations are something we have to look out for, but recently I have seen an increase in blatant lying. There’s no misrepresentation, what I am seeing is bold face lying.
With the President of the United States pursuing an active lying strategy to forward his agenda, lying daily on TV, it is no surprise to me that I see realtors lie all the time too. It happened to me just last week while negotiating an offer on my friend’s house. I was representing the sellers, my friends Steve and Ingrid and the lying realtor was representing the buyers.
We received an offer on their home last week, and during the process of the negotiation we ended up in a stalemate. The buyers countered with an offer price of $172,500, and the buying realtor told me that the buyer was at his max. The buying realtor also said that he would be paying the buyer’s closing costs to make the deal happen and that he had to take a hit on his commission to bring the deal together. He wanted me to take this into account when presenting the buyer’s offer to the sellers and to do my best to get the deal closed. We were at an impasse; the sellers were standing firm at $175,000, and the buyer was at $172,000. The seller’s home was popular, and we were receiving lots of showing requests, so they decided to stay at $175,000. Shortly after I told the buying realtor that we were firm at $175,000 he messaged me back and said that we had a deal, the buyer will come up to $175,000. He also told me this…
“Man this guy made me look so stupid. But anyways I sent you an email with 175 so get it signed.”
He was referring to the fact that the buyer asked him to lie and create this scenario where he said he had to pay for the buyer’s closing costs and take a hit on his commission. He never had any intention of doing this, and he was blatantly lying during the negotiation.
One thing I do is I refuse to lie, I have had clients ask me to lie, and I have declined to do so. I would instead tell that person that it makes me feel uncomfortable and that it is not a way I conduct business. If this leads us to “breaking up” then that is fine with me. Lying at all costs just to make a deal happen is unethical, I want to work with others who feel the same way, and that’s why I have no problem in parting ways with someone who wants to put me in a position where they want me to lie. This is why I was happy with a conversation I had with another seller a couple of nights ago; she felt the same way.
I currently have Leenie’s condo for sale in London at Heritage; it’s a 17-story building located along Macleod Trail. We’ve had her home on the market now for a couple of months, and we have had a lot of showings but unfortunately showing realtors don’t always provide feedback. In my experience, it seems about 85% of the time I never hear back from the showing realtor and Leenie, and I have been wondering what the feedback is from the groups that we have not heard back from.
One of Leenie’s friends suggested putting a recording device in her home to listen to the buyers, to see what they had to say. She told me that her initial thoughts were that this feels wrong and that she likely will not do it. It feels wrong to me too. Maybe, I can see recording people and using the feedback to help us to present her home in the best light possible but gleaming personal information about the buyers, for negotiation purposes does feel wrong. I was pleased to hear that Leenie felt the same way and that she just wanted to see what I thought about it too.
Our lives are too short to do things that complicate and stress us out; I’m thrilled that I get to choose who I work with on a daily business. I have no problem telling someone that I feel uncomfortable lying and my ethics never fluctuate. I feel fortunate that I can make these decisions and that I can decide not to work with people who want me to act this way.
Unlike Donald Trump and the realtor who lied to me last week, my reputation is important to me. In business, especially in a negative reputation industry like real estate being honest and ethical stands out, so many realtors are willing to lie and act dishonestly just to make a sale. Whether they are lying to clients, customers or their peers, I do not want to be known as the guy that will lie to make another sale; which is how I feel about this realtor from last week now.
Subconsciously or maybe even consciously I will file a little note that says in my next interaction with this agent that he lies and to watch out. Who wants to have people think of them this way? Not me. I find it odd that Trump aggressively pursues people that speak poorly of him because he is worried about people tarnishing his reputation but at the same time he is caught lying daily on average three times a day. In my opinion, lying is the worst way to do that.
To me, my reputation in business and life is essential, and I look forward to working with others who feel the same way. It is always my priority to represent my client’s interest to the fullest but lying to do so is not something I’m willing to do.