Cow Farts and Home Buyers

Cow Farts and Home Buyers

How Overcomplication Can Cost You Your Sanity and Business

By Jay Lieberman

The cloud of exhaust was polluting the air in my neighborhood more than methane farts from the 1.4 billion cows on the planet.

The common areas in our community have weed-infested land, which the fire department requires cleared a couple times a year.

During these times, our area is inundated with fumes from the go-cart engines hanging on the backs of a bunch of landscaping guys cutting the dead hillside brush.

So what happens is the landscape company infiltrates our area and creates a dome of chaos in our places of homey solitude. Engines, chippers, trucks, orange cones, flagmen, cars honking. Shit flying everywhere.

Every time I’m more and more shocked at the whole rigmarole of the simple act of cutting some weeds. It just doesn’t need to be this complicated.

There has to be a simpler way.

Just last year simplicity took hold. In place of the massive week long, noise and fume infested production, we now have  hundreds of goats, yes I said goats, which parade  around the hillside eating the brush. Silent. Clean air. More cost effective. Not only is this at level one on my simplicity scale, but it has brought the community together to witness the little petting zoo just outside our front doors.

Cars pulled over, taking pictures, kids watching, and neighbors talking. I found myself re-routing my morning walk/runs so I could watch the goats, as well.

Simple is always better.

I can’t help but think about my industry of real estate and how it’s the shining beacon of over-complication.

One morning a couple months ago, as I happily strolled down the hallway headed to my office, fresh cup of coffee and my favorite scone in hand, I got stopped in my tracks by one of the newer younger agents in the office. He knows I mentor some new folks that just joined our office and he wanted to “run something by me.”

Oh boy. Here we go. I just wanted my scone.

Talking through his “fake it till you make it” smile and suit, he proudly told me that he has 12 systems that communicate with potential “home buyer leads” (aka people). He spends an ungodly sum of money to buy leads from Zillow and When a lead comes in, it gets funneled into 3 different contact management systems, which in turn categorize them based on the price of the home they are interested in. Those 3 systems then begin to shoot them an email, a text and a robo-call within 5 minutes, attempting to reach the lead. Another email, text and call sent within 30 minutes. Then an hour. Then 3 hours later. Then 8 hours. Then it starts all over again the next morning and then the next.

A virtual assault & battery.

This goes on for 21 different attempts. If they are never reached (which is 94% of the time per a recent study), they go into a painful drip marketing campaign telling them how great a time it is to buy because of this, that or the other thing. Or they should turn down their water heater setting in the summer. A great cake recipe. Calendars. Dodger schedules.

My head was spinning listening to this guy.

All the junk he uses – and I told him it was all junk since he stalled my morning coffee – the complicated systems no one can keep track of, steer down a path of confusion for the clients – and himself. He joked that once he does rarely speak with a lead he usually can’t remember their name or what property they were interested in the first place.

Complication breeds confusion.

‘How about this, my agent friend. How about you take a lesson from the simplicity of the Goats and call them on the telephone yourself, instead of funneling people through an ungodly spider web of computer relays and texting chains.’

Understand what the client needs as a human being looking to buy the most important asset of their lives. Calm their nerves. Talk about their family. About their children. The need for good schools, parks, and shopping.

We used to have all these systems and software. We found, without a doubt, that it hurt our relationships. Clients were offended. They felt like cattle, herded through no-man’s land. They yelled at me, slammed phones in my ear, and even threatened to call the police if my system emailed them one more time.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that you don’t get to work with clients when you pester them enough that they want you carted off to jail.We focus our attention on stripping the complication out of everything, and work at the simplest level possible. That’s just how we roll.

I can’t take credit for this idea. It has been around a long time. We can look back to the early 1300’s, where philosopher William Occam stated (famously known as Occam’s Razor), “The Simplest Explanation Is Usually The Correct One.”

Whenever I look at any decision I always dumb it down to its most simple form.

Like drinking a glass of water. You need the glass to hold the water, right? But, that is all you need. Stop there and call it a day. A glass and some water. That’s it.

Don’t toss in bubbles, flavors, and electrolytes to complicate it up just because you can.

Keep it simple – it will calm your life, strengthen your relationships and increase your business.


ABOUT THEM – Jay & Michelle Lieberman have been called “provocative and entertaining,” but also “committed philanthropists”. Entrepreneurs and relentless innovators of the real estate industry, creators of the “Value-Driven Approach to Sell Real Estate”, founders of the Conejo Valley Teacher Only Program, hosts of the Conejo Valley Advice Givers Podcast Show, and attorneys and real estate brokers at Keller Williams World Class in Southern California. They feel honored and blessed every day they are able to serve their clients, their family, friends and their community. You can reach them at

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