I wrote this post below in response to some articles about John Troughton of Cushman & Wakefield at Redding.com under Marc Beauchamp’s blog. Stillwater Business Park has proven to be a tough sell for Cushman & Wakefield. But the bitter tone surrounding the switch to new sales representation seems to mostly ignore the reality that you can’t sell something if nobody’s buying.
I don’t know John Troughton, and I’m not here to defend him. But I do think recent treatment of his work by the media has been unduly harsh. He promoted Stillwater during a period of relatively unprecedented economic downturn. I did once see him give his elevator pitch at the general membership meeting of the Shasta County MLS. Stillwater looked good online. He’d traveled to trade shows, networked with other brokers, and presented info to specific companies. He’d tried some out-of-the-box ideas. He stood before the fifty or so agents in the room and asked if we could think of anything else. He asked for our help.
And if, say an Intel plant had chosen Stillwater back in 2009, we’d be praising Cushman & Wakefield today as a genius firm that helped transform Redding to some economic powerhouse. Everyone entered into this project with high hopes. But Stillwater was a gamble from the start.
I imagine that few people feel the lack of tangible results more poignantly than he does. I don’t know any details of his compensation. But if it was like the majority of real estate brokerage work so mostly or entirely commission based, then years of effort he put into the project went unrewarded. In a word, that sucks. But that’s the risk-reward equation at work.
Here’s a crucial bit of wisdom I really wish I’d known a decade ago, when I began working as a real estate agent. When people make bad choices in real estate, they look for someone else to blame. It’s human nature. And in the world of real estate, it’s always easiest to blame an agent.
While I don’t disagree that this may be a good time to try somebody else, let’s not sugarcoat it. We are simply tossing John Troughton under the bus for the next broker who can promise us better magic beans. And there are no magic beans.
If Stillwater builds out, it will be a huge transformation for Redding. But quite possibly and so far evidently, it may never build out. Instead of wasting time and energy scapegoating the agent, let us instead reflect on the decision we made as a community to build this project. If it’s fair to say “Time for a new broker,” then it’s also an important moment to ask ourselves, “Is there a productive Plan B for Stillwater?”
20-20 hindsight is a marvelous thing. But what if we step back, and re-imagine Stillwater, knowing what we now know? That’s a subject for my next post.