Thursday, May 5, 2011

Something Rotten in the State of Colchester?

Does this story remind you of a Shakesperian play?

The plot involves a small town Chamber of Commerce, struggling to balance the increasingly opposing and hostile forces of MLS and Private Sale real estate.

On the one hand, the local Chamber is more than happy to enroll the Private Sale franchise as a member, take their cheque and place them in the real estate category. But, when it comes time to handing out the hardware for year end awards, the story changes.

And the drama unfolds.

The owner of the franchise in Truro, Nova Scotia,was nominated in the real estate category in the annual "Best of Colchester" competition. But when Daina Hernden's clients visited the site to vote, there was no listing for her company. Despite owning a fair chunk of the listings in her market, Hernden has been told by the Chamber of Commerce that her company doesn't belong in the same category as full fledged real estate agencies.

It just so happens that the president of the Truro and District Chamber of Commerce is also a licensed realtor. Given the optics, it only adds fuel to the fire of discriminatory allegations. You can read the full account of the story and the readers comments here.

Suddenly, the spectre of full-fledged intrigue, scheming and plotting, begins to rear its ugly head. One can't help but be reminded of "Hamlet." Act I, Scene 4, when Marcellus utters, "something is rotten in the state of Denmark", having just seen the ghost of the late king.

For what it's worth, here are some factors to consider:

- Having served as an active Chamber volunteer for over a decade which included two terms on the Board of Directors, I find it difficult to comprehend what looks to be a most hypocritical position taken by the Truro Chamber. I know for a fact, the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce and others across the country, have had no issue singling out Canada's private sale mavericks for awards and accolades, often inviting company executives to speak at year end galas.

- It doesn't surprise me in the least to see Daina Hernden ruffling some feathers in Colchester County. After having coached and trained hundreds, if not thousands of entrepreneurs over the past decade or more, Hernden stands out as a real gem in that crowd. Her no-nonsense, "cut through the bullshit" approach and obssessive attention to customer service, has a way of attracting listing volume to her franchise. Not surprisingly she frustrates her competitors, who envy her proven ability to grow market share.

- We have no problem whatsoever, revealing that my company and I have worked for many years with to help this brand in its "David and Goliath" type struggle against the multi-billion dollar MLS machine. TSB can be accused of many faults and flaws. However, hypocrisy won't be among them. Whether we have a vested interest or not should matter little when it comes to the principle of fair and equitable treatment.

Few enjoy the perspective we see from the inside out, but in a cultural sense the brand is very different from many other private and public sector organizations. You would be hard-pressed to find a "CYA" or "every man for himself" mentality. In fact, it is quite the opposite. One of the phrases most often heard over the phone or in hallways sounds like, "don't worry, we've got your back".

Daina Hernden and her franchise has been one of the most recognized by the company at the year-end "Revvy Awards", however, small town politics may prevent that from happening in the "Best of Colchester" competition.

But, as you can now appreciate, TSB makes no apologies for having her back.

And it is in that spirit, that we applaud Daina in her efforts to give consumers viable options to consider when listing their homes in Colchester County.

"Lawless are they that make their wills their law"


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