Arthur Conan Doyle penned the Sherlock Holmes stories. One of these was called “The Five Percent Solution”.
As a Realtor and Office Manager, I would have written the story differently. Here’s how I would have written this story…
THE FIVE PERCENT SOLUTION
When the rap came on the door of Sherlock Holmes’ apartment at 221b Baker Street, Dr. Watson cast an inquisitive glance at Sherlock Holmes. Holmes lit his pipe and said, “Let’s not keep our guest waiting shall we, Watson.” And with that he leaned back into the comfort of his favourite chair.
Watson opened the door to a nattily dressed gentleman carrying an umbrella.
“I beg your indulgence,” said the man. “Am I addressing Dr. Watson?”
“Indeed you are,” said Watson. “And you are…”
“Surely, my dear doctor,” Holmes interjected as he sprang to his feet to extend his hand to the visitor, “you recognize the right honourable Jonathan Q. Publique.”
Holmes directed the man to a chair and asked, “And what brings you to us in this foul weather tonight, might I ask?”
“Quite,” said the man with a distraught frown. “Quite. I’m afraid I have rather a difficulty at this time, and was hoping I could call upon you for some advice.”
“Quite,” repeated Holmes. “Has it something to do with the sale of your estate in Stuckinitshire”?
“Indeed it has. But how did you…?”
“Indeed. Indeed,” Holmes said with a smile. “I understand you‘ve had it on the market quite a while, and are getting little or no showings. Isn’t that so?”
“Quite so. Very little or none indeed.”
“And so you have come to me to find out what you can do about it.” Holmes relit his pipe and wafted a grey-white puff of smoke into the air.
“Indeed. Quite so.”
“Then the game is afoot. Let us begin,” said Holmes. “You seem to be a man of considerable means, and yet you find yourself hard pressed to indulge yourself and I dare say others in the finer things in life. In a word, my dear Mr. Publique, you are a cheapskate, if I may say so.”
The man squared up his shoulders at this and almost sputtered.
“No need to get offended, sir. I simply state a fact. Judging by the cut of your suit and coat and the rather ostentatious ring you undoubtedly inherited from your late father’s estate, you are a man of some means. Yet you carry a rather inexpensive umbrella and your shoes are scuffed. I can only deduce that you guard your money with some degree of commitment. Therefore I also deduce that the problem you are having in the sale of your property is because you have chosen a real estate agent who has agreed to a low commission and no other realtor wants to work for little or nothing.”
Mr. Publique shifted uncomfortably in his seat but made no motion to leave.
“The solution therefore is quite simple, dear chap. Put up a five percent commission and I can assure you the property will soon be sold,” said Holmes through another puff of smoke.
“I see,” said the man. “You are suggesting a five percent solution, then.”
“Indeed. Well, thank you Mr. Holmes. I shall certainly take your advice. Good evening.” And with that Mr. Jonathan Q. Publique left.
“Well, well,” said Dr. Watson. “You have done it again. But do tell in what school did you learn about real estate? Was in university?”
Holmes shook his head.
“High school then?”
Again Holmes shook his head. And with a large puff of smoke and a smile, he said, “Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary.”