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When Friends Reject

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Friendship and Business


I don’t know if others in the mortgage industry face this situation or not but lately I’ve been losing deals. I’m not talking about your normal deals either, but deals that my friends are initiating and closing. Since the beginning of the year three of my friends or within my circle of influence have bought homes or refinanced. And I didn’t get to be a part of any of them.

When we built our marketing strategy a vital component was capitalizing on the “under the nose” sources. Some call it “sphere of influencing marketing’ etc. Whatever the terms, the idea is to be the expert provider of your service within your immediate contacts whether friends or family.Since we are not from Arizona and have no family here, this meant the friendships we developed around the gym, young moms, church, Nepalese community etc. It is not that we become friends with the intention of doing business, but we do not shy away from making our work known to them as our friendship develops. In the past we have received inquiries from folks within our circle and have even closed transactions for them. Lately our circle is not seeking to be involved with us. Am I being to sensitive?

I’m not sure what may be going on. Maybe real estate agents do not face this issue, but I’m thinking if there is an inverse relationship between friendship and mortgages financing? Meaning the closer we become as friends the less likely we are to do business with them. I know there can be some concerns, since we will need to review all income and asset information, but we are professionals and abide by the strictest level of confidentiality.

Is there something to this phenomenon or it is just temporary and soon I’ll be refinancing all my friends! Or do you suggest to never mix friendship with business?

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Vicki Moore

    April 1, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Realtors experience a lot – there’s a lot of us. It seems everbody knows one. Sometimes people don’t want friends to know their financial situation. I don’t think you’re being sensitive. I think your feelings are hurt. Mine are too every time it happens to me. It never gets easier.

  2. ines

    April 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    It’s definitely not you. We have done plenty of business with friends and also lost “friends” over business….trying to understand the human mind and why some “friends” may not want to work with you is beyond my rational grasp. What is clear is that you learn to know who your real friends really are, it’s all good.

  3. Elaine Reese

    April 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    I would it expect it to happen more with the mortgage market simply because people might be hesitant to divulge all their financials with a friend. It sometimes happens to Realtors if people are afraid it might affect their friendship. It definitely is harder to work for friends but it can be done. I’ve done several.

    It’s better to maintain a friend than lose a deal. I don’t think you should take it too personally.

  4. Christina Ethridge

    April 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    I’m not one to shy away from the ‘why’. I would ask why. But put the onus on yourself – ask them if you’ve done something or if they prefer not to work with friends. Our sphere of friends we include in all of our marketing – our monthly newsletters – our bi-weekly snail mails – our weekly emails. When we meet someone, we plug them in. From our kids sports teams to people in our bible study. We also support our friends businesses where we can. If I had friends that didn’t use us, I’d want to know why to see if there is something I could change or?? My dad has had people in the past say they didn’t use him because they thought their sale would be too small for him (he’s always been the top agent in the area). I made sure to change that image for him and us so people wouldn’t think their transaction was too small.

  5. David G

    April 1, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Hi Shailesh,

    In case it helps there is a popular theory that supports the inverse relationship between (real) friendship and the economic value of your relationships; it’s Granoveter’s “strength of weak ties” theory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Granovetter). You actually see it in practice when you speak to a blogger who gets 80% of their business from people they don’t know (yet) who have contacted them via their blog.

  6. Russell Shaw

    April 2, 2008 at 3:16 am

    For my first 10 – 12 years in real estate every time I found out a friend (read anyone I knew) bought a house from someone else or listed with another agent I felt betrayed. It simply “stung” each time it happened. As my business grew it still happened but it didn’t seem to matter as much. I knew I had “crossed over” when I found out about someone selecting an agent (who wasn’t me) and I was not in the least upset about it. In fact, I was so happy that it didn’t upset me that I talked about to my wife all the way home. The next few times Wendy still got to hear how wonderful it was that it didn’t matter anymore. Now, it is a complete non-event. Sort of like the sun coming up. I’m not surprised and it is just part of life.

    The key to it really being alright was the potential money really not mattering. Really not mattering.

  7. Bill Lublin

    April 2, 2008 at 4:41 am

    Hi Shailesh;
    I don;t know that your circle should seek to be involved with you , as much as you need to remind them that you wish to do business with them. But even if you did, I’m not sure that would matter, since, as Elaine and Ines point out, usually the issue is with the other person and not with you.

    From the time we’re little kids being chosen for teams in the playground to our adult lives, we always want to be chosen. And when we spend the time to become good at our trade and proud of the service we provide, it feels even worse when we are not the chosen one. But as everyone is quick to point out, while it might not feel good, and might always give you a twinge (it does to me, even after all these years) I think all you can do is put away the feelings, offer your best wishes and be prepared to help them next time -after all it was their loss 🙂

  8. ines

    April 2, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Russell – I’m so glad to hear it gets better – although for me it’s not the money, is the thought that they either don’t trust me or don’t believe in me. I would go out of my way to use my friend’s services, whether it’s a clothing store, a used cars dealership or a doctor.

  9. Shailesh Ghimire

    April 2, 2008 at 11:08 am

    I guess we all face this to an extent and it’s a matter of how we deal with it. I guess I’d like to read the “zen” state that Russell is in, and hopefully in a few years I’ll get there.

    Interesting theory David. I enjoyed reading about it on Wikipedia.

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Business Marketing

Ghost Reply has us asking: Should you shame a recruiter who ghosted you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Ghost Reply will send an anonymous “kind reminder” to recruiters who ghost job candidates, but is the sweet taste of temporary catharsis worth it?

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Stressed woman at a laptop with hands on head, considering if she should send a Ghost Reply.

People hate to get “ghosted” in any situation, personal or professional. But for job seekers who may already be struggling with self-esteem, it can be particularly devastating. Ghost Reply is a new online service that will help you compose and send an email nudge to the ghoster, sending a “kind reminder” telling them how unprofessional it is to leave someone hanging like that.

Ghost Reply wants to help you reach catharsis in all of this stressful mess of finding a job. Almost all of the problems and feelings are compounded by this confounded pandemic that has decimated areas of the workforce and taken jobs and threatened people’s financial security. It is understandable to want to lash out at those in power, and sending a Ghost Reply email to the recruiter or HR person may make you feel better in the short term.

In the long run, though, will it solve anything? Ghost Reply suggests it may make the HR person or recruiter reevaluate their hiring processes, indicating this type of email may help them see the error of their ways and start replying to all potential candidates. If it helps them reassess and be more considerate in the future and helps you find closure in the application/interview process, that would be the ideal outcome on all fronts. It is not likely this will happen, though.

The Ghost Reply sample email has the subject line “You have a message from a candidate!” Then it begins, “Hi, (name), You’re receiving this email because a past candidate feels like you ghosted them unfairly.” It then has a space for said candidate to add on any personal notes regarding the recruiter or process while remaining anonymous.

I get it. It’s upsetting to have someone disappear after you’ve spent time and energy applying, possibly even interviewing, only to hear nothing but crickets back from the recruiter or HR person you interacted with. It’s happened to me more than once, and it’s no bueno. We all want to be seen. We all want to be valued. Ghosting is hurtful. The frustration and disappointment, even anger, that you feel is certainly relatable. According to several sources, being ghosted after applying for a job is one of the top complaints from job seekers on the market today.

Will an anonymous, passive-aggressive email achieve your end? Will the chastened company representative suddenly have a lightbulb go off over their heads, creating a wave of change in company policy? I don’t see it. The first sentence of the sample email, in fact, is not going to be well received by HR.

When you start talking about what’s “unfair,” most HR people will tune out immediately. That kind of language in itself is unprofessional and is a red flag to many people. Once you work at a company and know its culture and have built relationships, then, maybe, just maybe, can you start talking about your work-related feelings. I believe in talking about our feelings, but rarely is a work scenario the best place to do so (I speak from experience). Calling it unprofessional is better, less about you and more about the other person’s behavior.

However, it’s unclear how productive Ghost Reply actually is. Or how anonymous, frankly. By process of deduction, the recipient of the email may be able to figure out who sent it, if it even makes it through the company’s spam filters. Even if they cannot pinpoint the exact person, it may cast doubts on several applicants or leave a bad taste in the recruiter’s mouth. It sounds like sour grapes, which is never a good thing.

There may be any number of reasons you didn’t get the job offer or interview, and they may or may not have something to do with you. Recruiters answer your burning questions, including why you may have been ghosted in this recent article in The American Genius.

Ultimately, you will never know why they ghosted you. If it makes you feel better or at least see the issue from both sides, the amount of job candidates ghosting recruiters after applying and even interviewing is equally high. Some people simply either have awful time management skills or awful manners, and at the end of the day, there’s not much you can do about that.

Focus on your own survival while job hunting, instead of these disappointing moments or the person who ghosts you. It will serve you better in the long run than some anonymous revenge email. There are other ways to deal with your frustration and anger when you do get ghosted, though. Try the classic punching your pillow. Try taking a walk around the block. If it helps to put your frustration into words, and it very well may, then do so. Write it on a piece of paper, then burn it. Or type it all in an email and delete it. For your own sake, do NOT put their email address in the “To” line, lest you accidentally hit “Send.”

The sooner you can let it go, the sooner you can move on to finding a better job fit for you.

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Business Marketing

Free shipping is everywhere… how can small businesses keep up?

[BUSINESS MARKETING] Would you rather pay less but still pay for shipping, or pay more with free shipping? They may cost the same, but one appeals more than the other.

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Person standing over pacakge, sealing with masking tape.

When it comes to competing with huge corporations like Amazon, there are plenty of hurdles that smaller businesses have to cross. Corporations can (and do) undercut the competition, not to mention garner a much larger marketing reach than most small businesses could ever dream of achieving. But this time, we want to focus on something that most people have probably chosen recently: Free shipping.

How important is free shipping to consumers? Well, in a 2018 survey, Internet Retailer discovered that over 50% of respondents said that free shipping was the most important part of online shopping. In fact, when given a choice between fast or costless shipping, a whopping 88% of those surveyed chose the latter option.

Part of this has to do with the fact that shipping costs are often perceived as additional fees, not unlike taxes or a processing fee. In fact, according to Ravi Dhar, director of Yale’s Center for Customer Insights, if it’s between a discounted item with a shipping fee or a marked up item with free shipping, individuals are more likely to choose the latter – even if both options cost exactly the same amount.

If you’re interested in learning more, Dhar refers to the economic principle of “pain of paying,” but the short answer is simply that humans are weird.

So, how do you recapture the business of an audience that’s obsessed with free shipping?

The knee jerk reaction is to simply provide better products that the competition. And sure, that works… to some extent. Unfortunately, in a world where algorithms can have a large effect on business, making quality products might not always cut it. For instance, Etsy recently implemented a change in algorithm to prioritize sellers that offer free shipping.

Another solution is to eat the costs and offer free shipping, but unless that creates a massive increase in products sold, you’re going to end up with lower profits. This might work if it’s between lower profits and none, but it’s certainly not ideal. That’s why many sellers have started to include shipping prices in the product’s overall price – instead of a $20 necklace with $5 shipping, a seller would offer a $25 necklace with free shipping.

This is a tactic that the big businesses use and it works. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?

That said, not everyone can join in. Maybe, for instance, a product is too big to reasonably merge shipping and product prices. If, for whatever reason, you can’t join in, it’s also worth finding a niche audience and pushing a marketing campaign. What do you offer that might be more attractive than the alluring free shipping? Are you eco-friendly? Do you provide handmade goods? Whatever it is that makes your business special, capitalize on it.

Finally, if you’re feeling down about the free shipping predicament, remember that corporations have access to other tricks. Amazon’s “free” prime shipping comes at an annual cost. Wal-Mart can take a hit when item pricing doesn’t work out. Even if your business isn’t doing as well as you hoped, take heart: You’re facing giants.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

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