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Opinion Editorials

NAR’s “Right Tools – Right Now” Campaign

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Before We Get Started

I know that no matter how positive I think this campaign is, people will take this opportunity to take one more shot at NAR.  No Association, company or person is perfect and often times the Association’s blunders are bannered on very blog out there, and their successes are quieted away or totally ignored.  I’ve got my own qualms about how things are done at NAR at times, but that’s been covered elsewhere.  In this case, NAR is releasing many fee-based programs and products for agents for free.  They are hailing it as “free” but I’ll the first here to point out two things. The first is that member’s dues paid for this.  NAR may have investment options and other income streams to run this program, but these resources and those investments still needed member support to get executed.  Second, it’s my opinion that these products and services should have always been available to members for free – just like I think realtor.com should be free.

I think it’s sad that I have to start out with the disclaimer before even writing the post.  Funny enough, I was trying to come up with a cleaver title, but I figured that using “NAR” would automatically trigger emotions either way…

The Meat

Yesterday, I was attending a Association Executives session at the Virginia Association of Realtors®.  NAR gave a webcast introducing their “Right Tools – Right Now” Campaign.  Part of the release to the CEO’s had the following:

In response to these needs, NAR is proposing a program that will make valuable publications, education, services, resources and tools available to members for FREE, at cost, or at significantly reduced pricing.  The intent of the program is to make NAR’s robust roster of business-building resources more easily available by removing the financial barrier, thereby increasing the number of members who take advantage of these tools and information.

Nearly 300 previously ‘for-sale’ resources will be offered at discount or for free in the following categories:  Education Tools & Publications, Conventions & Events, Technology Services, Research Tools, Enhanced Services, Online Training and Association & Board Resources.  In some cases, new services have been created and offered at no charge to better help members in this time.

In this package are extensive assets and offerings for Local Associations and members, but I am just going to outline the items offered in the package that pertain to member-practitioners.  All of these materials will be posted at www.realtor.org.  However, I couldn’t seem to find an exact launch date, just that it’ll be up within this month.

Here are the outlined services:

I understand that in the next day or two there will be a video posted on Realtor.org explaining this in more detail, but remember that you heard it here first!  If the video is embed-able, I’ll come back and post it here.

There are ton of items of value on this list.  I also understand that there will be some discount on Swanepoel’s Trend report, that was just briefly touched on int the webcast.  Of special interest to me, was the PDF version of Home Buyer and Seller Profiles.  Seconded by the vast number of client brochures and broker tools, such as anti-trust booklets.  All of this will make it remarkably easier to post on your website, so that you can give your buyer or seller packet link to the client by e-mail.  It’ll also make it easier for Brokers to get good tools for their agent’s orientation or ongoing training.

 In a future post, we’ll visit what an on-line buyer packet should look like and which of these tools should be used.

One of the most frustrating things I can hear from members is that they don’t know what they get for their dues, well here is a great, tangible answer.  

Also of interest from Realtor Associations would be:

Virginia Association of Realtors New Agent Program (free) – www.AgentQuickStart.com

NAR’s Free Virtual Video and eBook source with chat option to NAR support ProQuest

NAR’s Client / Agent Market Resource tool https://www.housingmarketfacts.com/

NAR’s general information and research tool https://www.realtor.org/research

I know that some of you aren’t fans of NAR, but are you bitter enough to not use free tools and resources to make your business better?  

 

 

 

 

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Michelle DeRepentigny

    February 13, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Wow, that is pretty good news. I am especially excited to see the profiles and preference reports available free. I have purchased them sometimes in the past and really been able to leverage the info in them, this time the money just wasn’t available.

  2. Ben Martin, Va Assn of REALTORS

    February 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Just as a point of information, AgentQuickStart.com is still in development and should definitely be considered a Beta (or perhaps even Alpha) product.

  3. Matt,

    Thanks for posting the information on the “Right Tools – Right Now” program. We have been thinking about doing this for a few months. In fact, one of the sources of the idea was a fellow blogger of yours who hoped we could put the Home Buyer Profile online.

    Thanks for spreading the word.

    –Dale

    P.S. we just hired a Social Media Manager who starts shortly.

  4. Hilary Marsh, REALTOR.org

    February 13, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks so much for posting this information (even with the disclaimer).

    The NAR staff is working as fast as we can to get information about all the products and programs online. Look for it in the next couple of weeks.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions!

    Best,

    Hilary

  5. Monika

    February 15, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Some good stuff listed Matthew. I am very happy that NAR is heading in this direction. Most if not all of this should be free for members.

  6. Matthew Rathbun

    February 16, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Dale / Hilary,

    You know that I am fan and the disclaimer is in the interest of sharing my own thoughts and heading up what I knew would be comments. I heard a lot about this offline.

    This is a fantastic move forward and tangible proof that NAR is listening.

    It’s important to know that you read these posts from the RE.net and more importantly that you are listening and engaging folks on this forum.

    Thanks!

  7. Bill Lublin

    February 17, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Matt;
    Why am I not surprised that you carry the torch forward to let people know that there are benefits to membership – even if you have to take thr trouble to use the 😉

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Opinion Editorials

Have an in-person job interview? 7 tips to crush the competition

EDITORIAL) While we all know the usual interview schtick, take some time to really study for your next face-to-face job interview.

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Job interview between two women.

So, you’re all scheduled for an in-person interview for a job you’d kill for. It’s exciting that you’ve made it to this step, but the question is, are you ready? Especially with remote interviews being the new norm, your nerves may feel shaken up a bit to interview in person – but you’ve got this! And many of these tips can be applied no matter the interview setting.

We all know the basics of a job interview: dress nice, get there early, come prepared, firm handshake, yada, yada, yada… However, it’s good to really sit and think about all of the requirements of a successful interview.

There are seven steps for crushing a face-to-face interview. Do your homework upside down and inside out in order to walk into that room.

Which brings us to the first step: know everything you need to know backwards and forwards.

This can be done in two steps: getting to know the company and getting to know yourself. By doing website, social media, and LinkedIn research, you can get a feel of the company culture as well as the position you’re interviewing for.

By getting to know yourself, have a friend ask you some interview questions so you can practice. Also, take a look at your resume through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know you. Make sure everything is clear and can compete with other candidates.

The next step is to anticipate solving future problems. Have some insight on the department that you are interviewing for and come prepared with ideas of how to better this department. (i.e. if it’s marketing, give examples of campaigns you’ve done in the past that have proven to have been successful.)

Step number three requires you to go back to the research board and get some information on the employer. Find out who you’re meeting with (head of HR, head of the department, etc.) and make your self-presentation appropriate for the given person.

Next, work on making the interview conversation a meaningful one. This can be done by asking questions as people like to see you take an interest in them. Also, be sure to never answer the questions as if it’s your regular spiel. Treat each job interview as if this is the first time you’re presenting your employability information.

With this, your next step is to have stories prepared for the job interview. Anecdotes and examples of previous jobs or volunteer/organization experiences can help bring life to an otherwise run-of-the-mill resume.

After this, you’ll want to make sure that you’re showing enthusiasm for the position you’re interviewing for. Don’t jump on the couch in the lobby like you’re Tom Cruise on Oprah, but definitely portray that you’re excited and up for the challenge.

Lastly, make a good impression by being impressive. Be professional and in control of your body language. Put yourself in the mindset of whatever position you’re interviewing for and show them that you have what it takes.

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Opinion Editorials

The benefits of remote work are just too good to overlook

(EDITORIAL) Employees scream it from the rooftops and businesses don’t want to admit it: Remote work is just too beneficial to pass up- and here’s why.

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Work from home written with scrabble letters.

Remote work has been rising in popularity in the past several years. Especially following the COVID-19 global pandemic, more companies saw significant benefits for both their business and their staff that went beyond the realm of finances by allowing remote labor.

Less happily, many people lost their job during the pandemic, but they ended up having more time to put toward their passions or were compelled to get creative with their remote business ideas to ensure a consistent stream of income.

If you remain on the fence about allowing your employees to work remotely, or are considering a career shift yourself, take a look at the top four benefits of working remotely, which may sway your decision.

Better Overall Quality of Life

Allowing your employees to work remotely doesn’t necessarily mean they work from home full time. There are benefits to having your employees work in an office part of the time – say, two or three days – and working from home, in more familiar surroundings, the rest of the week.

In this way, your workers enjoy some freedom and independence while retaining the ability to interact face-to-face with their peers. That provides human interaction, which can play a substantial role in terms of improved mental health for your staff.

Happy employees means healthier employees, which can save your outfit money in the form of healthcare costs and lost productivity. But we will get further into the cost-saving benefits a little further on.

If you’re a remote worker, you should see yourself becoming significantly more productive. But why would this be the case if you don’t have a manager over your shoulder watching your every move?

It’s true that when employees have a greater sense of independence, they also experience a significant sense of trust on the part of their employers and managers. This is one of the huge benefits of working remotely because it has a trickle-down effect on the quality and overall production of people’s work.

Can Work Anywhere with Internet

Whether you are a small business owner or have crafted your work to tailor toward a life of remote labor, this is an opportunity for someone who has dreamed of being a digital nomad. You have the ability to work anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the Internet. If you love to travel, this is a chance to spend time in various places around the globe while continuing to meet your deadlines.

Multi-member Zoom call on a Apple Mac laptop with a blue mug of black coffee next to it.

Set Your Own Hours

In some cases with remote businesses, you have the freedom to set your own hours. Content writers, for instance, tend to enjoy more flexibility with regard to when they work because a lot of what they produce is project-based rather than tied to a nine-to-five schedule.

When you’re a business owner, this can be incredibly useful when you outsource tasks to save money. You can find a higher quality of performance by searching for contractors anywhere in the world and it doesn’t limit you to workers who live near to your office.

Saves Everyone Time and Money

 In the end, remote work typically saves money for every person and entity involved. Businesses save costs in terms of not having to pay for a physical space, utilities, Internet, and other expenses. This allows you, as the owner, to spend more of your income on providing quality software and benefits for your employees so your operation runs more smoothly and efficiently.

According to FlexJobs, employees or remote business owners may save around $4,000 on average every year for expenses such as car maintenance, transportation, professional clothing in the office, or even money spent dining out for lunch with coworkers. Eventually, the costs add up, which means extra money in your pocket to take that much-needed vacation or save up for a down payment on your first home.

These benefits of working remotely only skim the surface. There are also sustainability factors such as removing cars from the roads and streets, because people don’t have to travel to and from an office; or employees missing fewer workdays since they have the ability and freedom to clock in from home.

Weigh the pros and cons as to whether remote work is right for you as a business owner or online professional. You might be surprised to find that working from home for more than the duration of the pandemic is worthwhile and could have long-lasting benefits.

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Opinion Editorials

Do these 3 things if you TRULY want to be an ally to women in tech

(EDITORIAL) We understand diversity helps and strengthens our companies, and individual teams. But how can you be an ally to the talented women already on your workforce?

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Two women at meeting table discussing working in tech.

More and more women are leaving their positions with tech companies, citing lack of opportunity for advancement, wage gaps, and even hostile working conditions as some of the reasons why.

What’s better for the tech industry and its employees than cultivating inclusive and diverse departments? Diversity is known to strengthen the overall performance of a company and its teams, and there are a number of ways you can be an ally to the talented women already on your workforce. To name a few:

1. Be open to listening to different perspectives.

It can be awkward to hear so many reports of workplace politics stacking against women, especially if you’re not a woman!

Instead of getting uncomfortable or defensive – ask open ended questions and be interested in a perspective that isn’t yours and may be unfamiliar.

Don’t seek to rationalize or explain the experiences you’re hearing about, as that can come off as condescending. It’s common for women to be interrupted or spoken over in team gatherings. If you notice this happening, bring the conversation back to where the interruption began. Offering your ear and counting yourself as responsible for making space will improve the overall quality of communication in your company.

Listening to and validating what women have to say about the quality of their employment with a company is an important step in the right direction.

Expressing something as simple as “I was interested in what you had to say – could you elaborate on your thought?” can help.

2. Develop an Employee Resource Group (ERG) program.

An ERG is a volunteer-based, employee-led group that acts as a resource for a particular group of employees. An ERG can help to foster inclusiveness through discussion, team-building activities and events. It’s common for a department to have only one or two women on the roster.

This can mean that the day to day feels disconnected from concerns commonly shared by women. disjointed it might feel to be on a high performing team, without access to relatable conversations.

3. Be responsible for your company’s culture.

Chances are, your company already has some amazing cultural values in place. That said, how often are you checking your own performance and your co-workers performances against those high standards? Strong company culture and values sound great, but whether or not they’re adhered to can make or break the mood of a work environment.

Many women say they’ve experienced extremely damaging and toxic cultural environments, which lead to hostility, frustration, and even harassment. Take action when you see the new woman uncomfortable with being hit on at team drinks.

Call out those who make unfriendly and uncouth comments about how women perform, look, or behave.

Setting a personal threshold for these kinds of microaggressions can help you lead by example, and will help build a trustworthy allyship.

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