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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?  

 

 

 

 

Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is TheAgentTrainer.com.

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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

How strong leaders use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) We’re months into the COVID-19 crisis, and some leaders are still fumbling through it, while others are quietly safeguarding their company’s future.

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strong leaders

Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how a strong leader can see their teams, their companies, their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:

Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always, but is amplified when a crisis like COVID-19 occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve our teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms.

Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.

Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything is disrupted and people are now adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.

The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.

And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.

We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when we game plan, we strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.

That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.

Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.

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Opinion Editorials

Declutter your quarantine workspace (and brain)

(EDITORIAL) Can’t focus? Decluttering your workspace can help you increase productivity, save money, and reduce stress.

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decluttering

It’s safe to say that we’ve all been spending a lot more time in our homes these last few months. This leads us to fixate on the things we didn’t have time for before – like a loose doorknob or an un-alphabetized bookshelf.

The same goes for our workspaces. Many of us have had to designate a spot at home to use for work purposes. For those of you who still need to remain on-site, you’ve likely been too busy to focus on your surroundings.

Cleaning and organizing your workspace every so often is important, regardless of the state of the world, and with so much out of our control right now, this is one of the few things we can control.

Whether you’re working from a home office or an on-site office, take some time for quarantine decluttering. According to The Washington Post, decluttering can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those three things makes me feel better already).

Clutter can cause us to feel overwhelmed and make us feel a bit frazzled. Having an office space filled with piles of paper containing irrelevant memos from five years ago or 50 different types of pens, has got to go – recycle that mess and reduce your stress. The same goes with clearing files from your computer; everything will run faster.

Speaking of running faster, decluttering and creating a cleaner workspace will also help you be more efficient and productive. Build this habit by starting small: try tidying up a bit at the end of every workday, setting yourself up for a ready-to-roll morning.

Cleaning also helps you take stock of stuff that you have so that you don’t end up buying more of it. Create a designated spot for your tools and supplies so that they’re more visible – this way, you’ll always know what you have and what needs to be replenished. This will help you stop buying more of the same product that you already have and save you money.

So, if you’ve been looking to improve your focus and clearing a little bit of that ‘quarantine brain’, start by getting your workspace in order. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and be “out with the old”; you may even be inspired to do the same for your whole house. Regardless, doing this consistently will create a positive shift in your life, increasing productivity, reducing stress, and saving you money.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer slowing you down? Does it make a simple job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment to improve your productivity.

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better equipment, better work

What is an employee to do when the work equipment bites.

Let’s be frank, working on old, crappy computers with inefficient applications can make the easiest tasks a chore. Yet, what do you do? You know you need better equipment to do your job efficiently, but how to ask the boss without looking like a whiner who wants to blow the department budget.

In her “Ask A Manager” column, Alison Green says an employee should ask for better equipment if it is needed. For example, the employee in her column has to attend meetings, but has no laptop and has to take a ton of notes and then transcribe them. Green says, it’s important to make the case for the benefits of having newer or updated equipment.

The key is showing a ROI. If you know a specific computer would be a decent upgrade, give your supervisor the specific model and cost, along with the expected outcomes.

In addition, it may be worth talking to someone from the IT department to see what options might be available – if you’re in a larger company.

IT professionals who commented on Green’s column made a few suggestions. Often because organizations have contracts with specific computer companies or suppliers, talking with IT about what is needed to get the job done and what options are available might make it easier to ask a manager, by saying, “I need a new computer and IT says there are a few options. Here are my three preferences.” A boss is more likely to be receptive and discuss options.

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