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Opinion Editorials

Real estate agents wax sentimental about client withdrawal

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My buyer just closed on her house last week. It’s her first place, so she is thrilled. It’s a paycheck, so I should be elated (cha-ching). Another satisfied customer, right? Well, what ought to be a joyous moment for me often ends up being bittersweet.

This always happens, especially with clients I adore beaucoup. We get keys, we do the happy dance. Once the giddiness subsides, we exchange handshakes, a pat on the back (maybe a hug), trade cliched farewell pleasantries and finally part ways. For the next week, a familiar feeling of void undoubtedly creeps up on me.  It’s what I call client withdrawal. No, not the kind where they back out of a transaction. It’s the kind where we miss them.

Us real estate agents are in a funny business. We spend massive amounts of time with clients and get to know everything about them. We know what turns them on, what turns them off, their work schedule , their days off. We are privy to information even their own families don’t know about, from intimate financial details, FICOs, to their private lives.

We educate them about the market. We hold their hand through the emotional roller coaster. We are therapist, confidant, protector, chauffeur, real estate agent (usually in that order!). We become so deeply entrenched in their lives… Then one day, POOF! It’s over. They move in and we move on. That flurry of activity, that sense of closeness suddenly gone. There is no weaning off period. Keys get exchanged, and in an instant these people who we have tended to almost daily vanish from our lives. I wonder if this is reciprocally felt?

I got my answer this morning. The aforementioned buyer popped me a text “this is the 1st wkd in months I have not seen you. I need my Herman fix! :-)” If we truly have done our job right, they miss us too.

Watch Real Estate Expert Herman Chan put the REAL back in REALTY. In his show Habitat for Hermanity, Herman skewers the real estate business and pokes fun at his fellow agents, all the while empowering buyers & sellers with behind-the-scene tips & secrets of the industry! Get a glimpse beyond the glitz & glam of real estate. It's a hot mess! Featured on HGTV, House Hunters & other media outlets, Herman is the undisputed Real Estate Maven whose helpful & hilarious commentary you just can't live without! In fact, his real estate TV show has just been optioned in Hollywood!

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. ross therrien

    January 12, 2011 at 11:38 am

    There are time we a glad to part ways but those are quickly forgotten by the ones we establish good relationships with. Hopefully their still local and the connection remains.

  2. Sheila Rasak

    January 12, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Well said, my friend, so well said! My clients symbolize a relationship of trust and unity that doesn’t dissapate with a hug or handing off of the keys. Each client takes with them a small piece of my heart as I’ve journeyed with them through their transaction. Getting to know them is almost always a pleasure and if it’s not, I don’t take on that client.

    I tend to keep the relationship alive with a note or an email here and there. I don’t believe in checking out when the transaction is over as checking in is far more fulfilling.

  3. Fred Romano

    January 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Maybe agents are getting “too involved” in their clients life?

  4. Erin Golding

    January 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    So true! It’s so nice to make a great connection with clients and miss them after closing. This is after all a people business

  5. Laurel Jack

    January 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Written to perfection, could not have said it better. We really are in a funny business. The different amount of hats we wear is endless. Keeps us on our toes for sure! Nicely done Herman.

  6. Matthew Hardy

    January 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Your answer to keeping the relationship going? CRM.

    Some people say that most agents don’t follow-up after the transaction. Some have told me that they’d be tickled pink if they had the data on every buyer and seller they ever worked with as a resource for additional transactions. Some agents do this. Most don’t. While the concept of “agent-for-life” can be proffered as marketing, the functional underpinning to make it a reality is CRM.

  7. Coleen DeGroff

    January 13, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Herman – you’ve got me all verklempt over here! I have a closing this afternoon with some very sweet buyers that I am really going to miss. It is such an honor to walk within our clients’ lives, even if for such a short time. Great article. Thanks so much for posting it.

  8. Matt Thomson

    January 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Matthew hit it on the head here…Hermann, I agree with your post almost whole heartedly, which makes follow up so important.
    My daughter had her 3rd bday party this fall. One of my current clients were there with their 3 year old. The wife asked for an introduction of who all was there. It was at that point that I realized 7 of the 11 families there had been clients of mine.
    Nothing wrong with keeping in touch, though certainly not as frequently as when the transaction is brewing!

  9. Agent for Movoto

    January 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Awww, this is such a sweet post. And you’re so right – agents do wear a lot of hats, but all those hats are about earning a person’s trust.

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Opinion Editorials

The offensive myth of getting laid off being a blessing

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There’s an age-old trend in news to look for rags-to-riches stories. People love to hear about someone who’s down on their luck scraping together a genius idea and, through sheer grit (it seems), finding the motivation to finally strike out on their own and realize their dream.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Person X is laid off from their long-time but unfulfilling office job, say at an oil company in Alberta, or a marketing agency where their good ideas are consistently shot down.

What seems like a situation to for despair is actually an opportunity in disguise— see, with their newfound freedom Person X has the ability to fully commit to their small business pipe dream.

In fact, the story goes, getting laid off was actually the best thing to ever happen to this person.

This story is a myth.

Although I don’t want to discredit anybody who has had the willpower, luck, and resources to succeed at launching their business, there are many people who are laid off who are truly in critically terrible times.

The insidious underlying message of this myth is that anybody who is truly devastated by being laid off is being weak or lazy.

It serves to alleviate the guilt of those who may have survived the lay off themselves; it helps organizations justify the fact that they might have had to let an otherwise good employee go for their own, corporate-level problems.

The characteristics that many of these laid-off-turned-successful-entrepreneurs have in common are the same sort of privileges that many take for granted – health, youth, a personal support system to help keep the lights on, and an established network of people that can be turned into a market of clients.

What happens to the many workers who are victims of ageism when they are laid off in favor of younger, less expensive workers?

What happens if you’re laid off and you can’t use your newfound time to work on your business plan because you’re raising young children?

The entrepreneurs who find opportunity in being suddenly jobless were probably already on their way to striking out on their own, with their being laid off acting as the defined starting point for a plan they might not have known was forming in their heads.

If you, a friend, or a colleague have the unfortunate luck to be laid off, don’t let this myth get under your skin.

It’s okay to have a rough time with a huge life event that is absolutely terrifying and difficult.

Hang in there.

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Opinion Editorials

3 things to do if you *really* want to be an ally to women in tech

(EDITORIAL) 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.

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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.

(This article was first published here in November, 2016.)

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Opinion Editorials

How the Bullet Journal method has been hijacked and twisted

(EDITORIAL) I’m a big fan of the Bullet Journal method, but sticker-loving tweens have hijacked the movement. Worry not, I’m still using black and white bullet points with work tasks (not “pet cat,” or “smile more”).

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bullet journal

It’s taken me some time to come around to the Bullet Journal method, because it took me some time to fully understand it (I have a tendency to overthink simplicity). Now that I understand the use, I find it very beneficial for my life and my appreciation for pen-to-paper.

In short, it’s a quick and simple system for organization tasks and staying focused with everything you have going on. All you need to employ this method is a journal with graph or dotted paper, and a pen. Easy.

However, there seems to be this odd truth that: we find ways to simplify complicated things, and we find ways to complicate simple things. The latter is exactly what’s happened with the Bullet Journal method, thanks to creative people who show the rest of us up.

To understand what I’m talking about, open up Instagram (or Pinterest, or even Google) and just search “bullet journal.” You’ll soon find post after post of frilly, sticker-filled, calligraphy-laden journal pages.

The simple method of writing down bullets of tasks has been hijacked to become a competitive art form.

Don’t get me wrong, I like looking at this stuff because I dig the creativity. But, do I have time to do that myself? No! For honesty’s sake, I’ve tried just for fun and it takes too much damn time.

With this is mind, this new-found method of Bullet Journaling as an art is something that: a) defeats the purpose of accomplishing tasks quickly as you’re setting yourself back with the nifty art, and b) entrepreneurs, freelancers, executives, or anyone busy would not have time for.

Most of these people posting artistic Bullet Journal pages on Instagram are younger and have more time on their hands (and if you want to spend your time doing that, do you, man).

But, it goes against the simplistic method of Bullet Journaling. The intent of the method.

And, beneath the washi tape, stickers, and different colored pens, usually lies a list of: put away laundry, feed cat, post on Insta. So, this is being done more for the sake of art than for employing the method.

Again, I’m all for art and for people following their passions and creativities, but it stands to reason that this should be something separate from the concept of Bullet Journaling, as it has become a caricature of the original method.

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