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Referral – Let the Interview Begin – Thursday WTF




Every Agent Should Read This and Be Prepared

Just before new years, I received a referral from – wow.  It came in the form of an email from a husband and wife who stated they had a builder selected, a location narrowed down, and a floorplan they loved- neat!  They requested that they be in contract no later than December 31, 2007 – fantastic.  They requested that I call them and schedule a meet to discuss negotiating and writing the contracts- groovy.

Based on the area (and more specifically the builder they had chosen), I opted to send the best man for the job- George.  George has a specialty in dealing with this builder and even further, he plays golf with the regional sales manager.  Even more, George plays poker with the lead sales agent of the community in which the buyers had selected.  Taking his credentials one step further, George has sold numerous build-to-suits, resale, and inventory homes in this same community, and had they asked, George has a degree in International Business as well as in Communications, is fluent in several languages, and has been in business 10 years.  It’s a slam dunk on qualifications- George obviously has an edge that these buyers will sincerely enjoy all the way to the bank.

George called and arranged a meeting to “set up the offer” and write the contracts with the buyers, made an initial contact with the builder, got a list of available inventory, prices, and did a CMA of the area to give the buyers some additional edge in options with the builder.  George arrived at said location, met the buyers, and sat down to empty the contents of the folder on the table to present the buyers with some outstanding options.

Before George could get a word out, the buyers said, “we’re not here to hire you today.”  Perplexed, George asked, “then how can I help you?”  The buyers basically told George that he was there to be interviewed along with five other agents.  George casually filed the folder back into his bag and listened- never once being asked about his qualifications.

As the buyers talked incessantly through the meeting, leaving very little room for George to talk, he learned very quickly that this meeting was about commission, and not about any of George’s qualifications, nor about what George could do for them on pricing, nor was it about his established relationships with the folks at the builder’s office that might lead them to a hotter buy.  The buyers flat out lied about their intentions in meeting George, and they honestly did not care that they had offended a rather well connected, well seasoned professional- honestly, being the professional he is, they probably never even caught on that they had offended him. 

All I can think is that it is a sad sad day when buyers have been led to believe that the only thing they’re paying an agent to do is “write a contract.”  I sincerely doubt that this is going to improve any time soon as long as the techies have anything to say about it. 

Needless to say, the buyers still have not contracted, nor have they hired George, and even if they decided they wanted to, George would not hire them.  The reality is, what George brings to the table is George’s to sell or not, and George has every reason in the world to move down the road away from buyers who are liars

So, here is a tip for anyone who wants to use this method of interviewing over commissions- don’t.  That should be the very last reason to interview an agent.  Qualifications run more deeply than the commission- the commission is what the qualifications are worth- a conversation George was most willing to have.   

I wish these two buyers much success in their endeavors and pray they find an agent worthy of their approach.  I hope from my heart that they save a couple thousand in commissions, and can negotiate blindly a sales price they can live with.  We support the idea of interviews of agents and their qualifications, but we do not support the idea of being lied to in order to do it. 

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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  1. Kelley Koehler

    January 10, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    I’ve had a similar experience, although I managed to sniff out his true intentions after a couple of email exchanges, and before we actually met in person.

    He found a site that will give a 1% rebate of the buying side commission, which would be about a third of the total commission from the builder he liked. But – he wanted someone with local knowledge to drive him around and teach him about the other builders, make sure he was making a good choice. And for the privilege of helping him, all he wanted from me was half of my commission.

    He didn’t want to go with the anonymous website rebater, no, he wanted to deal with a human agent, have all of my knowledge and experience, and expected me to give up more of my hard earned money than even a website referrer was willing to give after putting in absolutely no work.

  2. Benn Rosales

    January 10, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    So why not call the website company and have them show the house…

  3. Corey K

    January 10, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    While I can agree being lied to about the meetings intentions is not cool. One thing I have learned in my many years of sales experience is, “Buyers are Liars”. This will always be the case.

  4. Charleston real estate blog

    January 10, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Benn, I’ll take a page from Jeff Brown and write a short essay with a slightly different twist on buyers in today’s market:

    I received this email from someone who had been registered on my website. As you’ll see, they didn’t choose to use me but went the do it yourself route instead.

    “My husband and I have signed an agreement on a new construction home in the Charleston area and agreed to go with their lender and closing attorney. Now we feel we may have jumped in too quick, as this is our first home buying experience. We are realizing that their lenders may not always act in our best interest and would like to have someone with experience on our side. Does this sound like something you could help us out with? We initially signed up with an internet company where we found the listing for the development but again not sure if they are really in it for us. Thanks.”

    The only help I could provide them at that point in time was to suggest they seek the advice of a good real estate attorney. But it illustrates the do it yourself, know nothing at all kind of mistake that many buyers have made and will continue to make trading by competency for a rebate.

    Until the consumer public understands the real value a real estate agent can bring to the transaction, many will choose to skip the service or attempt to reduce the cost of the service and in this case sadly, at a much higher price. Our real job is to communicate the value that we offer to the client; failing to do that will cause many agents to be cut out of the deal or be forced to reduce their fees.

  5. Benn Rosales

    January 10, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    great example…

  6. Benn Rosales

    January 10, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Corey, sure, thats always been true, even myself as a buyer will lie about income if it means I get less on a sales price. I’ve never been honest about what I’ll pay on something, but this is just a new low and very unnecessary…

  7. Kelley Koehler

    January 10, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    See, I was hoping this wouldn’t go there. I hate that phrase. Most of the people I work with are not telling me lies. It’s rare for me to come across someone who is lying to me to try and maniuplate something. I know they exist, and I’ve run across my share. But the majority of my buyers have honest intentions.

  8. Charleston real estate blog

    January 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Kelley, I agree with you, to call all buyers liars is unfair to the very nice people we have all been fortunate enough to work with.

  9. ines

    January 10, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    I just shook my head back and forth while I read this. It’s a sad day when buyers feel like they have to manipulate a situation to get what they want.

    They will ultimately end up working with someone that will manipulate them into overpaying, and overlooking important factors.

  10. Benn Rosales

    January 11, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Kelley, I cringed when I saw that comment, I’m just making the point that regardless of the phrase, it’s still a new low.

    To your point, when you are an actual client, there isn’t a REASON to lie- it would make representation moot. It is those who do not want to be sold or closed by someone selling them somthing that tend to lie, as I said, I am guilty of that phrase, that doesn’t make me a liar by nature- I’m actually being defensive.

  11. Kelley Koehler

    January 11, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Benn – yah, I understand that wasn’t your point, and I agree with you. Also about fibbing when defensive. It’s not Buyers are Liars, it’s Buyers are Liars because their agent has failed to ____________. I hear that phrased tossed around about current clients, and it infurates me to no end. 9 times of 10, it’s not them, it’s you, dummy.

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Opinion Editorials

Job listings are popping up left and right, so what exactly *is* UX writing?

(EDITORIAL) While UX writing is not technically new, it is seemingly becoming more and more prevalent. The job titles are everywhere, so what is it?



UX writing

The work of a UX writer is something you come across every day. Whether you’re hailing an Uber or browsing Spotify for that one Drake song, your overall user experience is affected by the words you read at each touchpoint.

A UX writer facilitates a smooth interaction between user and product at each of these touchpoints through carefully chosen words.

Some of the most common touchpoints these writers work on are interface copy, emails, and notifications. It doesn’t sound like the most thrilling stuff, but imagine using your favorite apps without all the thoughtful confirmation messages we take for granted. Take Eat24’s food delivery app, instead of a boring loading visual, users get a witty message like “smoking salmon” or “slurping noodles.”

Eat24’s app has UX writing that works because it’s engaging.

Xfinity’s mobile app provides a pleasant user experience by being intuitive. Shows that are available on your phone are clearly labeled under “Available Out of Home.” I’m bummed that Law & Order: SVU isn’t available, but thanks to thoughtful UX writing at least I knew that sad fact ahead of time.

Regardless of where you find these writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must-have. Excellent communication skills are a must. The ability to empathize with the user is on almost every job post. But from my own experience working with UX teams, I’d argue for the ability to advocate as the most important skill.

UX writers may have a very specialized mission, but they typically work within a greater user experience design team. In larger companies, some UX writers even work with a smaller team of fellow writers. Decisions aren’t made in isolation. You can be the wittiest writer, with a design decision based on obsessive user research, but if you can’t advocate for those decisions then what’s the point?

I mentioned several soft skills, but that doesn’t mean aspiring UX writers can’t benefit from developing a few specific tech skills. While the field doesn’t require a background in web development, UX writers often collaborate with engineering teams. Learning some basic web development principles such as responsive design can help writers create a better user experience across all devices. In a world of rapid prototyping, I’d also suggest learning a few prototyping apps. Several are free to try and super intuitive.

Now that the UX in front of the writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User-centric design isn’t going anywhere and with everyone getting into the automation game, you can expect even more opportunities in UX writing.

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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.



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.

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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.

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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.

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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.



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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