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Opinion Editorials

Want My Respect? Earn It.

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In real estate, as in any other profession and life in general, respect has to be earned. IMHO, It’s not something I should give you “just because”. You have to demonstrate through actions as well as words that you deserve respect on a professional (and personal) level. Perhaps some agents agree with me, but it seems some agents do not.

Why do I say that some agent don’t agree?

Because here are some of the things I hear come out of agents mouths thinking it will earn my respect (or fear) yet, will never do so:

  • “I’ve been in the business for ______ “ (I don’t care-there are plenty of crappy, sleazy people that have been in their respective profession for 10, 15, 20+ years too.)
  • “I got in the business before you were born” (So you’re at least 50-happy birthday!)
  • “My son is your age” (So you have a son-congrats.)
  • “I’ve never heard of your brokerage firm. Is it new and did you just start in real estate?” (So you don’t pay attention to your competitors and don’t do any research before you comment.)
  • “I’ve been on ___ committees and I know all rules and regulations!” (Really? Then why did you just violate the COE with a comment in your listing remarks on the MLS?)
  • “I’m familiar with short-sales and foreclosures because I’ve been in the business for ____ years” (Then why are you claiming that the short-sale process is complete and all you need is the ratified contract when your seller hasn’t even written a hardship letter to the bank yet and you don’t know if there’s a secod trust or not?)
  • “You must accept a lower commission than advertised if the bank counters with a lower commission-I know the MRIS rules and regulations” (You don’t say… Check out Article X, Sec 2 of the MRIS rules/regulations. And grow some cahunas and say “no” to the bank when they ask you to do something like that-you are worth your commission, aren’t you?)

How do you earn my respect?

By demonstrating that you deserve respect by your words…and actions. Here’s a sample list:

  • Know what you’re talking about
  • Negotiate well
  • Follow through with what you say
  • Be honest with me
  • Act ethically and morally
  • Ask for help if you need it
  • Tell me I’m wrong when I am. But make it constructive criticism, not badgering
  • Rather than leaving my client and I in the dark, give me information that will help me plead your case to my client and calm then down
  • If you haven’t called me within the last 2 weeks, don’t be pissed off if I call you to touch base regarding my client’s offer on your short-sale listing (I’m not calling you every other day)
  • (And don’t use any of the lines in the previous part of this post)

You won’t earn respect through a lack of manners or a huge ego. If you have manners and your ego isn’t the size of Texas, then you’re probably already earning the respect of those around you. As for the others who replaced their maners with their ego, all they will do is alienate themselves from everyone around them (except for those just like them which is not a pleasant thought).

How do you earn respect?

Danilo Bogdanovic is a Real Estate Consultant/REALTOR(R) in Northern Virginia and author/owner of LoudounScene.com and LoudounForeclosures.com. Danilo serves on various committees with the Dulles Area Association of REALTORS(R) and the Virginia Association of REALTORS(R).

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Matt Wilkins

    September 17, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Well done. I do think you can strike a balance between working in the best interest of your clients and cooperating with the opposing side to achieve the goal. The biggest thing is to keep your cool and don’t let what other people say (true or not) phase you.

  2. Jay Thompson

    September 17, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Hear that? It’s thunderous applause from Phoenix….

    “How do you earn respect?”
    By providing superior customer service in all aspects of what we do. That clearly falls mostly to the client side, but in many ways everyone else involved in a real estate transaction — including the agent on the other side — are “customers”.

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    September 17, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Agent Comment: “I’ve been doing it this way for 25 years!”
    My Response: “The fact that you’ve been screwing it up 25 years, doesn’t make you right TODAY!”

    The agent’s reliance on their years of experience is startling to me. Agents who claim their number of years as a basis for their superioty, as opposed to their abilty to learn and adapt to an ever changing industry does not impress me. Yes, we all learn things as we go along, we gain wisdom and foundations that you can get with experience, however reliance on past experiences WITHOUT situational awareness and looking forward to learning what the industry CAN and SHOULD be are liabilities to themselves, their brokers and their clients.

    Don’t misunderstand…. I think we should have a healthy appreciation for someone how has survived this industry and be open to what we can learn from them. They in turn should have learned after the first year that there is not one single super-agent who knows everything….

  4. Matthew Rathbun

    September 17, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    BTW: I also think it’s important to understand the difference of “respect” and being “professional.” I don’t expect anyone to respect me until I can prove I’ve earned it, however I do expect professional courtsey and apprioprate interaction, until you’ve figured out that I am really am stupid 🙂

  5. Natalie Langford

    September 17, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    When you think of it, earning your respect isn’t that tough – it’s just a matter of doing the right thing. But it’s so EASY not to do the right thing!

    When @bkmcae wrote: “…your latest AG post is un-freakin-believeably good. nice work. *clapping*…”, I had to check this post out. If plagiarism were a good thing, I’d copy this word for word and post it on my own blog. (but plagiarism is bad…very bad)

  6. Danilo Bogdanovic

    September 17, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Matt – I stay cool most of the time and never lose my poker face around those types of people. But once in a while I have to vent (thank goodness for AG)

    Jay – Thank you! And well said.

    Matthew – Yes, there’s definitely a distinction between the two. I just thought that being professional was a given (but then I quicly remembered that it’s not always the case).

    Natalie – In the long run, doing the right thing always ends up to be the easier thing. Btw…I pay @bkmcae well 😉

  7. Daniel Bates

    September 18, 2008 at 4:18 am

    I’d love it if all every agent picked out of this was “act ethically and morally”. I’m so tired of other agents who claim to be ethical and the first time they’re in a dilemma they choose to run to the dark side. I also like the idea of asking for help when you need, which goes along with trying to help clients when you’re over your head and don’t know a thing about the area you’re in.

  8. Matthew Rathbun

    September 18, 2008 at 5:07 am

    D, I think YOU’RE professional, I just think there are several other agents who aren’t…

    Daniel: It’s been my experience (I’ve worked with professional standards and risk management for several years, now) that unethical behavior is almost always situational. It’s almost always a good person making a bad decision “in the heat of the moment”. Those people get complaints. Don’t misunderstand, I think bad decisions should hold consequence.

    However, the truly nefarious ones; the ones who intentionally go out to hurt people are much craftier and plan it out in such a was as to be less culpable. Those are the people who I am most concerned about. Thank goodness they are the minority…

  9. Thomas Johnson

    September 18, 2008 at 7:49 am

    “You must accept a lower commission than advertised if the bank counters with a lower commission-I know the MRIS rules and regulations”

    We have been collecting full cooperation after the deal has closed from the listing broker. All commissions offered in MLS are unconditional. It is a slam dunk to appeal this before the MLS committee.

  10. ines

    September 18, 2008 at 8:22 am

    More applause from Miami! and a woot woot!

    Would love to close a deal with you….it would be a walk in the park – even if confronted with mammoth obstacles

  11. Claude Labbe

    October 10, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    “act ethically and honestly”, also includes certain standards of respect not only for me, but for my client, as well as your own (other agent’s) client.

    When I see the other agent treat either client in a way that causes concern, my own radar starts trying to see if there are other issues that are being covered up. Being professional includes all other parties & players & vendors to the transaction, not just “me” who may hold the key to the sale at the moment.

  12. Houstonblogger

    December 29, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Would it be inappropriate for me to announce my love for you right here, right now? I swear to God, if I hear “I’ve been in the business blah, blah, blah….”, one more time, I will bitch-slap someone. Sorry for the apparent pent up anger on this, but I get this daily. Not only from across the table in a contract I am negotiating, but in my own office, from people whom I feel I could school after a mere two years in the industry. Please note, I do not think I am superior in any way. I just don’t appreciate those who do and have yet to prove to me why they are.

    If you’ve been in the business for such a damn long time, then perhaps you need a refresher course on rules, regulations, laws, ethics, practice and plain common courtesy. Just sayin’.

  13. Janie Coffey

    December 29, 2009 at 8:32 am

    hahaha, my business partner and I, like you, are younger and own our own small boutique brokerage and hear lots of those comments, my most favorite was an aging female agent said to my 6′ tall blond business partner, Shelly, “I have jeans older than you”, to which Shelly cooly replied “Well, isn’t that unfortunate?” and calmly walked off, leaving the female agent’s jaw on the ground!

    • Houstonblogger

      December 29, 2009 at 8:35 am

      I love Shelly.

      • Janie Coffey

        December 29, 2009 at 8:39 am

        she is English and has this dry hard-a$$ sense of wit that you do not want to mess around with. I am pushing her to let me make Shelly.TV with her razor sharp sarcastic view of Real Estate. I’ll let you know if she concedes, it would be rolling on the ground hilarious..

  14. Houstonblogger

    December 29, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Sounds great! Keep me posted. I also work for a small boutique firm! Love it, love it, love it!

  15. Karen Cloke Rodriguez

    January 7, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Oh, did I cringe when I saw the first line ” I’ve been in the business for____ years!” I had a very unprofessional agent say that to me and I said, “No ma’am. You have been in the real estate business ONE year. And unfortunately, you been repeating it for the last 14.”

  16. Danilo Bogdanovic

    January 7, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Karen – That gets the “Best Response Ever” award!

  17. Patrick Flynn

    July 13, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Having the luxury of Instructing many agents from “outside” my own firm, I can tell you there are a great deal of ‘self-important’ folks in our industry that feel time in the business equals knowledge…nothing could be further from the truth. Your comments and points are awesome and I appreciate your stance on this post! Great job!

  18. Dunes

    July 13, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Danilo

    I think it’s been over a year now since I told ya at Trulia that it was a Breath of Fresh air to hear from someone who was obviously a True RE Professional & someone the RE Industry should be glad had chosen RE as a career..

    Ya been provin me right ever since….Thanks

    Now if this follows the pattern at Trulia every Agent with a license will show up and post how they are Honest and agree with you, then provide their Contact info ; )

    Thanks again for taking the time to share here..AG is better for it IMHO

  19. Danilo Bogdanovic

    July 14, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Thank you Patrick and Dunes!

  20. Greg Lyles

    September 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly. There are agents in the Atlanta market who’ve been around forever and get tons of business and know very, very little about real estate. So, how do y’all (notice that Southernism?) compete with people like that?

    We’ve all been schooled that we don’t knock our competition. But it has gotten to the point these people will say ANYTHING because nobody challenges them on it. Like one agent who claims $35 million in sales, yet did only about $2.5 million (the “team” did the other $32.5 million, but there’s no disclosure of that!). This same agent once asked me for a huge list of builder contacts because the developer of several lots came into the office and wanted to know what the agent had done to market his lots. He was going to take my list and tell him he had contacted everyone on it – when, in fact, he hadn’t done anything more than put a sign out and put the lots into the MLS.

    Or how about a broker who gives agents one chart this week saying what a good time it is to sell, and another chart the next week extolling the need for a price reduction! When I challenged them on this – and brought to their attention that I knew it wasn’t just our submarket, but the entire Metro Atlanta region, I was asked, “Can we count on you to be a team player?”. Well, no, you can’t. Not if it means misrepresenting the numbers to my clients so you can pay for your fancy offices and advertising.

    Or, and I promise this is the last example, the multitude of “teams” that claim they are the leader in this, or the best at that, but when you look at the actual performance of their team members it is abyssmal. But the public doesn’t know that. They take these people at their word.

    These are examples from agents at two of the most respected firms in our market. So, how do you compete with that if you can’t call them out for it?

    Y’alls thoughts?

  21. Anthony Rueda

    September 8, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Very nice post, I can honestly say I agree with everything that was written in this post. It’s so nice to work with an agent who is professional, honest, does what he says, and doesn’t disappear when a problem pops up.

  22. Rob McCance

    September 10, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Dood!

    Love it!!

    Great post.

    Just to add – I find that when you try to correct one of these know-it-alls they get very defensive very quickly.

    I recently had to explain to a very cocky agent that her lack of communication and our perceived personality incompatabilities have nothing to do with this deal.

    I told her:

    “I’m representing a buyer attempting to buy a home from your seller. If you let our personalities get in the way of this transaction, then you can add that to the list of other regulations you have already violated as well..”

    That didn’t have much effect either. Seems as they get more “experienced” the worse they get with slushing through all the strict rigid ways these transactions are supposed to be handled.

    So, the “I’ve been a realtor for 25 years” argument is actually one of the worst defenses they can deliver.

    babbling now, bye bye.

  23. Sheila Rasak

    September 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Trying to correct another Realtor is like trying to get them to grow up. I prefer to be responsible for my side of the street and allow the other to be their lovely selves. If there’s a clear violation of ethical duties, it merely gets reported and I move on with my job.

  24. Cindy Marchant

    October 6, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I’ve had clients tell me from time to time when we start looking at houses or when we start the listing process how pleased they are with me or how great it was of me to do “x”; my response is always the same…I am hoping that compliment will be said at the closing table. At this point I am just doing my job…but by the time we get to the closing table I hope I have had the opportunity to “exceed your expectations”.
    Cindy in Indy

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Opinion Editorials

Strong leaders can use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) In the COVID-19 crisis, some leaders fumbled through it, while others quietly safeguarded 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 strong leaders can see their teams, their companies, and 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 occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve their 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 was disrupted and people are 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 leaders game plan, 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

7 sure-fire ways to carve out alone time when you’re working from home

(EDITORIAL) It can be easy to forget about self-care when you’re working from home, but it’s critical for your mental health, and your work quality.

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Woman in hijab sitting on couch, working from home on a laptop

We are all familiar with the syndrome, getting caught up in work, chores, taking care of others, and neglecting to take care of ourselves in the meantime. This has always been the case, but now, with more people working from home and a seemingly endless lineup of chores, thanks to the pandemic. There is simply so much to do.

The line is thinly drawn between personal and professional time already, with emails, cell phones, and devices relentlessly reaching out around the clock, pulling at us like zombie arms reaching up from the grave. Working from home makes this tendency to always be “on” worse, as living and working take place in such close proximity. We have to turn it off, though.

Our brains and bodies need downtime, me-time, and self-care. Carving out this time is one of the kindest and most important things you can do for yourself. If we can begin to honor ourselves like this, the outcome with not only our mental and physical health but also our productivity at work will be beneficial. When we make the time to do things we love, our mind’s gears slow down that constant grinding. Burnout behooves nobody.

Our work will also benefit. Healthier, happier, more well-rested, and well-treated minds and bodies can work wonders! Our immune systems also need this, and we need our immune systems to be at their peak performance this intense season.

I wanted to write this article because I have such a struggle with this in my own life. I need to print it out and put it in my workspace. Last week, I posted something on my social media pages that so many people shared. It is clear we all need these reminders, so I am paying it forward here. The graphic was a quote from Devyn W.

“If you are reading this, release your shoulders away from your ears, unclench your jaw, and drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth.”

There now, isn’t that remarkable? It is a great first step. Let go of the tension in your body, and check out these ways to make yourself some healing me-time while working from home.

  1. Set aside strict no-work times. This could be any time of day, but set the times and adhere to them strictly. This may look like taking a full hour for lunch, not checking email after a certain hour, or committing to spending that time outdoors, reading, exercising, or enjoying the company of your loved ones. Make this a daily routine, because we need these boundaries. Every. Single. Day.
  2. Remember not to apologize to anyone for taking this me-time. Mentally and physically you need this, and everyone will be better off if you do. It is nothing to apologize for! Building these work-free hours into your daily schedule will feel more normal as time goes on. This giving of time and space to your joy, health, and even basic human needs is what should be the norm, not the other way around.
  3. Give yourself a device-free hour or two every day, especially before bedtime. The pinging, dinging, and blinging keep us on edge. Restful sleep is one of the wonderful ways our bodies and brains heal and putting devices away before bedtime is one of the quick tips for getting better sleep.
  4. Of course, make time for the things you absolutely love. If this is a hot bath, getting a massage, reading books, working out, cooking or eating an extravagant meal, or talking and laughing with a loved one, you have to find a way to get this serotonin boost!
  5. Use the sunshine shortcut. It isn’t a cure-all, but sunlight and Vitamin D are mood boosters. At least when it’s not 107 degrees, like in a Texas summer. But as a general rule, taking in at least a good 10-15 minutes of that sweet, sweet Vitamin D provided by the sun is good for us.
  6. Spend time with animals! Walk your dog, shake that feathery thing at your cat, or snuggle either one. Whatever animals make you smile, spend time with them. If you don’t have pets of your own, you could volunteer to walk them at a local shelter or even watch a cute animal video online. They are shown to reduce stress. Best case scenario is in person if you are able, but thankfully the internet is bursting with adorable animal videos, as a backup.
  7. Give in to a bit of planning or daydreaming about a big future trip. Spending time looking at all the places you will go in the future and even plotting out an itinerary are usually excellent mood-boosters.

I hope we can all improve our lives while working from home by making time for regenerating, healing, and having fun! Gotta run—the sun is out, and my dog is begging for a walk.

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Opinion Editorials

The one easy job interview question that often trips up applicants

(EDITORIAL) The easiest interview questions can be the hardest to answer, don’t let this one trip you up – come prepared!

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Women sitting nervously representing waiting for a remote job interview.

A job interview is tough, and preparing for them can seem impossible. There are some questions you can expect: what is your experience in this position? How would you handle this situation? And so on.

bar
But what about this question: what makes you happy? Though it may seem straightforward, getting to the right answer is not such an easy path.

Work engagement

According to research, less and less employees feel like they are truly engaged at work. Some blame the work environment but truth be told, it is not a company’s responsibility to make you happy.

Without a passion for what you are doing, you will never enjoy the job.

It is the best case for everyone. More engaged workers are more productive in addition to feeling like they serve a purpose.

Do your due diligence

So before finding yourself in an interview where you have to take an awkward pause before answering this question, the best thing is to do some research. It all starts with the job search.

When looking for a job it is easy to get caught up in high profile company names and perks.

For instance, although “Social Media Coordinator” may not be your thing, the position is open at the cool advertising agency downtown. Or perhaps the company offers flexible hours and free lunch Fridays. The problem is that these perks aren’t worth it in the long run. Working for a cool company can be exciting at first, but it is not sustainable without passion for the position.

It’s important to pay attention to is the position you are applying for.

Is this work that you are passionate about? Take a look at the job responsibilities and functions. Besides figuring out if those are things that you can do, ask yourself if they are things that you want to do. Is this an opportunity that will match your strengths and give you purpose?

Let your passion protrude

With all things considered, when asked “what makes you happy” at the next interview, you will be able to answer honestly. Your passion will be apparent without having to put on an act.

Even if they don’t ask that question, there is no downside to knowing what makes you happy.

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