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Opinion Editorials

When Life Happens, Refer Them Out

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Life Happens

It can be one of the most difficult and agonizing decisions we make. And unfortunately, all too many times, we’re simply not ‘aware’ that a decision needs to be made.

Let’s face it, we’re human, and we’re all susceptible to those traumatic events in life – situations which paralyze our judgment, drain our energy, or otherwise hinder us from diligently representing our client’s best interests.

These events are different for each us, we all have varying thresholds of endurance.

A sudden death in the family. An debilitating illness. Financial woes. Marital stress or divorce.

Doing our ‘Rocky’ impression

We rarely go down without a fight. We compel ourselves to buckle up and persevere. We’re used to adversity, we embrace challenge, it runs in our blood. And so we convince ourselves to keep moving forward, and to ignore the signs.

Tell Tale Signs

It typically starts out with something small and basic – an unreturned phone call, or a task uncompleted. An seemingly innocent mistake, for sure, but certainly out of character for how we normally conduct our business. Maybe next, we’re late for an appointment, or we miss a deadline on some project. We begin to lose our focus, and eventually, our drive.

Ignorance isn’t Bliss

Our inability to recognize that it’s time to call in the cavalry can cost us clients, revenue, and hard-earned reputation.

Tough Times demand Tough Questions

When you experience these major traumatic ‘Life Happening’ circumstances, take a moment to evaluate your current book. How many clients am I presently working with? Where are we in the process? Can I honestly handle the workload, and represent their interests fully? Does it make sense to refer them out to someone else? How long will this current circumstance affect my production? What can I do now to improve my situation, and work towards full capacity?

These are really tough questions. And unfortunately, all too many times we aren’t willing to confront or address the issue early on, and simply try to avoid it until our business self-destructs.

25% of Something beats 100% of Nothing

‘Life Happens’ to all of us. None of us are exempt. But we can control how we respond to difficulties, so that our business remains intact, and our valued clients receive the treatment they deserve!

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Jessica Beganski

    September 20, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    I recently almost had a transaction with an agent who went on vacation for two weeks and had about 30 listings at once.

    I say almost because she didn’t have an assistant, a team or even a broker who knew anything about her listings. Her approach seemed to be “if it sells, it sells.” I gave her way more opportunties then I normally would to allow her to be a decent agent – return calls, answer questions, respond to the offer in a timely manner, etc. but she was so overwhelmed she just couldn’t do it.

    So, my buyer and I were so frustrated we just walked away. If I ever have a deal with her again, I’ll prep my clients…what agents don’t always realize is that word of mouth also applies to other agents.

  2. Broker Bryant

    September 20, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Rich, I can certainly relate to this post. I have been struggling for several weeks now to squeeze my business in between personal issues. I’ve managed to hand pick a few deals for myself but have referred out far more. We just do what we have to do and if we are not in a position to service the consumer the way we should then we MUST refer then out.

  3. Elaine Reese

    September 20, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Well, this is very timely for me as well. Of course, not nearly of the severity of BB as he cares for TLW.

  4. Matt Stigliano

    September 21, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Rich – This certainly hits home for me as this summer was full of a lot of ups and downs for me personally. I had just gotten a license was trying to get my feet wet and one after another, a string of unrelated events kept coming at me.

    Because of this I feel better equipped to handle the same sort of things when I’ve got a boatload of clients to work for. I know when I’ve got “too much on my plate” with career and personal and know when to step back and call in the cavalry for assistance.

    Seeing it in print always drives the issue home for me though, so I’m glad you wrote this and shared your thoughts.

  5. Missy Caulk

    September 21, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Rich, this is one of the reasons I have a TEAM, we cover for each other. I have found in my experience that other agents just don’t take as good of care for your clients as you and they expect.

    We all need help at times, and we can’t possibly be available 24/7.

    Last year when Allyssa had her car wreck, I had no worries, my team completely took over. This year one of my team members dad was in U M Hospitals for 6 weeks and we covered for her,

  6. Holli Boyd

    September 22, 2008 at 8:38 am

    I subscribe to this theory – not only when things get crazy in my personal life (and things always seem to be crazy!) but when I get referrals or leads to areas outside of my own local area. With the price of gas it just makes more sense for me to work in one area – to know it inside and out – and to let the other people fight over the rest of the capital district. I recently referred a buyer client who found me online to another agent in my office – it was a hard decision because she was looking in the 500-600k range. However, the area she was looking in was 45 minutes from where I work and the woman I referred her to lives and works there. It made sense – 25% of something is better then 0% of nothing is right! Because I have so many internet leads and refer all of those outside of my area out I have been getting many leads back from agents in kind. So I only work with the leads I want and I am not overwhelmed with travel and clients who I can’t service well. I highly recommend it! Thanks for another great AG article – it’s my favorite site for networking with other agents and I learn something daily!

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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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