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Opinion Editorials

Cute And Cuddly Clients

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Ewwww

Sometimes the dog – yes, like a cat – will drag some unidentifiable object into the house and proceed to eat it on the living room floor right at my feet.  Last night was exceptionally bad when he dragged this thing into the house that I had to put my nose up against just to see what it was.  Why would I want to get that close?  So I could evaluate what I was going to pick it up with – after I pried it out of his unwilling grip, of course.  Dead plant?  Paper towel.  Easy.  But no….it wasn’t a dead plant.  It was dead all right, but it wasn’t a plant. 

Still Soft And Cuddly

No, not the remains of the rat – the dog.  Even though he wrapped his furry paws around it, licked it, coddled it, chewed on it, he’s still a cute, fluffy little guy.  What’s this got to do with real estate?

So Glad You Asked

I’ve been working on a short sale since June.  I held my breath the week of August 29th when the bank finally announced that the September 2nd foreclosure sale had been delayed.  I normally avoid buyer represented short sales just like I try to discourage Myron from bringing bony remains into the house.  But the third-generation clients – not by age but by referral – saw it on the internet.  They saw the photos and knew the location.  They walked by.  They looked in the windows. 

I told them all the whys.  Why it’s a bad idea.  Why it will take forever.  Why after waiting forever they could still end up completely disappointed and without a home.  But what could I do?  They licked it, coddled it and chewed on it.

You Too?

What have you done for your clients just because they were cute and cuddly?

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate Blog.com.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Irina Netchaev

    September 10, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Vicky, what an adorable analogy! Love it!!!! I will go above and beyond for my referred clients. It’s the nature of the beast. They continue being adorable and cuddly & will send their adorable & cuddly family and friends my way. It’s all worth it in the end. BTW, I’ve seen some success with short sales in Pasadena. Hope this one will work out for you all.

  2. Chris Shouse

    September 10, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    LOL on the puppy. I am in the middle of a short sale right now so I feel the pain. I made closing 3 months out because the one before this was a nightmare and did not get resolved to my clients satisfaction. I do not understand the lenders reasoning as before it is over it will cost them a lot more than just negotiating the short sale.

  3. Mack

    September 11, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Last week I attended a class on short sales and the loss mitigation departments at the banks. The class was taught by an attorney that specializes in short sale transactions. One item that came out was that the loss mitigation departments are so covered because they by themselves can not make the decision. Most of the time there is also a mortgage insurance company who also has to approve the transaction and may nix it if they will have to fork out too much cash.

  4. Vicki Moore

    September 11, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Irina – I hope so too! It’s been a long road already.

    Chris – Isn’t that the truth. It makes me question – again – the banks’ ability to be involved in real estate.

    Mack – There are so many roadblocks to getting a short sale closed, I’m surprised that any of them actually do.

  5. Benn Rosales

    September 11, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Mack, that’s a really great point you make. I’m wondering when these companies will realize that the market could move if they would simply remove the bottlenecks. Agents across the country are so damn frustrated at the entire system and the drain in resources that they’re avoiding these things like the plague.

    There are some who are making great headway however, as their entire focus is now shortsales- so, it can be done, but it would still be a hell of a lot easier if someone would apply a little draino to the situation.

  6. Mack

    September 11, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks Benn. Another bit of information that the attorney brought out was that the banks are getting paid to do short sales instead if foreclosing on properties. This of course increases the number of files that each person in the loss mitigation department has to deal with. Just another clog in the drain of short sales.

  7. Jamie Geiger

    September 11, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    I have closed one short sale, canceled one, and now have a new one in escrow-they are hard to avoid in many areas. I warn and educate buyers of the short sale process, give them the statistics and then pray if we end up waiting for the bank.

    if there is a choice in the area-and enough homes for my buyers to look at- I stay away from the short sales.

  8. Matthew Rathbun

    September 12, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Mack / Benn: These bottlenecks would be resolved if the government would put the money they are using to bail everyone in the world out – and instead would take that money to put government employees in the banks overseeing unnecessary delays. There is NO acceptable reason for these decisions taking months on end to get denials for. The numbers work or they don’t.

    I really believe that the banks are dragging their feet in all these processing, simply awaiting more bailout money.

    The more Loss Mitigators I talk to, the more I realize that they are under trained, overworked and lacking in oversight. They simply don’t have the authority they need to make a decision and the few real decision makers are busy do too many other jobs…

  9. Matthew Rathbun

    September 12, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    BTW: Vicki – My wife would never let me work with the cute / cuddly clients 🙂

    yes…I’ve actually had clients I worked with just because they “needed” me; not because it was a good business decision. Almost always these lost puppies took forever to housebreak and than I still had to give them to some rookie SPCA Agent 🙂

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Opinion Editorials

The actual reasons people choose to work at startups

(EDITORIAL) Startups have a lot going for them, environment, communication, visible growth. But why else would you work for one?

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Startups meeting led by Black woman.

Startups are perpetually viewed as the quintessential millennial paradise with all of the accompanying perks: Flexible hours, in-house table tennis, and long holidays. With this reputation so massively ingrained in the popular perception of startups, is it foolish to think that their employees actually care about the work that startup companies accomplish?

Well, yes and no.

The average startup has a few benefits that traditional business models can’t touch. These benefits often include things like open communication, a relaxed social hierarchy, and proximity to the startup’s mission. That last one is especially important: While larger businesses keep several degrees of separation between their employees and their end goals, startups put the stakes out in the open, allowing employees to find personal motivation to succeed.

When employees find themselves personally fulfilled by their work, that work reaps many of the benefits in the employee’s dedication, which in turn helps the startup propagate. Many aspiring startup employees know this and are eager to “find themselves” through their work.

Nevertheless, the allure of your average startup doesn’t always come from the opportunity to work on “something that matters.”

Tiffany Philippou touches on this concept by pointing out that “People come to work for you because they need money to live… [s]tartups actually offer pretty decent salaries these days.”

It’s true that many employees in their early to late twenties will likely take any available job, so assuming that your startup’s 25-and-under employee base is as committed to finding new uses for plastic as you are may be a bit naïve—indeed, this is a notion that holds true for any business, regardless of size or persuasion.

However, startup experience can color a young employee’s perception of their own self-worth. This allows them to pursue more personally tailored employment opportunities down the road—and that’s not a bad legacy to have.

Additionally, startups often offer—and even encourage—a level of personal connection and interactivity that employees simply won’t find in larger, more established workplaces. That isn’t symptomatic of startups being too laid-back or operating under loosely defined parameters. Instead, it’s a clue that work environments that facilitate personalities rather than rote productivity may stand to get more out of their employees.

Finally, your average startup has a limited number of spots, each of which has a clearly defined role and a possibility for massive growth. An employee of a startup doesn’t typically have to question their purpose in the company—it’s laid out for them; who are we to question their dedication to fulfilling it?

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Opinion Editorials

How Peloton has developed a cult-following

(OPINION EDITORIALS) How has Peloton gotten so popular? Turns out there are some clear takeaways from the bike company’s wildly successful model.

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Man riding Peloton bike with instructor pointing encouragingly during workout.

Peloton is certainly not the first company to gain a cult-like following–in the past we’ve talked about other brands with similar levels of devotion, like Crossfit and Yeti. Now, full disclosure: I’m not an exercise buff, so while I’d vaguely heard of Peloton–a company that sells stationary bikes–I had no idea it was such a big deal.

I mean, it’s not really surprising that an at-home bike that offers the option for cycling classes has grown so much during the pandemic era (a sales growth of 172% to be exact). But Peloton has been highly popular within its fanbase for years now. So, what gives? A few factors, actually.

Vertical Integration

If your company really wants to guarantee the vision and quality you’re aiming for, one of the best ways to enact it is through vertical integration, where a company owns or controls more than one part of its supply chain. Take Netflix, for example, which not only distributes media, but creates original media. Vertical integration lets companies bypass areas that are otherwise left to chance with third-party suppliers.

Peloton uses vertical integration–everything from the bike to its Wi-Fi connected tablet to the classes taught are created by Peloton. Although this may have made the bike more expensive than other at-home exercise bikes, it has also allowed Peloton to create higher quality products. And it’s worked. Many people who start on a Peloton bike comment on how the machine itself is well-built.

Takeaway: Are there any parts of your business process that you can improve in-house, rather than outsourcing?

Going Live

But with people also shelling out $40 a month for access to the training regimen Peloton provides, there’s more going on than simply high-quality craftsmanship.

Hey, plenty of cults have charismatic leaders, and Peloton is no exception. Okay, joking about the cult leader part, but really, people love their trainers. Just listen to this blogger chat about some of her favorites; people are connecting with this very human element of training. So much so that many people face blowback when suggesting they might like training without the trainers!

The trainers are only part of this puzzle though–attending live classes is a large draw. Well, as live as something can be when streamed into your house. Still, with classmate usernames and stats available while you ride, and teachers able to respond in real time to your “class,” this can simulate an in-person class without the struggle of a commute.

Takeaway: People want to see the human side of a business! Are there any ways your company could go live and provide that connection?

Getting Competitive

Pandemic aside, you can get a decent bike and workout class at an actual gym. But the folks at Peloton have one other major trick up their sleeve: Competition. Whether you’re attending a live session or catching up on a pre-recorded ride, you’re constantly competing against each other and your own records.

These leaderboards provide a constant stream of goals while you’re working out. Small accomplishments like these can help boost your dopamine, which can be the burst of good feeling you need while your legs are burning mid-workout. With this in mind, it’s no wonder why Peloton fans might be into it.

Takeaway: Is there a way to cater to your audience’s competitive side?

Conclusion

At the end of the day, of course, Peloton also has the advantage of taking a unique idea (live-streamed cycle classes built into your at-home bike) and doing it first. Plus, they just happened to be poised to succeed during a quarantine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from what Peloton is doing right to build your own community of fanatics. There are plenty of people out there just waiting to get excited about a brand like yours!

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Opinion Editorials

How a simple period in your text message might be misinterpreted: Tips to improve your virtual communication

(OPINION/EDITORIAL) Text, email, and IM messages may be received differently depending on your communication style and who you’re communicating with. Here’s some ways to be more mindful.

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Black woman smiling in communication talking on phone and laptop in front of her.

Life is full of decisions, learning, hopefully some adventure, and “growth opportunities” through our careers and work. One that some of us may have never considered is how our text, email or IM communication comes across to the receiver – thus providing us a growth opportunity to take a look at our own personal communication styles.

It may have never occurred to us that others would take it a different way. After all, we know ourselves, we can hear our voices in our heads. We know when we are joking, being sarcastic, or simply making a statement. The way we communicate is built upon how we were raised, what our English teachers stressed, and even what we’ve been taught through our generational lens.

NPR put out an article recently, “Are Your Texts Passive-Aggressive? The Answer May Lie in Your Punctuation”. This article discussed what to consider in regards to your punctuation in text.

“But in text messaging — at least for younger adults — periods do more than just end a sentence: They also can set a tone.” Gretchen McCulloch, a linguist and author of the book Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language, told NPR’s All Things Considered last year that when it comes to text messaging,”the period has lost its original purpose. Rather than needing a symbol to indicate the end of a sentence, you can simply hit send on your message.”

While it may seem silly that the receiver would think you are mad at them because you used a period, here are some things to consider in our virtual communication now that we are all much more digital:

  • There are no facial expressions in a text except for emojis (which, even then, could be left up to misinterpretation)
  • There’s no sound of voice or inflection to indicate tone
  • We are emailing, texting, and sending instant messages at an alarming rate now that we are not having as many in-person interactions with our colleagues

Gen Z (b. 1995 – 2015), who are the most recent generation to enter the workplace, grew up with much quicker forms of communication with their earlier access to tech. They’ve had a different speed of stimulation via YouTube videos, games, and apps. They may have never experienced the internet speed via a dial-up modem so they are used to instantaneous results.

They also have quickly adapted and evolved through their use of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and now TikTok. The last two platforms are designed for pretty brief attention spans, which indicates our adaptation to fast communication.

Generational shaming is out and uncomfortable but necessary conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion are in (which includes ageism). You can’t just chalk it up as “those kids” don’t understand you, or that they need to learn and “pay their dues”.

So if you are of an older generation and even a manager, here are some considerations that you can take regarding your virtual communications:

1. Consider having yourself and your team take a DiSC assessment.

“The DiSC® model provides a common language that people can use to better understand themselves and to adapt their behaviors with others — within a work team, a sales relationship, a leadership position, or other relationships.

DiSC profiles help you and your team:

  • Increase your self-knowledge: How you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress, and how you solve problems
  • Improve working relationships by recognizing the communication needs of team members
  • Facilitate better teamwork and teach productive conflict
  • Develop stronger sales skills by identifying and responding to customer styles
  • Manage more effectively by understanding the dispositions and priorities of employees and team members

This quiz is designed to help you identify your main communication style. It helps you to be more conscious of how your style may come across to others. Does it builds relationships, or create silent conflicts? It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change, but you can adapt your style to best fit your team.

2. Always ask your direct reports about their preferred method of communication (call, text, email, IM, meeting).

Retain this information and do your best to meet them where they are. It would also be helpful to share your preferred method with them and ask them to do their best to meet you where you are.

3. Consider putting composed emails in your drafts if you are fired up, frustrated, or down right angry with your team.

You may feel like you are being direct. But since tone will be lost virtually, your message may not come across the way you mean it, and it may be de-motivating to the receiver. Let it sit in drafts and come back to it a little bit later. Does your draft say all you need to say, or could it be edited to be a little less harsh? Would this be better as a meeting (whether video or phone) over a written communication? Now the receiver has a chance to see you and have a conversation rather than feeling put on blast.

And finally, be curious.

Check out Lindsey Pollak’s books or podcast on the best ways to work with a variety of generations in your organization. Lindsey is a Multigenerational Work Expert and she does a great job explaining her research to drive multigenerational workplace success. She gives ideas on what all employees, managers, and even corporations should consider as we experience so many generations and communication styles in the workplace at the same time.

You may laugh that your children or employees think you are mad at them when you use a period in a text. But there’s a lot more behind it to consider. It may take adaptation on all sides as communication styles and the “future of work” continue to evolve.

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