When asked to make a judgement call, are you ready? You signed on for a lot of responsibility. You’re committed to high professional standards, but seemingly-small things could undermine your judgement.
You are a real estate professional. You are expected to perform and communicate using competence, skill, and knowledge at professional levels that you maintain above the average:
• In our continually-changing world, that also includes keeping up with relevant technology and online practices that impact buyers, sellers, and the industry.
• In ever-changing real estate markets, that demands an in-depth understanding of listed, sold, and expired properties, including the pace at which different types of properties sell.
• In continually-shifting financial markets, that requires knowledge of current interest rates, lender policies, and everything essential to buyers successfully arranging a mortgage and everything necessary to protect sellers’ interests.
• As a licensed professional that means knowing everything and anything necessary to serve clients and the public in the legal context of agency law and relevant legislation.
Yes, that’s a complex chain of responsibility and you may be the weakest link. To ensure your judgement is at its best when called on, consider our Five Good Judgement Calls:
Good Judgement Call #1: Protect Your Brain
If you’re sleep-deprived, dehydrated, super-hungry, or all of the above, your brain is not working as well as it can and your judgement may be dangerously off.
The tremendous demands of delivering high-quality client services and juggling the realities of selling real estate can make sleeping, drinking water, and eating nutritiously seem like interruptions or time-wasters. Wrong!
Get organized to make it easy to stay well-rested, hydrated, and well-fed for maximum brain energy. Ramp up your self-discipline before you continue screen time into the bedroom, before you choose coffee over water, and before you turn to junk food over real food. You cannot survive being available 24/7, so carve out times when you will not be accessible. If necessary, enlist a colleague to fill in. Identify time-wasting activities and get rid of them. These good judgement calls should ensure you remain 100% ready for anything.
Good Judgement Call #2: Shift to “Productive” from “Busy”
When a colleague or peer asks how you are, do you answer “busy” and start talking about how stressed out you are?
• Or, do you thank them for asking, answer “very productive” or words to that effect, and ask them how business is going for them? Take every opportunity to learn from others and build work relationships. Resist the temptation to share whining.
• For professionals, being stressed out should not be a topic of conversation nor remain a state of mind for long. Good judgement and action are required. Decide what’s at the core of the stress and what you can do about it and act.
• Too many challenges at once? Write down the top three things you’re stressing over right now or that are holding you back. “Top three” means fix them and significant changes occur. Use your best judgement to select which one to tackle first.
Good Judgement Call #3: Self-Disruption
Don’t confuse “my style” with “habits.” Let go of what’s not working, anything not cost-effective, all that is dated, and anything not generating revenue or building brand..
Efficiencies exist around us, but everyday time pressures keep us repeating inefficiencies instead of investing a little to achieve significant improvements:
• Do you continue to advertise regularly or to spend on marketing to a long-established farm area, even though your efforts do not generate enough revenue to cover costs and time spent? Let go and move on to marketing that gets results and feeds your bottom line.
• Do you continue to consider everyone you’ve ever worked with, successfully or otherwise, as a “client”? You may think of your client base as running in the hundreds, but how many individuals have you been in touch with to determine whether they are actually part of your current target market?
• If you’re asking “what target market?” after reading the previous bullet, you’re long overdue determining exactly where your success lies. Identify the types of buyers or sellers you’ll benefit from investing your time in—your target. Research to ensure selected target groups have the revenue potential you need.
Good Judgement Call #4: I Am Not Indispensable
Stop trying to do everything yourself. Back-off trying to help everyone at your own expense. Delegate whenever possible. Hire services or part-timers to handle tasks that do not require an experienced real estate professional. Build a network or team of colleagues who you can work-share with.
• Take refreshing vacations.
• Daily, weekly, and monthly breaks are essential.
• Anticipate emergencies and put plans in place so your practice and clients are protected. Ask “What if…?” about all the things that matter…from your phone, website, and social media profiles to your home, car/bicycle…everything that keeps you going.
• Back-up everything that matters. Save a copy of back-ups off-site.
Good Judgement Call #5: Protect Your Reputation
As a professional, you’re responsible for everything you did and should have done but didn’t. Good judgement protects you by ensuring you keep copies, diarize events, follow required procedures, back-up everything, and never post, email, or text comments, photos, or videos that you wouldn’t feel pleased to see as New York Times headlines.
If you are asked for a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship consider what could go wrong or be misinterpreted about your involvement. There may be reasons why something went wrong, but there are no excuses you can make which will preserve your hard-earned trust and credibility after they’re gone.
When you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, concentrate on driving safely. Pedestrians and bicycle riders can be less than attentive to preserving their own safety, so drivers must do more. Preoccupation with a sales crisis and time pressures must be left at the curb. Hands-free use of mobile devices may still be too much of a distraction when trying to drive and keep a deal together where every word counts. Protect everyone.
After your reputation becomes tarnished, there may not be much that can be done to reverse the situation. That’s why protecting your reputation through anticipation, maintaining focus, and thorough investigation reflects good judgement.
How many of our Five Good Judgement Calls have you made already?
Not making these calls requires judgement, too—bad judgement!