Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The bigger view

Sometimes it is hard to take the bigger view of a situation. It is easy to get bogged down in the details.

This picture of Bogue Sound looking east towards Morehead City is truly a large view. Yet when I am piloting my boat on the sound, I end up paying a lot of attention to the next channel marker.

If I do that consistently I generally stay out of trouble. Normally I take short trips on our skiff, but my career and life are much longer journeys. Yet in their cases it is even harder at times to rise above the details and focus on the big picture.

I recently was confronted with a situation where someone did something unethical. Not only was it unethical, but it harmed my income at a time when there is not a lot of income.

The experience that I have had in the business world let me back away from the situation and look at what was really important, my client. I did not lose my cool, I went forward with the situation until it resolved itself without me having to do anything other than the right thing for my client.

It was actually pleasing to watch the problem resolve itself without any real intervention.

The appropriate things ended up happening. I'm not sure if the unethical person learned a lesson, but certainly their behavior only ended up hurting them and the person who decided to play the game with them.

There was no collateral damage and for that I'm happy. Maybe being able to go for a walk on the beach makes it easier to see the big picture. That is one of the great benefits of living where we live.

Here are some shots of a perfect beach trip which might help some folks step back enough to focus on the big picture.

If that doesn't work, some visit us on the Crystal Coast and take a real walk along the beach.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Treating customers right

Most people are aware that the real estate business is not booming these days.

While the market is changing things are still challenging. We certainly are not the only industry under the gun. Airlines, automakers, and restaurants just to name a few are all having their problems surviving the economic downturn.

Realtors® are not different than others, our costs are rising, and our incomes have certainly tanked.

I have often quoted Dennis Waitley's famous phrase, "Crisis is an opportunity riding dangerous wings." I believe that change is inevitable in most business. You either change or you go out of business.

However, change has to be carefully considered. Need jerk change can often be harmful. We have become a very value conscious society. If you bump your prices up and don't deliver more value for the money, you will likely have a problem.

On Monday, I gave some potential long term clients a ride around the county. I probably spent $25 dollars in gas. Yet I was able to show them in a couple of hours what might have taken them a couple of days to find and see.

I didn't ask for a buyer's agency before driving them around because they aren't ready to buy. I could have charged them $100 for being a tour guide, but that didn't make a lot of sense either.

It made the most sense to do what I have being doing all along, differentiate myself through the value and hard work that I bring to my clients

Trying to provide value to my clients has served me well, and I hope that the word of the extra efforts that I provide my clients continues to spread.

In the long run that will be worth more than $25 for gasoline

Monday, July 07, 2008

The proof is in the sandwich

In the tomato business, I think the real proof is in the sandwich, but it does not hurt to have some nice numbers on the digital scale.

So far this is the largest tomato that we have harvested from our three plants this year. It weighed an impressive 1.335 pounds on the scale.

I also took a picture of the tomato beside a tape measure. It measured around five inches across and was about 3.5 inches high.

Still the end result, this plate of tomatoes, was the key to some great Bacon, Letture, and Tomato sandwiches which we enjoyed on a recent trip to Reston, Virginia.

I continue to be surprised that are people in the world who do not like tomato sandwiches. Even my own son won't eat them. It is a good thing he is my flesh and blood, or I would have been checked out for not loving tomato sandwiches.

At our house on the coast, there are not many days during tomato season, June 1- December 19 that we don't have a tomato in something. In the heart of summer that something is usually a tomato sandwich of some sort. I even like toasted bologna, cheese, and tomato sandwiches.

Then there are boiled ham sandwiches with Swiss cheese and tomatoes. Tonight we made a pasta dish with grilled Italian sausage, fresh mushrooms, asiago cheese, three cheese spaghetti sauce and of course some fresh tomatoes. It was great on top of some bow tie pasta.

I even enjoy tomatoes in omelets. The tomato scare has not caused us any problems, but we are at the point with our crop that we have to either find more people to take some of them or start canning or freezing some.

We are very proud of the tomatoes since they are the best tomatoes that we have ever grown and by far the earliest. We have already enjoyed them for a over a month. I just put another tomato plant in the ground last week with the hopes that we will have fresh tomatoes into January.

Who knows what will happen? I still would really like to beat my December 19 date from last year. It is a noble quest, fresh homegrown tomatoes from June 1 until January 15.

So if you see me around, be careful, I might slip a bag of tomatoes into your car.