Value up or Discount down?

In a time of ‘perceived’ turmoil in the real estate marketplace, it is often a quick decision to start discounting your service. It is interesting talking to Real Estate Agents and mortgage brokers to see what they are trying to do to increase their business. The old adage of ‘great rates and great service’ are no longer enough.

So what am I seeing out there, people are starting to discount their commissions and fees. It is amazing to me that there is a perception that discounting commissions and fees will make someone more appealing to the market. From my perspective, that is the opposite of what to do. It shows a lack of confidence in yourself. I learned at Rich Dad that you should always ‘value up and not discount down’. It is now a time to add value like education, referrals and services that you may not have offered before.

How do we do this at Community First Financial… we partner, co-market and collaborate with others in the industry. We are creating a hub for real estate investors to find all the members of their advisor team that they may need.

Is there a time to ‘discount’, sure…when there is a volume.

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What Hat Are You Wearing?

Life teaches us many lessons or should I say specifically my wife teaches me many lessons. ‘Are you done working yet?’ that has been a question that has been thrown around at home lately that has taught me a valuable lesson. To be fair my wife is not nagging it is just that she would like a break from her non-stop job, our 6 month old and 11 year old boys.

In this time of starting up a new business and traveling 2-3 weekends a month to lead a 2-day real estate course, it seems that I have been working a lot…no kidding. And to top it off I have been working from home while Troy and I get our new office built out. That has been an adventure with my wife and after a month of struggling to find a balance we have come to a solution.

I once heard a story about 2 hats. A man owned a business and as a favor to his sister he hired his nephew as an employee. His nephew didn’t really take the job seriously and one morning coming in late again, the business owner called his nephew into his office. The business owner putting a baseball cap on that read ‘personal’ on the front said happily “how was your weekend in Las Vegas, did you party it up?” and his nephew responded “it was great, boy I partied hard and the chicks were amazing.” The owner responded “that’s great, I am glad it was a worthwhile trip…so tell me about the chicks.” His nephew then spent a few minutes giving some of the trip highlights and when his nephew was finished sharing the owner took off his ‘personal’ hat and put on another hat reading ‘business’ across the front. The owner looked at his nephew with a straight face and said “you’re fired!”

Why is this story so valuable now, well I now where a hat at home to let everyone know when I am at work. It used to be every time I would open the door to my ‘spoffice’ (Spare bedroom/office) it was deemed that I was off work. So if I used the bathroom or refilled my water my wife would be waiting with Dylan our son for a handoff…so know if I where my hat, she at least knows that I am still on work time. Her only comment now is… do I have to wear my hat to bed at night?

Perception vs. Cheap

Isn’t it amazing that the simpliest of decisions can create internal conflict?

Troy and I have an office space in North Scottsdale for our mortgage company, Community First Financial, and we have been contemplating on what type of office furniture to purchase. You would think this would be an easy (non-important) decision, but I find myself somewhat confused on this. I remember personally building the first desks for Rich Dad that were in my parents house 10 years ago and so I have been struggling with going cheap, cheaper -used, or reasonable. (high end is out of the question)

Let me give you my 3 examples:

1. Craig’s List – There have been numerous ads for businesses (especially mortgage companies) that have gone out of biz and are looking to liquidate their equipment.

2. Staples – They have cheap yet decent desks that we could pick up

3. USBI-AZ – Who you know is more important than what you know right? Well in this case my Mom (Sharon Lechter) introduced me to a friend of hers that owns an office furniture sales company. the pricing is going to run $300-$400 more per office (with 4 offices to furnish as a start) than staples would yet it is 4×5 times the quality and look.

So we could go cheaper with staples, cheapest by going used with Craig’s list or reasonable with USBI-AZ (or equivalent). My internal challenge has been that Rich Dad was build on Staple-like desks, with the only factor being cost. My internal stuff (or Blair Singer’s Little Voice) is that I should go cheap.

So how have I sold my self to go with USBI-AZ….perception.. We are looking to recruit top Loan officers, and build a lasting company that our customer trusts. We intend to bring in our customers to train with us, as we are going to do monthly learning events for our employees and customers. So is the extra $1200 going to break us? If it does, then we should not be in Business.