5 Important Questions
We have all had a friend or family member that wanted us to buy something from them. Makeup, clothes, furniture, and the list goes on. I personally love shopping local and love supporting my friends and family but what about that age old saying “don’t mix business with pleasure”?
After years of serving people, I’ve come up with a way to find out if working with someone will be a good fit, regardless of if they are a friend of family member. The first step is to visualize that person, then ask yourself…
Is this person an expert in their field?
Malcolm Gladwell discussed becoming an expert in his best-selling book, “Outliers”. He proposes that it takes about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert at any given topic. That’s about 10 years. So it takes about 10 years of intentional, mindful studying and practice to finally be able to claim expert status. Look at any given field. Electrical, beautician, auto mechanic, clothing designer, ect. When considering an investment opportunity, I’m forced to ask myself “has this person done the work and put in the time to become an expert?”
Is this person trustworthy with personal information?
If someone gossips to me, then the chances are high that they are gossiping about me to someone else. Sharing stories to communicate a point can be done in a way that doesn’t violate someone’s trust. When I consider working with someone, I always take into consideration how they speak of past client relationships. I have decided that I only partner with people who are transparent and honest enough to give it to me straight, but not too boisterous or open mouthed about personal information… especially about an investment or big decision. A real estate agent should ONLY be speaking with you and their designated broker about your transactions. Period. No excuses.
Can I ask questions without being made to feel stupid?
Every profession has inside language. Heck, every FAMILY has inside language! If someone is specialized in a field, they should feel secure enough to explain it to me in a way I can understand. If they aren’t willing inform me or take the time to answer my questions, I probably don’t want to work with them. Especially if it’s a financial investment! A sure-fire sign of expert status is that they can clearly lay out the stages or process to their profession without inside language or jargon.
Can I accept constructive criticism from this person?
This goes hand in hand with being able to ask questions. If I am going to trust someone with my time and money, and they have the heart of a teach and want to help me, there are bound to be things that come up where I just don’t know what is best… typically it’s because I don’t do it full time! So if my electrician is able to explain the rationale behind a process, I’ll probably trust their experience enough and go with their opinion. This is only after I am secure that they have my best interest in mind, not their bank account.
Is this person level-headed in difficult situations?
Financial purchases can turn emotional real quick! I have found that a big portion of my job is to help keep people grounded and focus on the facts at hand. If someone folds under pressure
over small matters, it’s safe to presume they will fold under big matters too. Making sure you have a level-headed viewpoint is so important when it comes to negotiating repairs and closing terms. You need someone who can help find solutions.
If your answer was no to any of these questions, then it sounds like you probably need to have a conversation with this friend of family member. If it’s not a good fit, that is okay! Explaining to them ahead of time that you are concerned about the relationship being at risk is a totally valid. Any friend worth their weight will understand and may even have the same thoughts.
On the other hand, if you were able to say Yes about the person you were visualizing, then it is probably fine to work with them! Personally, I have found that friends and family members tend to do a BETTER job and care more about protecting me than someone that I don’t have a connection with.