How To Reactivate a Business Contact You Really Need

We all have excuses for failing to maintain relationships and business contacts.  Whether the excuses are valid or not doesn’t matter.  What DOES matter is how you handle your long-lost contacts moving forward.  If the contact is important to you, personally or professionally, you need to follow these steps:

  • Think of the personal, or business, value a specific person has to you. Decide for sure that you want to recommit to a relationship with this person for the value it brings to you.  Then remember the #1 Rule:  You achieve your own goals by helping others achieve theirs.
  • Prepare for making contact again:
    • Check out Facebook and LinkedIn and the people you know in common. FindHow To Reactivate a Business Contact out what this person has been doing lately.  By doing this you will most likely find a good entre to a new conversation with them.  Send them a friend request on Facebook if you choose, but personal contact is better.
    • Review your past relationship to locate the pretext that you can add to the entre you discovered in the step above. If you have any email threads where you did something good for the other person, keep them handy.
    • Now that you have an idea of their life today, think about how the other person may remember you. Imagine what type of subject heading or initial conversation would engage them:
      • How does it feel being an empty-nester?
      • What has been the biggest challenge of your new role at [Company X]?
      • What do you like about living in [name of town/city]?
    • Even if you feel guilty, do NOT make the initial communication about you and what you did or didn’t do. Make the communication about THEM.
  • Craft an opening call or email asking about the other person’s life, such as:
    Hi Mark, This is ___ from your old marketing department.  I just heard that _____ and couldn’t wait to be in touch and find out more from you.
    Don’t mention your current job.
    Don’t mention your real reason for the contact.
    Don’t provide contact information under your signature, keep it personal.
    Don’t include URL’s or links or any information about you.
  • Follow up with your email and include a good memory.
  • Wait until the other person asks about your business/job before you bring it up. When they do ask what you are doing, tell them your business situation, but don’t ask for business.  Re-create your relationship first.  Let them come to you.  Then you can “gently” ask for their business.

If you are sincerely interested in reactivating a business relationship, following the above steps will help you do so successfully.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Safety Tips For Driving In The Rain

Our rainy season isn’t too far away and traffic here in SoCal certainly gets worse when the rain is upon us.  Driving in the rain or on wet roads is risky and paying attention to the following safety tips can help you protect you and yours:

  • Put your patience in high gear. That “idiot”Safety Tips For Driving In The Rain who is “going slow” in front of you is obviously intimidated by the wet surfaces, and honking or swishing quickly around them may exacerbate the situation.  Slow down and think how you would want to be treated if you were afraid.
  • Hydroplaning is an instant effect. It doesn’t happen gradually.  So slow down and leave room between you and other vehicles.
  • Before the season, and certainly before a big deluge of rain or snow, be sure your tires have the minimum tread needed for good road traction.
  • If you go into a skid, look and steer in the direction you want to go in. Do NOT brake, let your vehicle slow down naturally.
  • According to the AAA, cruise control increases the chances that you will lose control in wet conditions so save your cruise control for dry days.

Cheers…Drive Safe,
SD County Escrow Team

How To Interpret Body Language & Make Changes To Yours

Body language; the more you can interpret it, the more help it will be to you!  And changing your own body language will be easiest if you first observe, and listen, to others.  You’ll want to:

WATCH THE EYES – Notice where the other person’s eyes are looking and what their pupils do (enlarged pupils often indicate attraction or honesty, while contracting pupils indicateHow To Interpret Body Language & Make Changes To Yours disinterest, dishonesty or worse).  To convey honesty and confidence, remember to look directly at your listener’s eyes and put excitement or sincerity into the verbal delivery of your message.

WATCH POSTURE – You probably don’t need an explanation here but confidence is conveyed with straight, open posture…shoulders strong and bold, feet direct and legs not tucked under.  Body language experts often suggest copying the military posture or super hero stances.

PAY ATTENTION TO HEAD POSITION & HEIGHT – Even in the animal kingdom, dominance is usually granted to the tallest.  We can’t change our actual height but we can hold our heads up, keep our chests and chins out and a smile on our face.  It seems silly when experts talk about standing –vs- sitting, and choosing a higher chair or place to stand, but tall individuals automatically have power and are accepted as leaders.

LISTEN TO PITCH – Pitch may tell you as much as someone’s expression.  So notice what others are saying to you with their voices and what you are saying back to them with yours.  You can convey warmth and security with a controlled, sure voice.  You can conceal any nerves if you remember to take a deep breath and put on a pleasing facial expression before you utter your next words.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER – If someone’s eyes, posture, stature and pitch do not agree in their messages, it may be that they are not in accord with their own words!  Perhaps they are being intentionally deceptive or perhaps their inner beliefs are not in line with the image they are presenting.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Renovation Costs You May Not Anticipate

I confess, I am a professional Realtor, and I just added a second bathroom to my modest home at a cost of 230% of what I expected after first meeting with my contractor!  What happened?  A number of problems that you can avoid by doing the following:

  • Be Clear On Costs & What’s Included – Be clearRenovation Costs You May Not Anticipate on what materials AND labor will cost you and what contingencies there might be. Get it in writing!  No one can predict everything, for instance, predicting that you’ll incur the cost of putting your dog into daycare because the construction makes her crazy and sleepless.  You can however uncover more potential costs by interviewing at least two contractors who may each give you a heads up on a cost that the other missed.  Be sure to verify if plans and permits are included in the cost…and how much time obtaining these will add to the job.
  • Don’t Forget to Estimate the Cost of Eating Out, Hotel Stays & Obtaining a Dumpster – These items may be needed to help you maintain your sanity and they definitely add to the cost of your job.
  • Consider Your Time and Effort – If you are considering doing some of the work yourself, look carefully at what that time and effort may cost you by keeping you from other things you could be doing.
  • Consider Whether You Will Need Child Care, Rental Office Space or a Cleaning Service? Will Your Utility Bills be Higher Than Normal? – These expenses may all be logical but many people will not calculate them ahead of time.  Will you and your children need to work/play off-site?  Will cleaning by a 3rd party be necessary to help you maintain your sanity?   Will your contractors be wasting your air conditioning or heat; leaving windows and doors open?
  • Look at Parking & Storage Options to Avoid Future Cost – Contractors want their equipment and materials stored where they will be safe. Providing a safe place will most likely put your own personal belongings at risk.  Landscaping can also be completely sacrificed due to wheelbarrows, heavy tools, large equipment and stored renovation materials.

I frequently hear renovation numbers that sound very economical, portending a greater value increase than the cost of the job.  But be sure the numbers are all in before you brag about your low renovation costs.  AND, save every penny’s worth of receipts and invoices for when you compile your annual tax return or when you sell and may be confronted with capital gains tax.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

P.S. – This was a guest post courtesy of a local Realtor.

Stand Up & Be Your Own Advocate

If you answer ‘yes’ to some of the following, it may be a sign that you aren’t standing up for yourself or being your own advocate.

Do you ever do things…

  • …because someone else wants you to, and you don’t want to hurt their feelings? Stand Up & Be Your Own Advocate
  • Or, because you feel selfish standing up for what you think is right or best for you?
  • Or, because you’ve developed a habit of letting someone else make important choices for you, and it is too hard to say no?
  • Or, because they push, and you give in because you don’t want the conflict?
  • Or, because a sales person keeps selling; asking ‘why’ and ‘what’, trying to engage you long after you have said no thank you?  (This type of situation almost becomes a severance to your relationship and/or a judgment on your ability to think and a closed path to the ultimate “no!”

One of the hardest and best skills to learn is to trust yourself, stand up for yourself and take care of yourself.  To, as one of the proponents of being your own best advocate says, find the combination of directness and kindness to deny the offer and end the conversation.

Often the most difficult advice or sales pitches to deny, come from friends/family that really care about you.  Sometimes their comments are even the result of your asking for advice.  And that can be a hard one to handle.  But just because you asked for advice doesn’t mean you have to follow it.  Just say, “Thank you.  I have been pondering this situation for a while, and have not yet found the answer that suits me, but I so appreciate your input”.

While learning to be your own best advocate, it helps to keep in mind that you are the one who knows your situation best AND has to live with your decision.  Just remember that there is a difference between “self-care” and being “selfish.”

Once you regularly practice living the life you’ve chosen (versus what someone else tries to choose for you) you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what happens!

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Landlord-Tenant Q & A Regarding Notices & Eviction

Question:  Do I always have to give written notice to our resident before making a repair?  They called yesterday and we simply made an appointment for the plumber to meet them at the property next week.

  • Answer:  Normally, you would have to give aLandlord-Tenant Q&A Regarding Notices & Eviction written 24 hour notice, but if the tenant and the landlord orally agree to an entry to make repairs or supply services for a specific date and time, and the entry is within one week from the date of the agreement, no written notice is required.  Also, in cases of emergency or abandonment, the landlord is not required to give written notice.

Question:  If a tenant gives a 30-day notice on the 15th of the month, is it legal to charge them the full rent for the next month and return the prorated remainder of the rent once they have turned in the keys?

  • Answer:  No, they are only required to pay the prorated portion of their rent for the next month.

Question:  I have a tenant who is driving everyone in the apartment complex nuts.  He plays his stereo and television all day and all night and keeps everyone up.  We call the police constantly but they can only do so much.  I want to evict him but he signed a one-year lease.  None of the notices I have make sense in this situation.  What can I do to get this noisy tenant out?

  • Answer:  If the tenant is producing major and continual disturbances to the quiet enjoyment of the neighboring property and it is severe enough, the court could allow you to evict the tenant after service of a 3-day notice to vacate.  This notice does not allow the tenant to cure anything.  Therefore, it has to be a severe situation.  Otherwise, writing warning letters and documenting the disturbances can bolster your case if the tenant does not stay quiet.

We hope this Q & A was helpful!

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Source:  Kimball Tirey and St. John, Tenant Landlord attorneys in San Diego

Protection & Self-Defense Tips Learned From Movies & Books

There is actually a lot we can learn about protecting ourselves from “entertainment” sources such as mystery and espionage movies and books.  Some tips we can all use for our own safety are:

  • Be Aware – Even in our own neighborhoods special circumstances can put us at risk, but in a big public location you are likely to be targeted by a mugger, caught in aProtection & Self-Defense Tips Learned From Movies & Books shooting incident, even attacked by a car-jacker. Being aware of faces and the body language of people around you can provide a savvy warning and alert you to unexpected incongruent actions.
  • Test The Situation – If you think you are being followed, take a route that doesn’t really go anywhere in particular, or dodge into a public space with lots of other people around for protection. If the person still seems to be following you, point them out to a security person or police.
  • Avoid Seclusion – This can help you avoid many potential threats.
  • Don’t Be Passive
    • Make direct eye contact, or confront them. Let them know you will not be a passive victim.  Convince them to move on to a more suitable victim.
    • Ask a question that should be simple & quick to answer to throw a potential attacker off, like “do you need directions?”
    • If a person knocks on your door, before you remove the security chain and open the door, ask where their car is parked. If they appear to be a salesperson or service provider, ask how many people they have sold to that day.  When they answer you, notice whether or not they appear uncomfortable or nervous.
  • Have an Effective Self-Defense Tool
    • Guns are good only if you know how to use them.
    • Consider carrying a folding knife which can fit in a pocket or purse. You could use it to defend yourself or escape if you are trapped.
    • Tactical pens actually write, but a strong, steel type can be used like an icepick to jab.
    • Lightweight sheets of Kevlar can be slipped into backpacks or briefcases, and held up to protect you in the case of a shooting.
  • Ward Off Danger by Appearing Invulnerable – Security cameras, alarms, dogs, and lights can protect you from home invasions:
    • Even hints of a big dog, such as big dog toys in the yard can dissuade an intruder!
    • Amazon has fake security cameras for a low price.
    • Motion-sensor lights, powered by solar, can be another inexpensive deterrent.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Money Saving Painting Tips

When you paint, whether a room or an entire home, it is smart to do the best quality work you can because paint attracts the eye and can be a primary focus in your home!

Below are a few tips on how to save money when buyingMoney Saving Painting Tips paint and how to store or recycle your paint left-overs:

  1. When you go to the paint store, take the measurements of the space to be painted and seek guidance from the paint vendor’s professional to be sure you buying the right amount of paint.
  2. Reseal paint cans properly with a rubber mallet, not a metal hammer. Resealing the cans properly means that in a few days or a few months or even longer, your canned paint will still be in good condition and can be used for another project or touch up.
  3. When your initial project is all done, you might want to use the remaining paint to give small pieces of furniture or accessories a fresh look.
  4. Rather than starting a garage/storage room stash of paint that will never see light again, you can offer your paint left overs to a friend or donate them to an organization. To find donation drop-off locations near you, visit paintcare.org.
  5. Paint care sites will also take the remainder of your paint and recycle it.
  6. Should you need to repaint an area you want to match, most paint stores are amazing at matching existing paint!

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

How Often Do You Convey Customer Appreciation? Is It Enough?

The thing we seem to be lacking most today is time.  But one of the greatest relationship and business builders is appreciation.  So taking the timeHow often do you show customer appreciation? to reach out can be one of the wisest investments you can make.

Who, What & When:

  • Reflect on your values, goals and accomplishments, and remember those who have helped you along your path.
  • Genuine and personal appreciation is deeply felt. Empty or token appreciation is easily recognized as such and can create a negative result.
  • Pretend it is a tweet; keep it short and specific, personal and true.
  • Timeliness is very important. Late is, of course, better than never but may be perceived as an afterthought.

Think about how you feel when someone takes the time to appreciate you.  It seems in this world that appreciation and customer service are two of the most lacking business practices.  You can stand out, while making a difference to your customers and in your business, by taking time to show your sincere appreciation!

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

What Roger Federer Taught Us After He Won His 8th Wimbledon

With all the great qualities on display this week at Wimbledon, from the young people coming up to the heroic courage of athletes fighting through pain and fear, it is still a challenge to match the skill and refined character Roger Federer delivers in every tournament.  Of courseRoger-Federer-Wimbledon-winner that is the primary job of an icon.  We look at what Bill Gates has accomplished in his field and business, and admire that his character is what raises him above even those racing to compete.  We look at Bill Russell, Michael Jordan and LeBron James; they made it to the top and…kept going!  They took others with them.  Life gives us icons from time to time, even though we are careful about giving that name to anyone.

In the sports limelight are those who have done very well and succeeded in the sports world AND donated generously from their success.  Our ex-football team donated to many local causes and had players like Junior Seau who put his personal self-worth into giving and working with the community for many causes.  Drew Brees has lifted New Orleans not only in spirit but also by personally joining in the recovery of “his town.”  Warrick Dunn is recognized as perhaps the most charitable man in football, working tirelessly to support single parents so they won’t need to take a second job, which is where his mother was killed while working to support her family.  Andre Agassi and his wife, Steffi Graf, have turned their commitment to excellence into a mission of teaching young people the value of education and sharing as they change the lives of thousands.  They’ve also raised children who respectfully carry the torch onward.

And finally, having taken competitive success in tennis further than any of his predecessors, Roger Federer and his “team” give to their chosen beneficiaries AND share the lessons that took him to his pinnacle of success.  After his record breaking achievement at the Championships Wimbledon, Roger shared words that can take any of us beyond our expectations:  “I kept believing and dreaming.”  Sure, his diligence at working out and practicing is legendary, almost as much as his renowned amiability in the locker room.  Even in the minutes before a big game, he’s been known to take a few minutes to help a colleague.

Icons are more than winners; they are people who expect their highest achievements to include demonstrating the highest standards.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

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