My son got an F.


To say I was angry is an understatement. He struggles with turning in assignments on time, but at no point did he have an F.

After talking with his teacher, we found out Drew turned in an essay that she thought was thoroughly completed, so gave him an A. Then over Christmas break- and after the quarter was over- realized it wasn’t. So he got an F. And that one essay was worth 80% of his quarter grade. So that one assignment sunk his quarter grade to an F.

And with that F, I’m reminded, among other things, that WE ALL HAVE FAILED.

First, my son failed by not completing his work. And I know that all of us have been in the situation where we “winged” a listing presentation, a meeting with a new buyer, or forgot to look up relevant and pertinent information, resulting in failure.

Hoping to never repeat that failure, we’ve learned that we need to prep beforehand, prepare for the questions we know from experience will be asked, and follow up with any answers we didn’t have.

Second, the teacher failed because she missed the opportunity to pick up the phone and explain what happened when that grade changed. We could have had a discussion, a game plan for next semester, and remained on good terms, like a team should.

We ALL have avoided a difficult conversation because we were afraid of the reaction and outcome, and chose to chicken out and not make the call. What happened as a result fractured the relationship, possibly permanently.

And from that, we learned to just face these issues head on, no matter how uncomfortable, because in the end, the person receiving the news is much happier that you were straight with them as opposed to not.

Third, we’ve learned we can’t rely on technology to do our job.

The school has a system that calls parents if a child is failing. The parents and students are able to check the online grade book at anytime. But as we know, as in my son’s case, technology fails.

With the growth of technology, a lot of our work is now automated. Buyers are able to search for houses on Realtor.com, Zillow, and other websites. When a house hits the market that meets their criteria, they get emailed instantly. When our sellers have a showing request on their home, they get notified electronically.

So in many ways, our job has been made easier. The time that these things used to take is now time we can put into other areas, like growing our business, showing more houses, being out in the community, and working on new marketing techniques.

But also these automated processes have made our job harder. I’ve become so accustomed to this technology, that I oftentimes forget that my clients need me, not the “robot” me.

It’s easy for these systems to do the work for me; to do the communication for me. But that’s not what my clients need. They need someone to explain potential problems before they are problems, to know it’s okay to ask “dumb” questions, and get clarity on procedures and paperwork.

Fourth, there is failure when allowing people to fly under the radar. I have many clients who are very active in their own searches. They are motivated to find a home. They leave no stone unturned, and are the first ones to reach out to me. They make my life easy.

But I have other clients who aren’t actively searching. They have a very specific home in mind, and aren’t spending time looking for it. They are relying on me to contact them if one hits the market. This is a little harder for me.

“Out of sight, out of mind” isn’t just a saying, it’s a fact. I have to make sure that I remind myself often that I have people out there who don’t always want to do the work, but have the means, and are interested in a certain result…

People like my son: The unmotivated, but capable.

These are the people that need me, never the “robot” me. They aren’t going to read emails, do online searching, or do any extra work. They want me to tell them when a property comes up, set up the appointment, and then lay out their plan for a successful closing.  failure

If I relied on automation to reach the unmotivated, I would lose thousands of dollars a year in commission. That’s my own fault. And if you have made any of the above mistakes, and chose to not learn or grow from them, that’s your fault.

We have all gotten an F in our lifetime. But the long game is won by recovering with an A.

Amy Gilpin, Associate Broker, Manager, ABR, SRES.Amy Gilpin Realtor

Sixteen years of helping clients. Nine years of helping agents. All for this crazy thing we call real estate.
Production Realty 517-879-4141 Jackson, MI Amy@ProductionRealty.com



additional comments on
"F is Failure for All"

  1. Barb Schlinker says:

    Great article Amy! I’ve been trying to teach my team this very thing! Its not up to the client to follow up with us! Countless times, I’ve heard home sellers tell me about why they did not call back their last agent and often times its because they said they found the house and they did not feel as though their agent did much of anything for them…especially communication and keeping in touch, thus I am in front of them when its time to sell and not their former agent. Well done! Drew sounds like a nice young man and very normal, we struggled with our son in high school, it got a lot better as he matured.

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