Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Love. Ask. Repeat.

Please allow me to get philosophical for a moment... When you do business with someone, and especially when it's a "big ticket" item, it's important to know the foundations of the people you're dealing with.  Who are they?  What matters to them?  What do they believe?  The answers will give you some clues about how you'll be served.

We want to know and love you.  We want to understand your situation and goals.  When we do, then we're poised to get on board with what you want and help you get it.  That's the kind of love we want to give.  We also want to be loved, BTW.  We are in a privileged position of serving you on what's likely the biggest financial transaction of your life, and we can make a BIG positive difference.  When we do something meaningful with you and for you and do it with great care, we hope to earn a special place in your heart.   

We're good at listening and asking is the first step of listening.  We ask lots of questions...we ask about your objectives, concerns and background.  Our skill in asking moves the conversation so we get to design a course of action that best serves you.  We also ask for feedback.  We want the kudos when we're doing well, and we REALLY want the feedback when you think we should correct course.  This is key to creating satisfaction over time, and to earning your repeat and referral business. 

We're in this with you...and for the long haul.  That means practice.  We are disciplined to practice and constantly improve so we can be there for you in the future too.  The next chapter in life will come:  your next home, your vacation home or your first investment property.  We look forward to serving you again.  We also know you'll have friends and colleagues who will need our help...and the next time that pops up, we want you to instantly and enthusiastically offer to introduce us. 

In the end it's all about satisfaction.  It's about how you talk about us "out there".  Give my team a chance, and we'll give you our best...

You know... kind of like the shampoo instructions... "Lather, rinse, repeat."

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Marvel #4: Worthy of Anyone's Bucket List

Awesome Trees

Friends and clients from other parts of the country or world often remark about our majestic big trees, and of course Oregon's state tree is the Douglas Fir, which grows to massive size.  But if you really want to put something worthy on your bucket list, go lie down on your back on a soft bed of redwood duff and gaze upward at a 300 foot tall giant swaying, moving, living and reaching to the sky.  It's truly unforgettable, even for a jaded and fortunate Oregonian.

These trees simply define "big".  Not counting the fascinating fungus that grow hundreds of acres large under a forest floor, Sequoia Gigantia grow to be the largest living thing on earth by volume, and Coastal Redwoods grow to be the tallest. 

So...I highly recommend that you and your family pick one of these and put a visit in your summer calendar...

This summer!
  • Big Basin State Park near San Jose/Santa Cruz
  • The largest tree by volume in the world, the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park
  • The famous and oddly shaped Grizzly Giant tree in Yosemite National Park
  • or within a shorter day's drive, in the northwestern corner of California, off Highway 101...a special place known as the Avenue of the Giants where yes, you really can see a road built through a tree.

For real tree lovers, I know you'll also enjoy this great photoessay by a couple trekking through redwood forest country.    

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sun, Stars and Sounds in the Woods

Last weekend I enjoyed a spectacularly good campout with Jacob, my 16 year old.  A Scout Camporee actually.  That's what we call our annual weekend of competition, camping, and shared Scout spirit among local troops.  Something like 400-500 participated.  There were contests with map and compass, plant identification, first aid (don't kill the patient), fire-starting, tower building (poles and lashings), and more.  We saw and heard many creatures, including frogs, owls and osprey, plus the beautiful Clackamas River. 

I'm glad and proud to report that Jacob's patrol won first place in fire-starting and so earned their second consecutive "Burning Man" award.  They also won a first place ribbon for the best and most stable tower built.  There was also a big trail repair service project for the state park so that visitors can enjoy the trails for another year. We did a good turn and left (hopefully) no trace other than footprints.

Usually Camporee means signing up for either mist or a microburst, but daytime temps hit 70 for the first time this year, which is unheard of.  We were treated to nighttime stars and temps near freezing.  Whatever the skies, I often think of our native brothers and sisters who lived on this beautiful land for millenia, with a deep respect.  The Boy Scouts seek to honor and preserve some of the spirit, skills and traditions of Native Americans in ceremonies, prayers, and in our calling to get close to, appreciate, and take care of the earth.  We camp, we use and care for the resources we find there, we listen for and share our time with creatures in the woods. 

Scouting isn't living off the land by any stretch of the imagination...but it definitely lets each new generation appreciate the land, and our walk on the earth in a way that most of modern life does not.  I love that. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Parts Undiscovered

You're looking at a snapshot from my collection of old maps.  To me, one of the most captivating things about this 1769 map of North America is the notation "Parts Undiscovered" over our modern day Pacific Northwest region.

For 18th century explorers, the  Pacific Northwest coastline and interior were unmapped and unknown.  But even today, "Parts Undiscovered" is a mighty notion.  For me, it conjures Crater Lake, a jewel I've miraculously never been to, but finally have on this summer's plan.  It also suggests "parts" I've never traveled to intellectually and emotionally, like letting our teenagers make more and more of their own choices (as is the case these days for me and Suzanne).

Life is short, and we'll never see it all.  That's a wonderful thing.  There's also beauty in the fact that no matter where you go, there's always someone around who does know the place.  How to visit it, how to "do" the trip and get the most out of it.  What you should leave at home, and what to absolutely not forget, the best fishin' holes, the bad restaurants, the washed out roads, the dangerous places...  Sure, some of the locals are clueless, rude, or outright abusive.  But finding one of the good locals is priceless, is it not???

On a trip, a good local guide is priceless  

Good guides charge a fee, but beware thinking of guides as costly.  If a guide cost you $500, but reminded you about sunscreen, preventing a sunburn that would have ruined 3 days of your trip, helped you connect for a lifetime with people along the way, then saved you from losing your $500 camera...  How do you see the guide's $500 fee then?  Maybe your best-spent dollars.

You don't pay the guide for the boat ticket, the meal, or the fish you caught.  You pay them for their knowledge of the land, the water, the people, the language.  You pay them for keeping you out of trouble, stacking the deck in your favor, improving your odds for a great result.

True, no?  Really...if you're going out for dinner and you make a mistake (other than food poisoning), the consequences are small.  It's no biggie if you blow a few bucks on a disappointing meal.  But not so if you're planning a month in the Amazon, where the investment and consequences are huge.  In that case, you'd better get some good local help.  And the same is true when you're undertaking the other rare journeys in life...

"Parts Undiscovered" is also a place on the map of mortgage lending.  Even if you've done it a dozen times, I assure you that the path gets overgrown in time, changed and unrecognizable.  With every trip, the path is changed and new obstacles are present...even for the guide!  And like the Amazon, the stakes of this journey are high.  It's time to hire a guide, the best local you can find...and trust them to make a difference.

When the trip is done, we look back and ask, was that guide costly, or a bargain?  Could we have known at the outset specifically how they'd make a difference?  Nope.  Maybe we just have to know that great guides are always worth it, and commit to make our life's journey a guided trip.  

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Marvel #3: A Sense of Scale...How Small is Small?

This very cool demonstration from the University of Utah shows relative scale of everything from a coffee bean, down to the cellular level.  It's amazing to know that we can study things so tiny.  Go to the demo and drag the bar (below the coffee bean image) over to the right.  You'll see just how small "small" really is.  Enjoy!