Time is one of the most valuable resources that you have in commercial real estate brokerage. The way that you use your time will impact the results that you seek with clients, listings, inspections, and commissions.
Consider the events of the last week in your diary.
Could you have approach things more effectively?
Are there times where you could have focused your energy in different directions for better results?
Of course the answers to these questions are an affirmative yes in every respect. In hindsight we can all improve our results and our effectiveness in property brokerage. The trick here is to build that strategy into each and every working day.
Don’t waste your time on the things that really don’t matter. Understand your priorities as a broker or an agent. Get things done specifically and directly with a focus on new business and commissions.
Here is an audio recording by John Highman focusing on the importance of time management and task management in commercial real estate brokerage today.
Results are everything when it comes to growing your market share and new business activities in commercial real estate brokerage. From that concept, you need to understand how things are changing and improving over time.
You do need to track your progress as a professional individual broker or agent. Failure to do so will impact into your progress in so many different ways. Understand what is happening around you with property activity and then adjust your processes so you can move on the opportunities of the market for your town or city.
So exactly what should you track and how should you do it? You need to track the things that matter to your real estate business across a number of segments. Those segments will typically be:
Size of Database – over time you should be creating a database that is comprehensive and locally relevant. That database has to grow in both size and quality, and should include all of the right people that can or will be potential clients for you over time. Understand how your database is growing and adjust your prospecting efforts accordingly.
Client List – ultimately you need plenty of clients to help you grow market share. Those clients should return to you over time with a variety of property needs and challenges, providing they remember you and trust you as a local property expert. As the property specialist you can be there to assist your clients in the right way both professionally and locally. Differentiate your client list from your prospect list. The clients pay your commission, so the focus here is to convert more prospects to clients over time. Client conversion is the name of the game. Understand how you can take your shortlist of high value prospects and revert them to clients through specialized services.
Exclusive Listing Numbers – you can have plenty of listings locally, but the exclusive listings are those that really matter when it comes to market share and commission conversion. Adjust your presentation and pitching processes so that exclusivity is at the centre of your recommendations and listing activity. Make sure that you are converting vendor paid marketing funds as part of each and every exclusive listing. As they say, ‘You can’t sell a secret’.
Time on Market – understand how long on average it takes to sell or lease exclusive listings today. The equation doesn’t apply to open listings given that the process of marketing for open listings is so random. Look at all of your exclusive listings and track the time on market progress for locations and property types. Make adjustments to those listings that are been on the market for a long time and are not attracting enquiry. Make recommendations for price adjustments or promotional change to your clients.
Referral Business – some of your good clients will offer plenty of referral business over time is you ask for it. Ask the right questions at the right time so that you can connect with new people needing professional property assistance locally. The relationships that you have now and the contacts of others that you are introduced to, will help you build referral business. Every successful property transaction should be a referral opportunity.
Repeat Business – look at how you can offer a variety of services to all of your good clients. A single property transaction today can be moved in the future through a variety of sales, leasing, and investment opportunities. The services that you can offer should be tuned to the market conditions and the clients that need you.
Commissions per Transaction – when you look at the commissions that you are converting now and have done so over time, you will see an average earning that applies per transaction to both leasing and sales. Get that number to escalate over time so that you are converting a higher level of commission per transaction. The way to achieve this growth and result is to focus on better quality properties and clients as part of your marketing and prospecting methods.
Commissions per Client – some clients are better than others, and the way to determine that criteria is to assess the volume of commission that you are achieving per client per transaction currently. Clients have a value to you when it comes to immediate commissions. Other clients have future opportunity to you over time. So you will need to differentiate how you will be working with the different clients based on commission growth and opportunity; put that strategy at the centre of your business plan. Look at the value for each client in your database, and segment some of those clients into the categories of location, property type, and commission potential. Create a VIP list so you can drill down into the list of opportunity and the high quality clients that you serve or could serve now.
So there are a number of things that you can do here to track your progress in commercial real estate brokerage sales and/or leasing. When you know the numbers, you can adjust your prospecting and presentation processes for better results. Always qualify the people that you talk to, and do so before you spend too much time and resources in servicing them.
There are many different pressures influencing your business day when it comes to client contact, meetings, and negotiations. Somewhere between all of those three key activities you will need to be doing some marketing and some prospecting.
So you simply cannot waste your time in any way or form as it is the most valuable resource that you have. Your activities generate leads and commissions over time; there is a special equation to monitor here about how new business can grow through your personal effort.
When you put the right effort in, you get some real momentum with tenants, landlords, sellers, and buyers. They are all out there in the local property market, thinking about how they can do things and solve property problems.
The Right Priorities and Facts
Here are some specific ideas to help you keep your business day under control as best possible. See how you can work with these ideas:
Control your diary electronically across a number of cloud-based platforms. You should be able to access your diary on your mobile telephone, your computer, and your tablet. Make sure that everything synchronizes between your electronic devices.
Don’t let any other person in the office make appointments for you whilst you are out on other appointments or business activities. Your time management priorities will not be the same as other people when it comes to meetings, negotiations, and client contact.
Start the day in prospecting mode for at least three hours. It is a specific business discipline that will help you connect with new business opportunities in the local area. Use the first three hours of every working day talking to new people through door-knocking, cold calling, and direct meetings or marketing.
It takes about 3 to 6 months to drive reasonable level of business activity and market share. Every day during that period you will need to talk to new people and create new levels of professional service. Eventually the new business opportunities will be generated from your deliberate and direct efforts of prospecting. When the new business starts to come in, continue prospecting as part of a professional time management business model. You simply cannot stop prospecting for new business.
When you have a negotiation to complete or a deal to negotiate, that may take specific priority at the start of the day. That should be the only reason for you to divert your prospecting activities to another time later in the day. I go back to the point that you should not overlook the requirement to prospect for new business on a daily basis.
Look for the reciprocal value in the things that you do each day with marketing, clients, inspections, and transactions. There will be opportunities for referral and lead generation through many of the relationships that you will already have. Ask the right questions at the right time.
The business owners and the prospects or clients that you work with will have pressures and relationships that can open new transaction opportunities for you. Remember to ask the right questions at the right time.
There are all sorts of procrastination problems in commercial real estate brokerage today. Don’t let them hold you back or derail your business efforts. Break through the barriers and issues that are holding you back. Time is your most valuable resource, so use it well and dedicate your time to the things that really matter.
Get your business diversions under control and stop procrastinating. Know what is important to your market share, client list, listings, and commissions. Somewhere in that awareness will be listings and leads. You (and only you) are the person to resolve the ‘quandary’.
Your key resource?
So, as I have said, the most important resource that you have is time. Use your time wisely and specifically. Yes, you will have challenging and difficult things to deal with every day, but do the work in an organized and specific way; that is how you build your real estate business. Are you ready to move ahead in the industry?
Solutions to common problems?
Here are the solutions to help solve procrastination, given the typical commercial property agent problems:
Unrealistic clients – some clients will waste your time, so don’t let that happen. You are (or should be) the property expert, so tell the clients what you can recommend with the property listing and or the challenge of the client; if they won’t listen, then you have a choice as to whether you should take on the property and the challenge. Don’t take on a listing or client requirement that is too far off the market. Give good reasons for your recommendations and be very specific when working with clients. Be prepared to walk away from an unrealistic client in a professional way.
Too many meetings – some brokerage businesses are overly controlling of their agents and brokers. The fact of the matter is that top agents don’t need to be controlled; they know what they have to do and they will go and do it if you let them. One brokerage meeting per week is more than enough to control and direct a real estate business, and that meeting should be at a time of day that is not ‘peak’. On another note, any of your junior agents and trainees should be controlled through direct mentoring and not frequent meetings involving others. Allow your good agents and brokers to get out into the market each and every day. ‘Kill’ the extra meeting requirements.
Complex listings – some of the larger properties take a lot of research and investigation before the property is released to the market. That is your job and you can’t avoid the full property investigation requirements. However, when the investigation is done, the mundane listing issues can be done by others. Make sure you have the right administrative support to get this extra work done.
Complex marketing campaigns – this is a special problem to watch. Your marketing has to be specific to the property and the location. You should be taking a good degree of time in structuring and releasing your marketing campaigns on your exclusive listings. Sure, open listings are a different situation and they should not take much of your time, but differentiate your marketing efforts and only spend extended time on your exclusive listings.
Unqualified inquiry – we have all been impacted by people that seem to say that they can purchase or lease a listing. Deeper qualification about their market awareness, intentions, budget, and inquiry will prevent you spending too much time on ‘time wasting’ people.
So you need a plan to solve these things. What could you do with that plan? What could you put into it? Some of the answers here will help you get your plan in motion.
In commercial real estate brokerage today don’t take too long to take the required actions to boost your marketplace and client penetration. Get involved with your market so that you can identify the right property listings and the quality properties to work with over time.
There are plenty of good listings available for the agents that focus their prospecting efforts. It just takes a plan and a process of action.
Here are some valuable ideas to help you take deliberate action to boost your marketing profile and listing opportunities:
Any listed property in your location is an excuse for you to talk to the surrounding property owners. On that basis you can market yourself to the adjoining or nearby owners of properties listed with other agents. It is quite common that nearby owners will seek to compete from a sales or leasing perspective with the listed property nearby. You can be the brokerage solution to that process and have a signboard on that alternative property promotion at the same time as your competing agents.
Devote 2 or 3 hours per day to the prospecting and marketing process. There is absolutely no reason why you should be in the office sitting behind a desk unless you have a deal to negotiate or a client to meet. The rest of the time you should be out of the office talking to new people and finding new opportunities. That should be your focus for 2 or 3 hours per day.
Make plenty of calls every day to new people. Use your mobile telephone comprehensively and directly as part of a cold calling process to people within your property market. Make plenty of outbound calls every day, and as part of that have a focus on creating new meetings. Make it a personal target to establish two new meetings per day with new people.
Identify the best properties and the best clients. Undertake the required research of your property location and your targeted territory of listings. Understand exactly where the best properties are located and as part of that process determine who the owners are in each case. When you focus on the quality side of new property business and listing generation, the inbound enquiries tend to be more substantial over time. That can then help you rise to the top of your property market as an industry specialist for the location.
Ask for referral business as part of client interaction. With every positive client and prospect meeting, there is the opportunity to ask for referral business. It is far easier to convert commercial real estate business from referrals than it is from the cold calling or direct prospecting process. Merge the referral business process into your client and prospect interaction. One successful contact can lead you towards many other property owners and business decision makers.
So there are some very specific things that you can do here in commercial real estate brokerage as part of boosting your personal profile and market share. The best way to do that is by taking immediate action in your local market place, your town or your city. Talk to plenty of people in an ongoing way.
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The commercial or retail property management process can be time intense and quite frustrating. The observation is quite common. Most property managers will be intensely busy every day of the working week. On that basis they need to be organized to the tasks that really matter as part of providing quality professional services. Here are some tips from our Newsletter.
It is worthwhile noting that an experienced property manager will bring significant skill and opportunity to the landlords that they serve. That will be across the property in a number of ways including the specialized disciplines below:
Tenant mix strategy
Safety and risk management
Property value improvement
Renovation and refurbishment
So there are plenty of ways that the manager can bring growth and opportunity to the clients that they serve. It is just a matter of understanding the plans and the targets of the client as they relate to the future of the property in the region. It is a wise process to create a property business plan on an annual basis to manage the variables of property performance for the client.
So let’s go back to the tasks and activities of the property manager. If the correct person is chosen for the portfolio and the client, the other balances required will include the following:
Be aware of the amount of time it takes to manage a property for a client. Some properties and clients will require significantly more work than others. If that is the case, the intense workload should be reflected in the fee. One way of calculating a fee is to consider the amount of time each week a property will require for ongoing control. Consider the factors of the tenancy mix, lease documentation, maintenance, customer involvement, vacancy issues, and rental collection. The larger the property, more intense these issues will be.
With quality clients and properties, the reporting process can be quite specific and tedious. The factors of income, expenditure, lease management, maintenance, tenancy mix, and documentation will require special processes and established guidelines. In a large property, it is not unusual to be reporting to each of these factors on a weekly basis. That written report will support any verbal instructions given or communications made with the landlord.
The best way to get your job and portfolio under control is to work to a daily and weekly plan. It can also be said that the end of each month will be busier with reporting requirements and property analysis. So look at the factors of work that apply to each day, each week, and each month. Split the working day into two segments. The first half a day should be devoted to documentation and reporting issues. The last half the day can be devoted to clients and tenant contact. Obviously there will be some variations and pressures that apply.
So you work in a busy segment of the market. At least 80% of your time should be under control. In that way you will preserve the quality of performance and control that your clients require in commercial and retail property management.
Any opportunity in commercial real estate today should be acted on quickly and effectively. If you ‘sleep overnight’ on the issue you will likely find that is not going to be there in the morning. There are many competing agents and brokers waiting to jump on the listing opportunities around you.
Here are some important rules to understand:
Real estate today is becoming a global business that is traded on any day of the week at any time. You must be prepared to talk to a client or prospect on the telephone when he rings.
The marketing process for commercial property has become timeless. Internet listings promote properties globally and across the country. Be prepared to take the enquiry when it occurs. Carry some standard forms as part of capturing inbound enquiry. Also carry a full set of current property listings ready to take the questions and inspections at short notice.
Quality listings and good properties will create significant enquiry in any market. When you take a quality listing to the market today, be prepared to respond to the enquiries as they occur. A quality listing will create a significant amount of calls, and as a consequence, a good number of inspections. Time can be a precious commodity when you have a few high quality listings on the market are the same time. That being said, you still need to take the required actions and capture the enquiries effectively and efficiently.
If the person wants to see you later in the evening or over the weekend as part of progressing to the next stage of a property enquiry, then create the meeting and let it occur. Far too many brokers are selective when it comes to critical meetings and property inspections. Certainly you should qualify the prospect before you arrange a time to meet, but be prepared to work the longer hours and over the weekend. A career in commercial sales is totally different to a standard 9 to 5 job. The rewards are many; however you do need to work hard.
Every property inspection is an opportunity to get information. The person you are showing the property to may not necessarily move to the next stage of offer; however you will get valuable market intelligence from the connection. Ask the questions, and put that information into your database.
In every property inspection, build a degree of urgency to encourage the buyer to move to the next stage. Local property knowledge about competing listings, prices, and time on market will help you with the urgency factor. Understand the other listings that are available and the differences that exist between those listings and your property. I go back to the point that a quality listing will always encourage and create a good number of inbound enquiries. Be prepared to work on those leads and opportunities as they occur.
From these points, it is easy to see that a commercial real estate agent or broker should be focused and diligent. A lead or an opportunity today needs to be actioned as soon as possible. In that way you will grow your market share quickly and beat the competition.
To manage a shopping centre effectively and efficiently, the shopping centre manager needs to be knowledgeable but also time efficient. There are many pressures to balance as part of the property management process.
In an average working day, the following activities are some of the big items that will usually require attention on the part of the manager:
Collection of rental relative to the leases
Connecting with tenants regards day to day matters
Ensuring that the customers to the property receive the correct services and experiences
Marketing vacant tenancies within the property
Staying on top of the critical dates relative to the tenancy schedule and the existing leases.
Maintaining the property physically as to maintenance and essential services.
Balancing the tenancy mix with an affective a business plan and tenant retention plan
Reporting to the landlord on a regular basis regards income activity, expenditure activity, and rental arrears.
Marketing the property from a customer trade perspective to improve sales across the tenancy mix
Finding new tenants for the property based on the requirements of the mix and the upcoming vacancies.
So there are many things to do when it comes to managing a retail property. The larger the property, the more challenging the workload and the diversity.
It should be said that the larger shopping centres will usually have a team of people splitting the key issues of the property into different disciplines. When that happens, the cost of the staffing structure will be built back into the recoverable expenses for the property. It is quite normal for the centre management cost structure to be a recoverable item within the lease documentation.
So here are some strategies to help Retail Property managers stay on top of the workload and the challenges of the job.
Create check-lists for processes. You can have check-lists across leasing, maintenance, reporting, tenant mix, tenant contact, budgeting, and landlord contact. The same process can apply when it comes to property handover.
Start the day early, and get the difficult documentation and paperwork out of the way. The first 3 hours a day should be devoted to paperwork and processes.
Where ever possible, delegate key tasks to members of your team. A successful retail property will be built around the strengths of the team, and the professionalism of communication.
Document everything when it comes to tenant and landlord contact. Over time the notes and the event recording processes will support you in the case of any litigation or negotiation.
At the beginning of the week, hold a team meeting where you can cross reference critical issues across the property, within the tenancy mix, and with the landlord. Create an agenda for the process, so that you can stay on track with critical issues. Follow things through where complex issues apply or negotiations are continuing.
The income and expenditure activities within the property will be important in many different ways. Tenant occupancy, lease structures, and critical dates will all have an impact on cash flow. Understand all of those factors as part of providing a top service to your clients. Stay ahead of the critical dates and be prepared for the negotiations that follow.
A successful retail property is one that is managed effectively, efficiently, and correctly. Give due regard to occupant and customer safety, as well as the rules and regulations that apply to building codes and essential services.
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In commercial real estate agency and brokerage today it is easy to get lost in doing the mundane and unnecessary tasks that waste time and effort. If this happens too often you will find that listing numbers and commissions will decline.
So what are the most important things that you should do every day? Try some of these:
Researching your market
Prospecting for new clients, buyers, and tenants
Client meetings with current listing updates
Presentations and listing pitches
Prospect contact with listing detail
Property inspections with qualified buyers or tenants
Creating and driving marketing campaigns
Negotiations with sales and leasing opportunities
Following up on current deals to ensure that they are progressing forward
Database growth and accuracy
It is easy to see that you have lots to do as an agent or broker. All of these things will help you get the income and the market share that you require. Only you can control your choices and actions as an agent.
So what happens to derail your focus? Well I have seen all sorts of pressures with many different agents. Here are some of the most common problems:
A client wants to see you to discuss something relating to the marketing of their property.
A prospective buyer or tenant wants to inspect a property today or in the next few hours.
The boss of the office wants to have a meeting to discuss team performance.
You have too many things to do in one day and no support to help you with the pressure.
You have some marketing to do and some reports to get out that should have been done ‘yesterday’.
These things and the others that impact your day can be controlled and redirected. Only you can control your day. If you let the priorities of others take over your day, you can say goodbye to your income and market share. It’s that simple.
Here are some ideas to help you with time management in commercial real estate brokerage:
Prospect every day before you do anything else. Your growth of market share is really important. The morning is the best time to get prospecting done.
Leave the paperwork to the end of the day or delegate it.
Move your client meetings and property inspections to the afternoon.
Only take telephone calls when you have time as they will shift your focus off the things that really matter.
If someone wants to meet with you, ensure that the reason is valid.
You should control your diary (not the office administrative staff)
Commercial real estate agency is a great profession with lots of potential for those that focus and work hard. Good time management processes are part of that.
In commercial real estate agency, your time is highly valuable. The best agents manage their time efficiently to the tasks that are most important. It is a known fact that a controlled salesperson achieves more in income and listings. They stick to a system and they get the right things done.
It is a fact that things will happen every day that you cannot plan for. Clients, prospects, and fellow staff members will direct issues at you that need to be responded to. To remain efficient through this pressure, it is wise to control at least 1/3 rd. of your day. In that 1/3 rd. of the day you can do the right things that you know will help you build market share and your commissions.
Here are some tips to develop a time management system in your commercial real estate processes.
You must control your time. That has to be the rule. Your diary is something that is ‘sacred territory’ and only you put things into your diary. In this way you can choose what you do and how you do it.
I go back to the point that part of the day is to be fully under your control. In this time frame you should do the things that really matter to your business and your goals for the year. Prospecting is usually the thing that applies and should be actioned in this window of time.
Map out your activities for the week ahead. Sure, changes will occur, but put the big and important issues into your diary and keep them there for action.
When you arise each morning, spend 5 minutes reviewing what has to be done and checking the priorities of things.
Build some break time into your schedule so you can think and plan. You will also need some administrative time later in the day to capture the events of the day.
Move the unimportant things out of your day to times that are less critical.
Learn to delegate the things that can be done by others.
Control the things that relate to business generation, clients, marketing, and negotiation. All of these things will impact your business and cannot be overlooked or passed to others.
Create habits when it comes to the most important things in the business day. Do them to a schedule at the same time. Habits help you move ahead and get traction on the things that matter.
Don’t let other people have access to your diary where they can add appointments to your day. Only you should set appointments as you are the one that understands your focus.
If you want to be a top agent in commercial real estate, protect your time and do the right things as part of your working day. Take control.
When you have worked in commercial real estate sales or leasing a little while you will understand that many things happen to you on a given working day, and besides all of that you really do need to take control of the essential tasks that are part of your working day.
On a typical day these are the things that are very common events:
Prospecting is required
Meetings with new clients
Marketing of existing properties
Inspecting properties with qualified prospects
Filling your database with new information
Negotiating with sellers, buyers, tenants, and landlords
Some salespeople drop one or more of these items for the sake of keeping everything under control. So which one do they drop most commonly?
The answer is quite simple. When commercial real estate salespeople and agents get busy they usually drop the prospecting out of their diary. Why do they do that? Because they hate it, are not prepared for it, don’t like it, they don’t think that they need to do it, and the list goes on. There are probably several hundred reasons why a salesperson will not prospect.
If this sounds like you, the one single decision to drop prospecting out of your business day is likely to be the worst decision you could make. In 3 months’ time you will be struggling with no stock, little enquiry, and low commissions.
When it comes to planning your business day, priority should be given to the essential processes that build your business. Regardless of how long you’ve been in the industry, prospecting still ranks number one in the diary. When you prospect correctly and affectively, you will build massive opportunity over time.
To get your business day organised, always place prospecting as the number one item on the day’s action list. Without fail, that should be the task that is done first before you do anything else.
I have seen many situations where experienced salespeople that have been in the industry for a long time will find many different reasons not to prospect. They will usually fall back on their experience in the industry saying that prospecting on the telephone doesn’t work for them, or they haven’t got the time.
In this industry, excuses are far too common and hold back most people from getting the results that they require or desire. Show me a salesperson that takes regular and consistent prospecting action, and I’ll show you a significant income earner in the making. Out of every 10 salespeople, it is likely that only 2 will rise to the occasion of changing their habits in this positive way, and perform more successfully than anyone else. These 2 salespeople will become the Top Agents in their market.
Let’s face some facts. To start prospecting, you need to change your habits in a significant way. We have had many years of life experience to build our habits around us, and feel comfortable with the way we do things. Our habits can make us or destroy us. The only person that has the key to the process of change is you.
If you have been working in commercial real estate agency for some time, you will know that there are many different things to do every day. That being the case, it is very easy to take the ‘easy road’ and avoid the hard and difficult tasks.
An average working day for a commercial salesperson looks a bit like this:
Prospecting for new business with business proprietors, and property investors
Inspecting other competitors listings in the market to understand how they are impacting your listings
Talking to property owners to update them on activities and marketing changes
Listing new properties and checking the relative details of price and marketing
Servicing existing listings to the qualified prospects and target market
Running marketing campaigns for existing listings to lift the levels of enquiry currently available
Reporting to property owners on progress made from recent inspections
Inspecting properties with qualified prospects to encourage offers and negotiations
Farming your territory in a methodical way to strengthening your market domination
Building a presence on the Internet for yourself personally as a specialist within a property type and a particular area
Taking offers and negotiating contracts and leases as the case may be
Getting involved with the sales team with regular meetings and market updates
Writing proposals for new business
A career in commercial real estate sales and leasing is perhaps one of the best and most rewarding selling environments you can work in providing you work hard and in a systemized way. Some salespeople struggle with being systemized even in these times where freely available technology helps us enormously.
One of the main attributes of human beings and particularly salespeople is that we have choices and we make choices; the choices we make in commercial real estate on a daily basis can radically impact the results that we achieve. That is the single most challenging aspect of salespeople in the industry. The majority of the salespeople make poor choices when it comes to their daily activities and points of focus. They would rather take the easy road than the challenging road.
Some of the things in the list are far easier than others. Invariably many salespeople do the easy things first and neglect the hard things. Most commonly, it is the hard things that really do bring in the business; prospecting is perhaps the most important item on the list. Most salespeople fail to prospect on a regular basis.
The most important things in the list can be summarized in a very short number of issues when it comes to commercial real estate salespeople. They are:
Prospecting for new business
Servicing existing exclusive listings and key clients
Finding of qualified buyers and tenants to satisfy the needs of each listing
Negotiating and closing on a realistic offers
All of these items link together to form the results that we require. Create a list of actions like this and incorporated it into your diary. Are there salespeople out there who are prepared to take the necessary steps to make their business happen on a daily basis? The answer is yes, and they are the top agents. Action is everything in our industry. Talking about something without taking the action is of no value whatsoever.
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