A broker friend of mine called with a referral. It seems an acquaintance of his had a problem with a “lowball” appraisal. After a brief game of telephone tag, I was able to speak to the gentleman. He was upset about an appraisal of his vacation home and was wondering what do to, and if I could help.

After about 15 minutes of listening I said to him, “you don’t have an appraisal problem. You have a problem with your bank, which has made promises it can’t or won’t keep”.

“Phrased another way”, I said, “you have a relationship problem and the appraisal is a symptom. It is probably time to have a heart-to-heart talk with someone of rank at your current bank and perhaps consider working with another lender”.

Towards the end of our conversation the gentleman asked if he could do anything for me. I told him about the kind of work I do and what I want to do in the future, and then asked for referrals.

Unto itself, this encounter wasn’t much. But for me personally and professionally it was somewhat revolutionary, as I exercised three new skills: listening, reframing and asking for referrals.

And to think only recently most of my exercise came from jumping to conclusions.