HOW TO HAVE DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS IN REAL ESTATE AND DELIVER THEM DECISIVELY.
There is one thing most of us are guilty of, well there’s a lot more than one actually, but for purposes of this blog topic it is putting off having difficult conversations. For some people it can be so fear and anxiety-inducing that often the relevance of the conversation is lost because it has taken so long to muster up the courage to have that awkward chat. Whether it is a work colleague, a boss or client, determining how to start and have a difficult conversation, is an essential life and business skill. The consequences of not having that uncomfortable conversation can be costly, and handling a difficult conversation requires not only skill and empathy but importantly the courage to actually go ahead and have it. The more you jump right in and have these conversations the more adept you will become at having them.
In real estate there is a myriad of difficult conversations to be had, from discussing the price of a property and marketing budgets to conversations with buyers who may not budge on a price or may have missed out on their dream home. There’s no real easy way to have them in all honesty, like a band-aid you just have to rip it off. One of my colleagues uses the analogy “deliver news like a doctor giving a patient a bad diagnosis… be direct, don’t sugar-coat, but show some empathy, then most importantly prescribe a solution”.
So, here are some of our top tips for having a difficult conversation in real estate
- Be clear about the issue – Ask yourself what is the issue or problem you or your client is facing? You need to have clarity yourself surrounding what the issue is so you can articulate it clearly and concisely to your client. If you aren’t clear on the central issue you won’t make your point decisively and your intentions will be blurred.
- Know your desired outcome – What do you want to accomplish from the conversation? What are you are wanting to achieve at the end of the conversation and deliver your message with the result in mind?
- Be thoughtful for a moment – Spend a little time to reflect on how your client will likely receive the information you want to share and what their expected objections to it might be. Have solutions ready to address their concerns, but importantly be willing to listen to their issues before responding. You want to deliver your message as respectfully and authentically as you can.
- Show empathy – Listen and validate their feelings. We are so used to functioning with our emotions left safely tucked inside us but buying and selling real estate can and does conjure up all sorts of emotions. Your dream home being sold because you can no longer afford it, missing out on your dream home because someone else put in a better offer and not achieving the price you really wanted are all stress and anxiety-inducing scenarios that can also lead to emotions boiling over. Your job when delving into difficult conversations is to understand that and show empathy and understanding as required.
- Be consistent – Ensure your objective or outcome is fair and continue to deliver your message consistently. Despite any objections that arise stand by your decision and continue to deliver your message or outcome, don’t be derailed.
- Be direct – How to start the conversation is often the most difficult, so have a plan of attack on how your opening sentence might sound. Even practice it out loud a few times to make sure it sounds right. Make sure your tone of voice signals discussion not demand or reprimand.
- Have a solution – Probably the most important step in any difficult conversation. Offer up your advice and thoughts on resolving the situation or problem.
- Be decisive – Don’t let issues drag on just because you know it is going to be a difficult conversation. Decide to have the conversation and deliver it, there’s no room for procrastination. If the market is telling you the property is overpriced, you need to act decisively and have that conversation with the vendor, there’s no time to wait another week or two.
- Be courageous – Don’t be afraid to deliver any news, the good, the bad, or the plain old ugly truth. Put yourselves in their shoes and take a big deep breath and say what needs to be said. The most difficult part of the conversation should be said in the first sentence, often it is the elephant in the room anyway, so the sooner you dive in, the more comfortable everyone will be.
- Be honest – This is not about you; this is about them. Tell them the truth or the reality of the situation, you aren’t doing your client any favours by beating around the bush or only sharing partial information.
These principals literally apply to any difficult conversations in the workplace, personally or professionally with clients. So, stop putting them off, pull up your big girl or boy pants, and dive right into those difficult conversations. Trust me you’ll feel a lot better for it.
iThink Property has a team of real estate agents in Ipswich and Toowoomba offering property sales and property management services. With a passion for people and property, iThink Property was conceived with the notion of building a team of good people to work in a real estate brand that did things differently. iThink Property focuses on transparency, communication, innovation and teamwork and has become a leading independent brand with unique points of difference. So whether you are thinking of buying, selling or renting, think iThink Property.