• Staying calm in a heated situation allows you to remain in control.
  • Reciprocating with bad behavior might be vindicating -- and also foolish.
  • Know when enough is enough and when to abort mission.

Real estate is stressful, and with stress, our clients might exhibit personality traits we don’t expect. Clients might become difficult or downright squirrely. I recently had an experience with a difficult client that caused me to exercise some long-forgotten skills.

How do you keep your senses, even when your client appears they have lost theirs? Here are four tips:

1. Stay calm and in control

A problem can rapidly spin out of control when both parties lose their temper. This particular client was combative and hostile out of the gate, questioning just about every aspect of the transaction. Further, his hostility spread to nearly every party involved in the transaction.

As agents, it is our job to be in control of the transaction. Staying calm in a heated situation allows you to remain in control. In this case, it took every ounce of sanity I had to stay calm and rational when this client turned fanatical. I did it, though, and this person never took the wheel.

2. Remain professional

We have an obligation in our business to remain professional, even when other parties do not reciprocate. All my professionalism could easily have gone out the door every time this client opened his mouth or sent an email.

However, I recognized that though reciprocating would make me feel vindicated, it would just as well make me appear foolish. I chose to take the high road, remain professional and not engage in his outlandish behavior.

3. Don’t take it personally

After a few initial raging emails and text messages from this client, I realized that his behavior was due to issues I had no control over. It took a good deal of soul searching not to take his behavior personally, even when the attacks were unwarranted and direct.

Recognize that your client’s behavior is not likely a new problem. Do your best not to take it personally and focus on doing your job ethically and professionally.

4. Know when to abort the mission

I was able to manage this individual long enough to see this transaction through to the closing table. I struggled, however, with whether this client’s verbal assaults were worth the paycheck.

Selling real estate is stressful enough without adding unwarranted abuse from a client. No sale is worth risking your personal health, or worse, being unjustly sued. Establish your boundaries, and stick to them. Your personal boundaries will help you determine if and when to cut those ties that bind.

We have all been there. I would love to hear steps others have taken to handle a difficult client. Please share your stories in the comments section below.

Kellie Tinnin is a Real Estate Agent in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Follow Kellie on Twitter @KellieTinnin.

Email Kellie Tinnin.

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