What decisions and paths should the real estate industry be prioritizing? And how can you, whether managing a team or an entire company, bring those best lessons to bear where you work? In February, in advance of building an industry blueprint at Inman Disconnect, we’ll plumb the topic of leadership with Q&As with top industry leaders, contributions from esteemed Inman columnists and more.
We’ve all been there — the agent on the other end of the transaction is aggressive, short-fused, and impossible to work alongside. Every question or request is met with confrontation, and there is no attempt at collaboration toward the shared goal of closing the transaction.
So, what do you do? Do you meet them with the same anger, carry on with a hard exterior, and beat each other down until you cross the finish line? Or do you find a way to be the bigger person and “take one for the team” so everyone can peacefully work together?
In this situation, I like to give myself the same pep talk I give my 8-year-old daughter and bring it back to the basics: Typically, other people’s frustration has nothing to do with you. You may have become the scapegoat for the other agent’s problems, fears or worries without even knowing it. The other agent likely has something going on in their life, causing them to treat others in a way that can feel aggressive or hurtful. The best solution is to be direct and kind, and approach the situation thoughtfully.
Below are a few common examples of dealing with unreasonable agents on the other side of the deal and how I deal with each one.
The agent who speaks for the clients
For example, if an agent is attacking me for my client’s request for repairs, I always ask the same question as calmly as I possibly can:
“Have you talked to your client yet? Is this their reaction, or is it yours?”
This is my favorite question because it offers a moment of inward reflection and pause from the agent on the other side. Often, I will learn that the client hasn’t seen whatever document we’re talking about yet, which offers additional insight on how to approach the remainder of the transaction.
The overreactive agent
If I know the agent is quick to react, I can be more strategic in each conversation I have with them from that point forward. So, for example, if I need to begin a conversation that may cause friction, I’ll lead with something like this:
“We are on the same team, and I want to work with you to get this deal across the finish line. To do that, we have to come to some type of agreement on repairs. Why don’t I share my client’s requests with you, and then we can brainstorm together on how to find a middle ground.”
Approaching each conversation from a collaborative perspective sets the tone, and it’s basic human nature at that point to respond more respectfully.
The agent who needs boundaries
But what about when you have an agent on the other side who sees red and won’t respond well to your approaches? That is when your directness and boundaries come into play.
If you have an agent, or a client, who is treating you poorly, the first step is to calmly communicate the boundaries in which you’re willing to communicate.
For example, if every time you pick up the phone, the agent raises their voice to you, you can communicate via email and say something like:
“Based on our past few phone conversations, I have decided we should only communicate via email from now on. I do not appreciate being yelled at or spoken to in the tone I have experienced. I am willing to attempt a phone conversation again if we can agree on how we will work together to achieve our mutual goal of closing this deal.”
Bringing awareness to your boundaries and the way the agent has been treating you will almost always warrant a more respectful conversation. But if it doesn’t, hold true to your boundaries, and only communicate under the terms you see fit.
Real estate is a highly emotional business because we are helping clients with their most valuable investments, but it doesn’t mean that we, as agents, need to take on these same emotions. I see it as our job to stay calm, cool, and collected, especially in the face of turbulence. The next time you experience a hot-headed agent, try these tips to cool it down.
Amie Quirarte is a luxury real estate agent with Tahoe Luxury Properties in California and Nevada. Connect with her on Facebook or LinkedIn.