Listen to the Story – Even if You’ve Heard it Already
Many sellers are contacting their Real Estate agent because they’ve accepted the fact they will lose their home if they don’t make something happen – and fast. Maybe they are planners and realize that they are not going to be able to stretch the dollars quite as far as they thought. Maybe they’ve already missed some payments. Or … the letters and knocks at the door have begun….
We are hearing a lot of different stories, many of them very sad and depressing. It’s important to listen. Listen to the details even when you know how their story is going to end. It’s hard for me not to go as far as even feeling their pain. These appointments take longer, but sometimes you just have to accept that. Many times the seller(s) are opening up a very personal part of their life with The Real Estate Agent they just met when they opened the door – go ahead and just listen.
Regardless of the painful realization that often occurs with homeowner’s facing tough times and having to sell their home, it’s important that you remain the professional. That’s a hard lesson for some of us – me especially – holding back even the tear forming when I’m told that Mrs died after a painful ending, Mr’s company downsized, Brother committed suicide, and Daughter was mugged – all in the last six months.
Sometimes I Worry
I remember the day just last September when I went to pick up LittleOne5 from her first day at Kindergarten. I couldn’t wait to see her. I waited and waited in the pick up line. “She’ll be down soon, I’m sure,” Ms. Staff said. I started seeing kids that looked familiar, but it was only the first day, I couldn’t be sure they were from her classroom. “Kindergarten takes a little more time,” Ms. Staff said as she saw me start pacing. I overheard her call the office and others on the walkie-talkie. All was calm. I was fine, I could tell the situation was under control and being handled.
In an instant – the ambiance changed. Like a flip-flop turn. “Well then where could she be?!” I looked over puzzled as I could tell the mood had changed – she wasn’t calm on her radio anymore. “We have to find her! Her mother is here! She isn’t anywhere?” The professionals I had depended on for stability were no longer in control – I freaked. I began checking the other dismissal points and saw staff on their radios trying to find her.
Had the staff continued to assure me that they were taking care of the situation and had it under control – I would have remained calm.
Stay Calm, Cool, and Collected
As Real Estate Agents it is often the same way. There are many situations that fall in our laps with issues we have to deal with. Leave your emotions. Keep the professional hat on. Stay calm. Address the problem at hand using the facts while following the process and procedure you have set in place. Be the rock. Let your clients know that they are in good hands. Don’t panic. When presenting information that could cause distress – remain even keeled. When the professional breaks – the scaffolding falls.
If you worry, like I tend to – do it behind their back. It’s ok to be compassionate.
Yes, I found LittleOne5, just before they put her on a bus to who-knows-where. “But Mommy, I wanted to ride the bus!”
March 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm
Kim – Awesome article. I have my article due right now, but here I sit pondering this one instead. A fellow agent and friend had a “situation” the other day and I wish she could have read this before it happened. She handled it well, but I know she was close to snapping. This article would have helped her get through it I’m sure.
So good, I sent it to TwitThis.
March 4, 2009 at 9:32 pm
Kim- This is so right on. Unfortunately more emotional financially distraught situations are becoming more common today. I think it is imperative for agents to go the extra mile- listen and respond with compassion and understand that any guidance or help no matter how small is greatly appreciated.
March 4, 2009 at 9:39 pm
Wow Kim, powerful stuff. Thanks.
I’m not an agent, but can relate. So many people I care about have lost, or worried about losing their jobs. Each time I hear of another friend has been laid off, my heart breaks and I want to cry and/or scream when I hear the panic in their voice. It’s difficult to be optimistic without sounding Pollyanna. What helps me get through it is to offer genuine help, such as a warm introduction or a link to a job posting that may be a fit.
At the end of the day we do need to balance steeling ourselves against absorbing the sadness/drama/negativity with compassion and a sense of community. Easier said than done.
March 4, 2009 at 10:18 pm
I maintain my composure until I get in the car and then when I pull away, am just over taken by sadness and emotions.
My buyers agents are all happy, happy and I am dealing with the sellers and not so yippy skippy right now.
March 4, 2009 at 10:47 pm
Kim – These are the toughest ones to handle, but I do it, because many will not, or do not. In the end, it is most often the best work I have done in this business.
Having my child lost – that I could not handle.