By Ross Wilson
“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s okay to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” – H. Stanley Judd
Do you ever experience situations in which an obdurate client refuses to heed your advice? Maybe they unreasonably reject what you feel is a fair offer or insist on something that seems completely devoid of logic. You know in your gut that their course of action is wrong for them, but with all your experience, you’re unable to help them understand. And if you press too much, you might elicit a reaction you prefer to avoid; bigger divisive walls or worse, a boot fits figuratively against your butt as you’re impolitely encouraged to exit their home.
Humans are naturally emotional beings. And with major decisions involving large sums of money, they can certainly be volatile. You’ll undoubtedly meet people who are belligerent, arrogant, cantankerous, argumentative, sarcastic or narcissistic, as well as some who are really not nice. You seek qualified teachers from whom to learn business skills. So, why not endow yourself with the skills to handle such destructive emotions and maintain inner peace and harmony?
Their negative feelings are a result of their issues – not yours. Don’t make them your own. Resist being embroiled in their personality issues because you’ll not change them. Learn to identify the behaviour in others that triggers a negative reactive emotion in you. And when this happens, step back, witness and acknowledge it, silently count to 10 and let it pass.
To assist during moments of conflict or even its potential, you may want to consider developing skills in the field of conflict resolution. Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. wrote several books, one of which is entitled Nonviolent Communication; A Language of Life. Create Your Life, Your Relationships and Your World in Harmony with Your Values. Here’s an excerpt:
“Most of us have been educated from birth to compete, judge, demand and diagnose – to think and communicate in terms of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ with people. At best, the habitual ways we think and speak hinder communication and create misunderstanding and frustration in others and in ourselves. And still worse, they cause anger and pain and may lead to violence. Without wanting to, even people with the best of intentions generate needless conflict. We express our feelings in terms of what another person has ‘done to us’. We struggle to understand what we want or need in the moment and how to effectively ask for what we want without using unhealthy demands, threats or coercion … ‘What others do may be a stimulus of our feelings, but not the cause.’ At best, thinking and communicating this way can create misunderstanding and frustration, or simply keep us from getting what we want. It can also keep us from the fulfilling relationships we deserve. And still worse, it can lead to anger, depression and even emotional or physical violence.”
If you’re interested in learning to “transform the thinking, moralistic judgments and language that keep you from the enriching relationships you dream of”, more easily resolve conflicts, ask for instead of demand what you want, more easily understand the true needs of others, strengthen personal and professional relationships and begin living to your fullest potential, I encourage you to study non-violent communication. How would possessing these skills help your real estate practice? You’d be better equipped to avoid reacting (or suppressing) and instead, deal more calmly with any stimulus or conflict that might arise in your professional and personal life. Your level of life success is directly related to and highly dependent upon your attitude, which in turn depends upon your happiness, peace of mind and self confidence. Learning new interpersonal relationship techniques can improve your life in general – and your business in particular.
Occasions may arise when a client reacts angrily to your attempts to dissuade them from a particular path. Why do they behave so? Anger is a derivative of fear. Why are they afraid? What’s the source of their inner conflict? Do they not trust your advice? Do they object to the quality of your service? Is it a credibility issue? Are they disappointed? Do they have a hidden agenda that they guiltily perceive you may be inadvertently close to discovering? Have you missed a signal from them? Are they feeling overwhelmed?
Maybe they simply need reassurance that you know what you’re talking about and that they can trust you. Maybe they feel you’re just not hearing them or failing to sincerely understand their wants and needs. Since many people lack the ability to articulate their feelings, they might be deliberately suppressing their anger. Or they may be afraid to express themselves out of a fear of being judged. Life could be a whole lot easier if we were all mind-readers, but we’re not. However, if you’re equipped to read the signs, at least you might lessen the chance of being deceived, if not improve your level of service.
Sometimes a clarification of the common goal and the logical steps toward attaining it will be all that it takes to resolve the situation. Talk about it – and listen. Pay attention. You have the same objective; the sale of their home and/or the purchase of another. If you’re unable to resolve the problem, often they don’t move, and you don’t collect a commission.
The old adage that the customer is always right went out the window with the stereotypical slick, cigar-smoking salesman who couldn’t care less about the customer’s needs. For a fast buck, they’d press anybody into anything. Whatever was right for the salesman was made right for anybody with a pulse. Unfortunately, many of this breed still exist – maybe without the cigar. The fact is, though, that the client is not always technically right. To professionally serve them, when appropriate, it’s imperative to tactfully tell them so.
Your client is always right, I suppose, in that they have the right to express their feelings, be it fear, anger, love, gratitude or whatever. But don’t try to convince them of their error before understanding the truth behind their behaviour. You certainly want to avoid a heated argument. You may be dealing with a powerful ego too, both theirs and yours. Ego gets us into trouble almost every time. How do you convince a client to see your point of view without offending them?
“The components of anxiety, stress, fear and anger do not exist independently of you in the world. They simply do not exist in the physical world even though we talk about them as if they do.” – Wayne Dyer