I just read the story about the flight attendant who lost his cool after an incident with an unruly passenger.
Civility seems to be a thing of the past, so it’s more important than ever to know how to respond to difficult people in touchy situations. In fact, success as a real estate professional requires the ability to work with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations.
Here are eight suggestions for handling difficult people in difficult situations.
- Empathize. Learn to shift your perspective so you can see the situation from the other person’s point of view.
- Listen. Sometimes people who are upset only want someone to hear them out.
- Maintain Respect. Remember, there’s a real person behind all that bad behavior. Try to maintain your respect for the person even if you can’t accept their outlandish actions.
- Take Time Out. It works for your children and can work for you. Take a moment to de-stress before responding to the situation.
- Keep Your Perspective. When you’re in a tough spot, remember that years from now, you’ll probably laugh about this incident. So relax and take it in stride now.
- Use Humor. Why wait years to laugh. There’s humor in almost any situation if you look at it in the right way.
- Surprise Them. You probably shouldn’t laugh in the face of someone who’s angry—but on the other hand, sometimes saying something humorous or totally unexpected can leave loudmouthed bullies speechless and change the dynamic of the situation.
- Stay in Control. Whatever you do, always maintain your composure. In a touch situation, someone has to stay level-headed and unemotional. Make sure that someone is you.
What else would you add?
Your client likes to text you. Her attorney prefers e-mail. The loan officer leaves you voicemail and that other agent sends you docs via fax.
The people you’re working with to get the deal closed can contact you in a number of ways, so you need an easy way to check all messages and keep all your communication organized.
That’s where these great applications come in. All of them translate information into text and/or forward it to your email inbox, making it easy for you to receive and organize.
Fax to email applications let you send faxes from your computer or mobile phone and receive them in your email inbox:
- The eFax basic plan lets you receive faxes in your email inbox from a local number (or, for an additional fee, from a toll-free number). The upgrade plan also converts voicemail messages to text and sends them to your inbox. Pricing for the basic plan starts as low as $14.13 per month with a $10 set up fee.
- With myFax, you can receive up to 200 incoming fax pages as email and send up to 100 fax pages for $10 per month with no set-up fee. Choose a local or toll free fax number for the same price. Upgrade plans allow for more pages.
Phone-to-email applications manage and route incoming calls, and convert voicemail, texts, and faxes to e-mail:
- RingCentral virtually manages your phones by answering calls 24/7 and routing them to the requested person, even if that person is not in the office. It can send voicemail, text messages, and faxes to the agent’s email inbox for easy retrieval and storage. It can also give a team or small brokerage a professional feel without the need for a receptionist or expensive phone equipment. The basic plan allows for unlimited phone, fax, and voicemail for one user and starts at $49.99 per month; a plan for four users is $99.99.
- Feature-rich Grasshopper managers your calls and routes faxes and voicemails to your inbox. In addition, it lets you choose your on-hold music, create an extension with additional information for callers, and easily set up conference calls. An upgrade feature can even read your voicemails to you while you’re, say, driving. The basic plans starts at $9.99 per month with a $25 activation fee.
- If you’re willing to use a number assigned to you by Google Voice, you can set it up so that number rings all of your phones, translates your voicemail and text messages to email, reads your voicemail to you, records your phone calls while you’re on the line, and blocks calls you designate by sending them directly to voicemail. And because it’s Google, it’s free, but it does require an invitation and it’s only available in the U.S.
The New York Times finds that it takes about 6 years before the financial benefits of buying outweigh the costs for a sample prospective homebuyer in the New York area.
Use this calculator in the New York Times to help your clients assess the costs and benefits of renting vs. buying.
Facebook’s changes and “unchanges” in recent weeks should be a reminder to us all that it’s probably not safe to pin our marketing hopes on something we can’t control. And while you probably shouldn’t cancel your Facebook account just yet, you probably should re-evaluate the relative importance of your blog, your Facebook page, and any other social media you’re using.
In fact, your blog turns out to be one of the most valuable Internet marketing resources you have. Here’s why:
- You don’t own your Facebook account, and therefore, you have no say over what changes Facebook might implement.
- You don’t own the content on your Facebook page so that if it were shut down for some reason—or if some change in Facebook policy were to go too far and you decided to close your account—your content would be lost.
- You like to think of them as “your” followers, but you can’t control how Facebook chooses to use the private information of people who like your page.
- Your content (and that of millions of other people, of course) is what makes Facebook successful. Your effort enriches Facebook. Are you getting back as much as you give?
- Your blog, on the other hand, is yours. You set it up, you make the decisions, and you own the content.
- Your blog enriches only you, your brokerage, or whomever you chose to write about.
- Your readers are your readers and your subscribers are your subscribers. As long as you put out good content and treat them well, they’ll stay with you. (You don’t have to worry that changes someone else makes might erode your readership.)
- Other than occasional upgrades to the blogging software, there will be no changes that you don’t authorize.
The Internet and the social media tools we all use will no doubt continue to change and evolve as the big players try to find ways to gain market share and turn a profit. That means we’ll frequently need to review our Internet strategy and the usefulness of the tools we’re using. In the mean time, don’t ignore your blog. It’s one of the best tools you have.
Crowsourcing is the process of arriving at the best solution by aggregating information from a large number of sources. Crowdsourcing works because, apparently, human beings are smarter as a group than any one of us is individually.
The Internet is an excellent medium for crowdsourcing because it can accept input from so many people. One local real estate board is making use of the Internet’s crowdsourcing capabilities to raise the bar professionally.
The Houston Association of Realtors® (HAR) has created a Client Experience Rating system, which uses information from the “crowd” to assess the performance of real estate professionals. At the conclusion of each transaction, buyers and sellers are invited to rate their agent. Clients are asked to rate their agents on competency, on the agent’s knowledge of the market, on how well the agent communicated with the client during the process, and on the client’s overall experience. Clients area also allowed write free-form comments about their agent, and about their buying or selling experience.
HAR complies these surveys and gives each agent a score (e.g., 4.8 stars out of 5). Agent’s scores are then posted in a number of places on the HAR website, including on the agent’s web page and alongside his or her MLS listings. Prospective clients can see the agent’s score, and can know many transactions that agent has completed before hiring him or her. At some point, the Houston Association of Realtors® plans to allow clients to search for agents by score, which will, no doubt, reward better agents over time and weed out weaker ones.
Crowdsourcing has allowed Wikipedia to become a bigger, more vibrant encyclopedia than any paper reference book could ever be. Crowdsourcing has the potential to raise the stakes for the real estate profession as well.