Learn how to properly negotiate and deal with difficult people in commercial real estate, without sacrificing your own principles.
In this article:
- Stay Calm
- Learn to Listen
- Acknowledge the Problem
- Educate Your Clients
- Ask About Their Deadlines
- Be Both Available and Exclusive
- Refer Them to Someone Else
- Be Creative
- Qualify Your Clients
- Be Transparent
- Emit Positive Vibes
- Know Your Purpose
- Fix Your Priorities
13 Tips: How to Deal With Difficult People in CRE
1. Stay Calm
The first thing you need to learn is how to stay calm even in the face of an unreasonable and insensitive client. In commercial real estate, you’re going to transact with all kinds of clients, customers, and businessmen from all walks of life. If you can’t stay calm when dealing with difficult people, then you might not last long in the industry.
Perhaps the number one thing to remember here is you can never control what happens to you. However, you can control how you react. Ask yourself: would this problem go away if you went berserk? If not, then stay calm and just do your job the best that you can.
2. Learn to Listen
If you don’t know how to listen to the concerns of your clients, then you are being a difficult person as well. Don’t ever cut someone off in the middle of a sentence. It’s rude and it’s bound to spark arguments. Instead of trying to learn how to talk to difficult people, you should first know how to listen to them.
Read between the lines to understand exactly what the other party wants. There will be times where difficult people don’t exactly know how to say what they want. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a chance to try.
3. Acknowledge the Problem
As CRE brokers, we sometimes think we know it all. That’s why when a client raises a question or objection, we instantly feel annoyed. However, CRE brokers need to learn how to empathize with their clients and investors.
Always remember that there are two sides to a coin. Genuinely try to understand their situation, acknowledge their objection, and then propose a mutually beneficial solution. At the end of the day, it’s your job to provide commercial real estate solutions your clients can be happy about.
4. Educate Your Clients
Misunderstandings and lack of prior knowledge are often the cause of arguments. As a CRE broker, it’s your job to educate any of your peers or clients who aren’t as well-versed in the industry. If you can clarify problems and misunderstandings before they even happen, then the chances of the argument actually starting will drastically decrease.
Important: This doesn’t give you a free pass to act like a know-it-all. You need to learn how to educate them without being condescending. Remember: nobody wants to feel inferior. If you act cocky and arrogant, then you become a difficult person as well.
5. Ask About Their Deadlines
It’s very troublesome to deal with clients who are in a rush to finish the deal. Sadly, investors and clients in commercial real estate usually have a deadline to catch. The best way to avoid this is to ask your clients and investors beforehand what their deadlines are.
If you can’t find a middle ground where all parties involved will benefit, then you might want to cut that client loose. However, so you don’t end up being a difficult person as well, try to solve their problem first. If you can provide them with a viable real estate solution that generates profit, then everybody wins.
6. Be Both Available and Exclusive
Some clients tend to take advantage of CRE brokers who are too nice. While it’s your job to meet their needs, that doesn’t mean the client has access to you and your resources 24/7. Establish that you’re a busy broker who cannot comply with unreasonable demands at a moment’s notice.
However, you wouldn’t want to distance yourself too much as well. A good way to handle these types of clients is to acknowledge their message by saying you will look into their concerns and get back to them as soon as you can. This establishes that you’re available, but also that you have other matters to attend to. You need to work with clients who value you, your experience, and your time.
7. Refer Them to Someone Else
If you really can’t work with someone on a commercial real estate deal, then it might be best to refer them to someone else. Take a moment to scan through your contact list to determine who the perfect match is. Chances are, you and the other party involved just aren’t compatible. Afterward, you can just ask for a referral’s commission from your friend.
Tip: CRE brokers should aim to create a solid, well-balanced network with others in the industry. You never know when you might need the help of another professional. Set aside some time every day to network with your peers. Just make sure you don’t lose sight of your purpose and turn your networking event into just another night out.
8. Be Creative
When handling difficult people in commercial real estate, always keep an open mind and be creative. Remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes to understand where they’re coming from. Don’t just sympathize with them. Rather, empathize with your clients and investors so you can determine what your clients need.
With that in mind, try to be creative in providing commercial real estate solutions. What worked well for a previous client might not necessarily be as effective for another. Think outside the box and don’t limit your clients to one or two options. If you effectively apply the other tips on this list, you’re bound to have an idea of what the other party expects from you.
9. Qualify Your Clients
Perhaps the best way to steer clear of these types of problems is to entirely avoid dealing with difficult people. As you progress in your career as a CRE broker, you’ll know how to determine when a prospective client is problematic or not. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re supposed to run an exclusive service. Rather, you should start qualifying your clients as soon as you can.
Remember: You’re a CRE broker, not their slave. Contrary to popular belief, the customer isn’t always right. Know your worth and weed out the bad apples that are simply impossible to work with. Prevention is always better than cure.
10. Be Transparent
In commercial real estate, everyone wants to earn as much as they can. You’re going to come across plenty of penny-pinching clients and investors. These people might panic and get angry if you shock them with an inflated and poorly explained bill.
To prevent this from happening, make sure to lay out all the costs and fees they need to pay. That way, they can prepare themselves financially and mentally before both parties push through with a deal. Remember: transparency and honesty are the keys to handling these types of clients.
Important: Never overcharge a client. An extra buck or two isn’t enough reason to compromise your principles and values. Don’t ever cheat your clients, investors, or agents in commercial real estate.
11. Emit Positive Vibes
This works in dealing with both clients and agents. For clients, no one really wants to work with a gloomy CRE broker. They want to work with someone who’s enthusiastic and sincere. Your clients will give back what you emit. If you provide them with positivity, then they’ll respond positively as well. On the other hand, acting negatively will only result in arguments and misunderstandings.
Similarly, when dealing with agents, remember that they need a manager they can depend on. Instead of bugging them about meeting the quarterly quota, try giving them advice on how they can further improve in the industry. If you encourage your team properly, the sales will come naturally.
12. Know Your Purpose
If you don’t know what your role is, then you won’t be able to successfully handle difficult clients. As a CRE broker, aspire to become a great resource to your peers, friends, and of course, clients. Apart from generating more leads and prospects, being a great resource allows you to effectively tackle any problems a client may have.
Think about it, no client would want to work with a mediocre broker who can’t deliver. As such, never stop learning about the industry. Treat every experience as a chance to learn more.
13. Fix Your Priorities
Are your priorities aligned with your goals? If not, then you might need to set aside some time to revisit them. A CRE broker who can’t manage time properly will never gain the respect of a client. When that happens, your client’s not being difficult. Instead, you’re the one who’s making the process a hassle for everyone involved.
You need to be there for a client when they need you. Similarly, you should be able to contact them swiftly if ever you need any information from them. It’s a complex process, but with enough practice, you can maintain a healthy balance with the different people you work with.
These are just some of the tips on how to deal with difficult people in commercial real estate. Overall, just remember to empathize with your client so you can provide the solution they’re looking for. Never let your emotions get the best of you. You can’t effectively handle a difficult client if you’re being a troublesome CRE broker as well.
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