Sooner or later we all run into someone who is rude or obnoxious. This is particularly difficult when that rude of obnoxious person is one of our clients. The question is how to cope with the situation, or even better yet, avoid it entirely. Here are three simple tips that can help you cope when necessary with a client who is not on their best behavior.
1. Realize their behavior is probably fear based.
Almost all obnoxious behavior has its roots in fear. To cope with clients who are yelling or screaming, the first thing to realize is that when someone is fearful adding any more emotion to the situation makes them even more afraid. The best way to handle fearful clients is to remain calm and to avoid pushing them. Ask your clients if there is any additional information you can provide or if there’s anything else you can do to make them more comfortable with the buying or selling process. Be there to support and calm them rather than trying to steam roller them into a deal they’re not ready to make. When someone is afraid, the more you push, the more likely they will be to back away due to fear.
2. Calm their anger
One of the best ways to stop an angry client from yelling at you is to do what is known as a “pattern interrupt.” The strategy is to stop the angry behavior as quickly as possible. A “pattern interrupt” might be asking the person who is upset to pause for a moment while you obtain a pen and paper to write down what they are saying. If you’re away from home, you might ask the person who is yelling if you could have a glass of water. Changing their body position often times changes their mood.
After doing the “pattern interrupt”, ask the angry individual to repeat what they were saying so you can write it down. Making the individual go back through what they have already covered usually reduces some of the anger. Take careful notes on what they say.
Next,ask the individual to pause. Read back what they stated in a totally neutral tone of voice (“Charge neutral.”) By repeating what they have said in a calm, unemotional voice, you are defusing the situation by taking the anger and emotion out of their words.
Finally, ask the individual if you correctly wrote down their concerns. Then ask if there is anything else. Stay with the anger until the person has said everything they needed to say. Continue to repeat back what they say in a quiet, calm voice.
3. Coping with your own mistakes
Let’s face it–no one is perfect. If you made a mistake, own it. Here’s what to say:
“It was never my intention to make you angry. What can I do to correct the problem?”
Notice that there is no acceptance or blame–only an effort to correct something that has gone wrong. If someone is unjustifiably angry, don’t argue with them or try to prove your point. If you can’t honestly say, “I understand your point of view,” at least write down their concerns and read them back to make sure you have captured them correctly. Most people will calm down if someone is willing to listen to them and to address the situation.
Perhaps the best approach comes from “Dear Abby.” She reminds us,
“The next time you feel like fighting fire with fire, remember that the fire department uses water.”
Posted by Bernice Ross. Join us this week on RealEstateCoachRadio.com and hear Steve Cook, the Managing Director of Real Estate Economy Watch for Good Economic News You Won’t Hear Anywhere Else. You don’t want to miss this powerful series, especially the session on buyers that will give you the best ever way to overcome the objection, “It’s cheaper for us to rent.” . Here’s what Steve will be covering: Monday: Price Declines in 2012? Maybe Not; Tuesday: A Blip in the Luxury Market; Wednesday: Get Buyers Off the Fence and Buying; Thursday: Check Out the Hot New Niche for 2012; Friday: Winning the Pricing Battle