We often talk about having a tool kit for working with buyers or sellers, or for blogging, among other things, and the discussion typically focuses on tangible sorts of tools like software, documents, techno gadgets and so on.
But what's in your psychological tool kit?
Those psychological and emotional qualities that enable you to assist buyers and sellers through problem solving, tense or angry moments when things go awry, emotional highs and lows, irrational or spontaneous decision making, and so much more.
Buyers and sellers vary widely in their behavioral styles and emotional maturity, as do those in our industry. Some folks are able to control their strong feelings while others cannot, or simply don't. And there are people who do not seem to recognize the feelings they are experiencing or to channel them in an appropriate manner suitable to the situation.
Decisions occasionally get made based on emotions, rather than considering facts and the alternatives (yeah, that's part of the job - to provide alternatives to our clients where they may exist)...nah, that's never happened, right?!
Unfortunately some of these qualities are either part of your make-up or not. You can't go out and buy them, nor all of a sudden change your personality and style. But being aware of your own shortcomings (yes, we call have them, whether we care to admit it or not) as well as your strengths will help you cope with the psychological and emotional issues that arise with your clients, as well as yourself.
This is a biggie, in so many ways. Some folks don't or can't make decisions as quickly as you might want them to. They need time to process information, which may not fit with your particular style or level of decisiveness. Obviously there are time when pushing a bit can be a good things, but imposing our own level of impatience might derail the process for some folks. Setting expectations and due dates can help with keeping things on track and getting those who are not so focused on time pressures to do what they need to do.
The ability to empathize with your clients is important...to understand and share their feelings, no matter what they are. We should be able to sympathize when someone is disappointed, for example, but also understand the anger or the anxiety they may be feeling because of what is going on. You know, walking in their shoes? Understanding the client's perspective, whether we agree or not,
This can manifest itself in so many ways. Dealing with abrupt changes, schedule disruptions, negative information, and much more can really throw a money wrench into the mix. We, of course, have to be willing and able to deal with these changes, even though they may drive some of us crazy. But our clients can also engage in behavior or decision making that necessitates us being flexible, like it or not. A change in schedule, deciding to back out of a deal, and requesting information that seems unnecessary can require us to deviate from our planned course of action, whether we like it or not.
Of course there are other traits as well - time management, tenacity and persistence are some things that would seem important, just as are ethics, integrity and honesty, to name a few.
Part of our emotional maturity involves the ability, and need, to put others needs and interests above our own, in a sense shelving our own personal agendas and focusing on the best interests of our clients. Is that not implicit in the fiduciary duties we owe to our buyers or sellers? But so often it is easier (or something we do without realizing it) to impose our particular agendas on those we are responsible to.
This is not to say we cannot express our opinions or beliefs, and provide a rationale for what we are suggesting they do. But it does mean NOT expecting them to do only what we think without consideration for what might be more important to them, as long as they understand the consequences of their decisions.
We also have to be able to say no, and to not be unduly influenced by clients or others. Certainly this should be done diplomatically and politely, but one is not a doormat, nor can we allow anyone to engage us in fraudulent, unethical or illegal behavior (unless of course being unethical or having a criminal mindset is part of who you are, or because you can't say no).
I imagine you can think of some other things that are necessary to our role in working with buyer or seller clients, so please share your thoughts.