What's in YOUR Psychological Tool Kit?

Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CalBRE License #01490977

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. 

What are you feeling?

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. 

So how do YOU work with your clients?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.


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Susan Brown
Keller Williams NE, Kingwood Texas (Humble & Atascocita too) - Kingwood, TX

Great list Jeff!  When I've had buyers that select a home that doesn't match what I think would be best for them - I remind myself (as well as my husband reminds me) that it isn't my house.  As long as I've given them all the information I can - it is their decision.  It's funny, we understand that our clients are emotional about buying or selling but we are too!  You can't be involved in a deal and not have some sort of connection to the clients. 

Sep 02, 2009 02:26 AM #1
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

I find my psychological tool kit lacking especially around a full moon, when nothing makes sense!
Thanks for making my Wednesday,

Sep 02, 2009 03:40 AM #2
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

I find that 'Listening' is the most helpful tool in my Psyche Tool Bag, but is often times the most difficult one to find!....

Sep 02, 2009 08:25 AM #3
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Jeff..Most of the time i feel like a psychiatrist...I love when they say it is not personal..That's where I draw the line ..They must trust me to look out for them ..that's where i find difficulty finding my tool of patience..I have told folks to leave my office more than once in that circumstance and find a new agent..Guess what?? They don't leave...or they do and come right back



Sep 02, 2009 12:24 PM #4
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Jeff, I have been know to be flexible, and even some times patience, but I need work on the empathy department.

Sep 02, 2009 02:29 PM #5
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re

I can't even spell patience sometimes let alone control myself in certain situations. I need to work on that.

Sep 02, 2009 03:19 PM #6
Nevin Williams
Sierra Pacific Mortgage Raleigh - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Mortgage Pro

Jeff - It's amazing how we react to adversity will usually define our customers attitude and their perception of us.  You hit it on the head: 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.


But you also bring up a good point that we owe it to ourselves:

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

Great post!



Sep 02, 2009 04:34 PM #7
Brian Burke
Kenna Real Estate - Lone Tree, CO
Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate

I would add positive attitude and I don't mean overly optimistic - just positive. ~Rita

Sep 02, 2009 04:42 PM #8
Susie Blackmon
Ocala, FL
Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing

An excellent agent to refer to is a great tool for me when necessary.

Sep 03, 2009 03:53 AM #9
Kim Boekholder Utah Real Estate
Results Real Estate 801.580.5624 - Draper, UT
Broker, Results Real Estate

What a great post.  Love the points that you have made and yes we will always need all of the items you have listed above.  Also wanted to mention that you work in a beautiful area.  Love it there.  Best wishes and have a happy holiday weekend.

Sep 04, 2009 03:06 AM #10
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad
What's my Carlsbad CA Area Home Worth??
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