Bullies in Real Estate? What do you do?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Broadpoint Properties Cal BRE #01324959

real estate agentsA few weeks ago at a local Women’s Council of Realtors® meeting, I was asked to give a little talk about How to Beat the Real Estate Bullies: Smart Strategies for Surviving in a Shark-Eat-Shark Industry. While the talk was extremely informal, the topic is actually a pretty serious one.

In an industry where there are now likely over 1.2M Realtors®, when you work on a transaction, it may not always be smooth as silk. Believe it or not, you may actually encounter a few bullies along the way.

If you already know me, you have probably heard the story I tell about how an agent in 2009 got so angry with me when I suggested that his buyer pay for an appraisal of the short sale property they wanted to purchase. He screamed into the phone, “Put your money where you mouth is!” (And, then he promptly hung up without giving me a chance to respond.)

In hindsight, I am so glad he hung up, because I am not sure what I would have said or how I would have held my composure. But, feeling beaten down and not sure what to do, I decided that since I didn’t know this agent from Adam, I would research this agent on this MLS. And, lo and behold, his production was not impressive. In fact, my team and I had closed more transactions that month than he had closed all year. This fact alone bolstered my confidence and I was able to hatch a plan.

4 Ways to Beat the Real Estate Bullies

In addition to researching production, here is a quick run down of the 4 simple strategies that I recommend for beating the bullies at their own game.

  1. Wait 24-48 hours. This too shall pass. Some agents (all people, actually) are very reactionary, and things usually die down or resolve themselves in just a matter of hours or days. If someone is aggressive on the phone or in email, be polite and professional and say you’ll get back to them in a bit, that you have to discuss with your client, or consider the options. This will not only give you time to find the best course of action, but the problem may naturally go away altogether.
  2. Discover the kryptonite. Generally, individuals are stronger in some areas than others. You may have noticed that some agents can be very nasty in email, but completely different in person. If your bully sends mean text messages but has no gumption face-to-face or on the phone, then by all means, make a phone call or schedule a meeting.
  3. Keep your mouth shut. Without being disrespectful, I think most of us will agree that the Republican nominee faces some challenges in this area. Remember that sometimes you absolutely must keep your mouth shut because it is not about YOU. You have a responsibility to your client, and you cannot risk blowing the deal because you lashed out. Best to just bite your tongue!
  4. Stay busy. One of my friends who is a coach for the Tom Ferry Organization states that when agents are overdramatic or too attached to a specific issue or transaction, it is because they are not busy enough. If you are very, very busy, you do not have time to sweat the small stuff. So, if you want to beat the bullies, just stay busy and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Got any other tips for beating the bullies at their own game? If so, feel free to share them in the comments section below.


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Gwen Fowler-CRS- 864-638-3599 SC Mountains & Lakes--
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Salem, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

There a some in every market.  I have a profile sheet on the ones I have problems with..how to handle them.  Some don't stay in the business long enough to have a 2nd transaction with them.

Sep 04, 2016 12:16 AM #1
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Melissa Zavala your coach friend hit this one squarely....those who bullie are not busy enough and they focus on the small stuff... and need to make themselves feel powerful in doing so.... makes me laugh....

Sep 04, 2016 12:18 AM #2
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

I do my best to bite my tongue and give them enough rope to hang themselves :)

Sep 04, 2016 12:42 AM #3
Jessie Cochran
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Panama City Realty Group

Having been bullied (haven't we all to some degree) I can relate - thanks for sharing

Sep 04, 2016 01:01 AM #4
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Melissa Zavala, writer of the Essential daily planner for real estate agents that I love.  Great blog for us today.  Make it a great day!

Sep 04, 2016 01:49 AM #5
Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

Yeah Melissa Zavala Stay busy and just move on. If no one works with them, they will soon be gone.

Bill Roberts

Sep 04, 2016 03:39 AM #6
Carol Wilson
Your $imple Home - Toronto, ON

All the tips are good, Melissa, but waiting was the best.  Great wisdom.

Sep 04, 2016 05:45 AM #7
Florida Tolbert Team Keller Williams Advantage
Keller Williams Advantage III Realty in Lake Nona - Orlando, FL
Keller Williams Land Division Specialist

We have a simple strategy... we recruit them and retrain them into something busier and then the pressure is off and they get nicer.

Sep 04, 2016 11:42 AM #8
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Melissa Zavala

Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County
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