You spend a lot of time building your network in commercial real estate. You’re busy prospecting for new business, establishing rapport with clients, asking for referrals, going to conferences, and so on.
And if we’re being honest, you’re not going to get along with all those people. There will be plenty of folks along the the way who will be challenging to work with for one reason or another. We’ve known some brokers who are established enough to choose who they work with, but for many brokers, you just have to push through the more difficult personalities.
And when it’s with a client, it can be especially important to make sure they stay happy.
5 strategies for working with just about anyone
There could be many ways for a client to be “difficult”: they’re unavailable, they’re too available, they have unrealistic expectations, they have a giant ego, or maybe the deal itself is just complex and hard to navigate. Whatever the reason, when you’re working with a personality that’s not the easiest to handle, there are a few ways to stay focused on the big picture.
- Discern the client’s decision-making process, and adapt to that. The best way to get any deal done is to start by reading how your client makes decisions, and adapt accordingly. If they are constantly busy, you need to get to the point in every communication. Give your top recommendation from the start, and then work down the list from there. Alternatively, if they like a high-level overview and a lot of information, provide the details they want but always suggest the next move.
- Focus on what you can control. Think about the actual steps you alone need to take to get the deal done. Conduct financial analysis to give your clients perspective on points of the deal. Make tours happen. Send out marketing flyers. This helps you stay centered on the work itself, rather than your client.
- Stay organized and keep the little things moving. Keeping your information as organized as possible ensures you can be as responsive and helpful as your client may need you to be at any given moment. Take care of the little things you can on your own, and always be ready to respond by pulling the information you need. Having the right information communicated in the right way for your client is essential to getting the deal done.
- Keep them focused on the big goal. Commercial real estate transactions take a long time, sometimes years. They can get seemingly lost in paperwork and regulation, indecisiveness, and more. If your client is getting bogged down in some way, make sure to keep them focused on the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s one of your main jobs as a broker—keep the focus on the transaction by doing your job and maintaining momentum. Bonus: focusing on your end goal helps YOU stay motivated as well.
- Make sure there are no surprises. Maybe there’s some issue with the property your client is looking at, but issues can be managed. What can hurt a deal, and your relationship with your client, is a surprise. As long as you understand any existing issues and communicate effectively, then you can avoid further issues that could disrupt the deal.
It’s not personal, it’s business
The most important thing to remember when confronting a challenging personality is that you’re simply doing your job and working toward a paycheck. So whatever the issue is—remember that you’re there to get the deal done and that’s that.