A Couple of Tips when dealing with Difficult Personalities...
Your cell phone rings. You check the caller ID. Oh, great. It's that agent you are working with trying to get that luxury home under contract. Uh oh. Although you want to get the deal done, you already don't like talking to him, since he is almost invariably rude and abrasive.
YOU: Hello, this is _______.
OTHER AGENT: Hi, this is Rudy McRude. I was calling to let you know that I had to use smelling salts on my client when I went to present your offer.
YOU: Really? I thought it was pretty reasonable.
OTHER AGENT: Well, I had to spend three hours with them just to get them to respond to this one.
YOU: Okay....(long pause)....Do you want to fax it to me?
OTHER AGENT: Fine. I'll have my assistant send it to you. By the way, I am the rare exception to the rule. Although I have an assistant, I will insist on speaking to you directly to make your life more challenging for the next several weeks.
Okay, maybe those last two sentences wouldn't really happen, but let's face it - some people are just really hard to get along with. We have all dealt with difficult personalities, whether it is a client, someone else's client, or (yes) another agent.
In dealing with people who rub us the wrong way, it is often difficult to keep emotions out of the process. During negotiations that involve particularly difficult personalities, it is sometimes necessary to remind our buyers or sellers that the transaction will not take that long to complete.
Injecting humor is usually a great way to defuse a potentially sticky situation. I have used the following phrase or something similar on many occasions to re-focus an upset buyer when they are offended by something that the seller has said or done:
"I know that you're irritated and I can understand why, but keep in mind that you only have to deal with these people for a few weeks, then you will have the home you want. They won't be living with you, I promise."
Generally, they will laugh (or at least chuckle), and say, "You're right. Let's get it done."
Sometimes, I am also irritated, but I try not to let that affect things. Notice I said "try". I am human - I, too, am sometimes unable to remain calm (but this is very rare). I can actually only recall one occasion when I had to be confrontational with an agent during my real estate career. Is it me, or him? It's him, right?
Although this could be common sense for many of you reading this, I have another technique that I use when I am dealing with someone who is particularly difficult. If they become abrasive with me, the first step is to cuss and then slam the phone down. Hopefully, none of you thought I was serious. The primary advice that I give is to get even calmer than your normally would be. Speak in a gentle tone, and allow them to talk as much as possible without interrupting. Often, this causes them to realize that you are not the enemy, and they will begin to calm down, too.
You have probably heard the saying that "God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." This is never more true than when we are dealing with a difficult person.