As a broker-owner, I act as CEO, coach, therapist, cheerleader and shoulder to cry for a few hundred professionals.
I can celebrate closings, successes, and goals achieved, but also be there when deals fall apart, agents are threatened with litigation or fired by their clients, and when their exclusive agreements are flagrantly violated. It’s not all rainbows, unicorns and glowing testimonials in this industry as we all know.
Whether you’re in the heat of conflict, negotiating hard or trying to get out of a dry spell, here’s my advice: watch what you say!
Never say “I’m sorry”
My dad taught me this while I was learning to drive, and while I certainly didn’t understand the impact that lesson would have on me at 15, learning the rules of the road behind the wheel of an XL Chevy Suburban towing a four-horse trailer, it served me well.
It’s not up to you to apologize for circumstances beyond your control.
When you say “I am sorry” you do several things:
- Admit fault.
- Accept responsibility.
- Offering to carry a burden that you cannot actually unload or even lighten.
Think about times when you hear or say I’m sorry:
- “My condolences.” (When someone dies)
- “I’m sorry it rained/snowed/sleet/got too hot.” (At a party, event, etc.)
- “I’m sorry that (x) happened to you.” (Countless occasions and reasons)
Stop. The next time you say (or type) the words “I’m sorry,” take a moment and think about how you really feel or are trying to express it. Instead of these words, use these instead:
- “Love and light, your grandmother lived such a long and wonderful life!”
- “Too bad! I’d love to help you when you reschedule your event. I’m sure the weather will be nice next time!
- “Oh shoot! Let me know if you need a ride while you wait for insurance to replace your stolen car!
I hear agents say “I’m sorry” during the real estate process and every time, I cringe, because they don’t just weigh on their own self-awareness; they could also put themselves in a difficult legal situation.
- “I’m sorry you didn’t get the house we wrote the offer for.”
- “I’m sorry he called while your house was under contract and the buyer didn’t want to deal with the roof.”
- “I’m sorry that interest rates changed just before you were finally ready to start house hunting.”
- “I’m sorry your house had no visits and no offers.”
Whether your buyers went against your advice and wrote a low offer, your sellers didn’t list when you recommended and missed the hot market, or your customers just got lucky in bad weather, this is not about you. STOP EXCULTING YOURSELF.
Here’s how to flip the script in real estate
It takes serious work and mental discipline to turn this scenario around, but it is necessary for emotional and legal survival. Here are some examples:
- “We unfortunately didn’t get this one, but in this seller’s market, we’ll have to be aggressive and realistic to get a deal. Let’s consider expanding your search and consider what incentives we might offer in the next deal for you. sure to be the best!”
- “Wow, that hail was auction time. Let’s work with your insurance company to make sure we can get the roof replaced and back on the market – and at least we won’t have to worry about the roof at all. come for inspection!”
- “Yes, the increase in interest rates has reduced your affordability a bit, but now you will have a lot less competition, you will have more choices and can include certain contingencies that sellers did not consider before. can always refinance.
- “Even with a full marketing campaign, maximum market exposure and a full weekend of open houses, we had no exposure or offers. Let’s band together and work together to improve the price and/or condition to make sure we get an offer next weekend!”
It’s yours as an agent to control your transactions to the best of your ability, to handle difficult situations, and to help your customers through everything from natural disasters to personal issues, but it’s not a good idea to accept responsibility of all these things.
Here are some phrases to try:
“I hate to hear that”
“Oh no, how can I help”
“Awwww shoot, that must have been disappointing”
“Hmm, now what”
My challenge to you: The next time you start saying “I’m sorry”, think about what you’re actually trying to convey/say, and find new words, and protect yourself both emotionally and legally in every situation. .
Stacie Staub is the broker-owner of West + Main Realtors in Colorado.