Yesterday my team had our final meeting of 2018 and closed out the year together with our annual holiday potluck.
To end our meeting we went around the room and each shared our biggest takeaway or lesson from 2018 and the thing that we are most looking forward to in 2019.
We had several recurring themes in this group of 24 women ... a desire for more calm, and a concern about getting too wrapped up in our clients issues.
Do you think these themes are unique to women in our industry? In all my years I don’t think I’ve ever heard a male agent say that one of their biggest struggles is caring too much about their clients situation.
In my opinion, it is that empathy, that high level of care and concern which makes us GOOD at what we do. It is the trait that causes us to be sought out and allows our clients to refer to us. They know that we care about them as people, not just the digits in the commission.
So how do we protect ourselves from getting dragged down into the mess (and if you’ve been around for a while you know that some of these situations can be really messy ...) when we do care deeply about helping?
1) Set boundaries. If you allow your clients to contact you at all hours of the day and night ... and by responding you are teaching them that it is okay ... then you will not be able to separate yourself from the drama long enough to refresh. Unless you are in the midst of time sensitive contract negotiations, or you have clients in another time zone, there is no good business happening at 9 pm or 10 pm, or even 6 am. It’s okay not to respond or to respond to say, “I’m settling in to bed (getting ready for the day) and will give you a ring first thing in the morning (in 2 hours).” This works and it will be okay, I promise.
2) Know when to call it quits. Some client situations are such a mess, and some clients in such a bad place, that there is nothing we can do to help. When clients are in an ugly divorce or separation and are more interested in battling it out with each other ... with you firmly planted as the pawn in the middle ... than they are in doing what is necessary to get the house sold you need to know when enough is enough. Yes, walking away means losing that commission (if they can even get it together enough for the house to sell) but how much are you losing while working with them in terms of both your mental health and other clients? Say, “It seems that there is more happening here that needs to be worked out before the property can be properly marketed and sold. I am not going to be able to continue with you until x, y, z is handled”. Then refer them to someone else or send over a listing withdrawal. I’ve done both. Your business will be better for it.
Have you struggled with these types of situations in your business? How do you handle it?