Every day we all face our own set of challenges. Sometimes, it may feel like real estate agents have an extra set of obstacles on their plate. From finding and converting leads to keeping clients happy and running their own business, sometimes it feels like quite the uphill climb. Throughout my experience in launching and running a real estate brokerage, I’ve come up with a few problem-solving strategies to combat tough situations both at work and home.
1. The Five-Year Lens
Is your buyer upset that you had to reschedule a showing until later in the day? Or does your seller seem angry you did not compliment their design choice? While it is hard to not take a situation personally and feel like the world is ending at that moment, I find the “five-year lens” is an important tool to use when worrying about a problem.
Here is how the five-year lens works: I apply five years of growth with reflection to a situation. I ask myself, “Will something that happened today have some impact five years from now?”
Most likely, in my experience 99.9% of the time there is no future effect. Your clients will most likely not dwell on a one-time rescheduling or remember the compliment you did not give. They will remember your overall service, attitude and results. This means there is no reason to worry, stress or be angry because this issue will not be a problem in the future.
2. Step Into Someone Else’s Shoes
Have a dramatic seller? Do you ever just chalk it up to that person being highly emotional? Sometimes we blame a person related to their personality profile, instead of looking at external factors that may be more significant contributors. This is called the fundamental attribution error: We overemphasize someone’s characteristics and completely overlook the situation.
Maybe the seller is experiencing many emotions because they are under stress to move quickly to be back with family, or they are looking to downsize and struggling to cover current mortgage costs.
I recommend putting yourself in their shoes. After coming to understand their personality and the factors that may have controlled their way of thinking, you will look at resolutions in a much more favorable, win-win light.
3. Turn A Problem Into A Challenge
Instead of being overwhelmed with a problem, think of it as a challenge that you can overcome. There is opportunity in challenge. For example, maybe you are faced with selling an unusual property. Instead of looking at it as impossible, look at the situation as a test to use your marketing skills.
Not only does this change your mindset, it provides the environment for three possible outcomes: You can learn from this challenge, you can grow and become stronger from taking on this challenge or you can benefit someone else as a part of your struggle.
While trying to sell the unusual property, maybe you discovered a niche community of buyers this property would appeal to, or developed a creative way to get this property featured in the news. This could be a great learning experience and give you the chance to share your insight with other agents facing a similar challenge.
4. Trust That Everything Happens For A Reason
I personally believe that everything happens for a reason. Most of the time we don’t understand why things happen to us until the very end. When we go through pain and suffering, we gain strength. When we go through a challenge, we gain the opportunity to grow. When we experience happiness, we gain insights and clarity. (This just isn’t realized until after the fact, when you are reflecting.)
In his 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, Steve Jobs said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
Maybe you were disappointed a good friend decided to list with another real estate agent. While it may hurt at this time, maybe this motivated you to explore other leads or reach out to a new group of friends, and this new method brought in more referrals. While something may be hard to see at the time, trust that you can learn and grow from facing adversity and problems.
Having a few strategies like these in your back pocket can help you power through the tough times. While the real estate industry is unpredictable, we can plan how we choose to react to situations and problems that come our way.