When presented with evidence how likely are we to defend our belief before considering the evidence? Evidence challenging our beliefs based on hopes and wishes may trigger fearful reactions; rejections of the messenger, defense building, rallying our friends to come to console our ego for example. Where does that get us? Can you think of a time when you went into a discussion as a trusted person of integrity, a valuable resource and left feeling rejected with your intent questioned?
As Realtors®, especially when we’re the first one on the job, our expert status is directly related to the degree our opinions match the opinions of the person we serve. For example: (Q) What’s my house worth? (A) Based on these three recent sales in the neighborhood, this, that, and the other thing, my opinion $275,000. (Response) What? There’s a house for sale for $350,000 and it’s not as nice as mine. Example Two: (Q) What should we do to get our house ready to sell? (A) Based on research homes which are up to date in colors, hardware, fixtures, paint, flooring, kitchens, baths, are more attractive to more buyers. (Response) What? I think it’s better to let people pick what they want.
What do smart Realtors® know that the rest of us should know about these conversations? They know that they avoid them by not falling into the trap of being the “expert”. The client is intelligent. The client is reasonable and logical. Given the opportunity to discuss the alternatives and the process, and uncover the evidence, all of us are more likely to reach the same conclusion unless prohibited by an overwhelming factor which can’t be overcome…and those rarely exist.
How do we move to alignment and away from debate? One easy change we can all make, leave our pride, ego, and expert hat at home. Go to the meeting more eager to learn than to instruct. Be more willing to be enlightened than to enlighten. And then when you’re there, sit on their side of the conversation…physically and mentally.
- For discussing value, establish an agreement on a method. I believe the method that will matter in the end is the appraisal method. But if the owner does not, my Excel spreadsheet is useless. I also believe my Excel method will be more trusted when I am open to including methods the owner embraces. There’s room for more ways than my way.
- Where we sit matters. The person sitting at the head of a table is NOT the person in charge. Even if that seat is offered, it’s not the right seat to be in-partnership. Sit in the middle.
- Ask for their thoughts on criteria. My subjective opinions are as defenseless as anybody’s. Value adjustments are objectively subjective. Use their numbers so you all can see if there’s any real difference in the end.
- Listen. Let people talk. I know this, my opinion is more welcome when I’ve been given permission to share it. I am more likely to be welcome to comment when the other person has been heard….(that’s my challenge in any conversation and awareness is the beginning of change. :))
- Remember, the decision to do business is a bilateral agreement. It’s OK if I’m not a match. As long as I gave the owner the opportunity to express their opinion and weigh those opinions against the facts I am able to make a reasonable decision about offering my commitment to a plan of action. “No, we are not a match.” is an option for all of us.
It’s a kind gesture to say, “You’re the expert. We trust you.” It’s flattering to be considered an expert and to be trusted. And to be a trusted expert, open the door to cooperation, dialogue, ideas, perspective, and opinions.
That’s my opinion. I’d like to hear what you think.