Let’s face it. Everyone we meet is stressed out about something.
Even those assistants who seem to have it all together. They are always smiling. They always have a kind word to say. They just seem so damn happy.
Yeah, even they have stress.
Your job probably includes helping clients through their home purchase or sale. This is one of the most stressful things a person can go through in their lives according to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory. Taking on a mortgage ranks number 20 on the list. Major change in living condition is number 28 and changes in residence is number 32. Combine those with several other events happening at the same time and you have one (or more!) completely stressed out client on your hands!
I think one of the major reasons clients worry about the process of buying or selling is that they don’t know which things are significant and which are not. So they worry about everything.
Some clients trust you and your agent implicitly and don’t worry about much. They figure you will tell them when there’s something to worry about, and they trust you to get them through it.
Other clients may say they trust you, but it’s not enough for them. They worry about everything.
I once worked with a title company escrow manager who had in her email signature, “Let me be your worry manager.” I’m paraphrasing here since I can’t remember exactly what she had there, but I remember that I liked it a lot. I think it made clients realize that they are worried and that they had someone in their corner who could manage those worries.
Which brings me to Dr. Hallowell‘s three-step method of worry control. If you apply these three steps to the clients you work with, I think both you and the clients will reduce your collective worries and get through the process of buying and selling with more mental peace.
Dr. Hallowell’s Three-Step Method of Worry Control
- Never worry alone.
- Get the facts. (Toxic worry is rooted in wrong information, lack of information, or both.)
- Make a plan. Having a plan reduces feelings of vulnerability and increases feelings of control.
But let’s break it down so you can apply this method to clients.
Never Worry Alone
Tell clients during your initial introduction phone call to them that they are going to worry about things. Everyone does and it’s normal. When those fears and worries start to creep up, they should call you to discuss them rather than let them roll around in their minds for too long causing even more fear and worry. This is your way of telling them to never worry alone. And perhaps you should even use that phrase with them.
Clients think that they shouldn’t bother you with what they consider petty fears and worry. They think you are too busy for them. I promise that if you are giving them permission to call you when they get worried about something, and you walk them through it, these people will become clients for life and will be happy to refer you.
People like those who connect with them and make them feel good about their decision to use your team and sell their house or buy a new home. Don’t be afraid to connect personally and actually spend time talking with people.
Get the Facts
Too often clients will play the “what-if game” and they will drag you down a deep, dark rabbit hole if you let them.
This is where your skills and expertise as a rock-star administrative assistant come into play. You know what’s important and what’s not. You know how to research and get the facts. You don’t play “what-if.” You get the facts.
Now, you must guide the clients into being patient and waiting for the facts.
For example, seller clients don’t know what to expect during inspections. Their worry is that the buyer is going uncover something they didn’t know about and it’s going to cost them thousands of dollars to fix whatever that unknown thing is. That’s playing “what-if.”
Your job is to prepare the sellers. Explain to them that most clients who sell with your team end up with an average out-of-pocket expense for repairs around $300 to $500. (That’s a fact. If you don’t know this number, go figure it up!) Then you tell the client that you (or your agent) will be on the phone with them as soon as you get the inspection report back (more facts) so that you can go over it together and decide if there’s anything that needs to be repaired (make a plan, covered in the next step).
Notice that “make a plan” comes after “get the facts.” There’s no use making plans based on assumptions. Your assumptions could be wrong. There’s nothing that happens in real estate so quickly that all you are doing is reacting. We are strategic and we make a plan based on facts.
Make a Plan
Once you have all the facts, now you and the client can decide what to do. Typically this involves making a decision which is where you must help the client as well.
If your market is hot (a fact), and you know your seller client will receive a ton of showings the first day it hits the market, help them make a plan to be out of the house for the day. Especially if that day is a Saturday or Sunday when most people are home. Can they spend the day at the library or at a family member’s house? Would they rather go out of town for the weekend, or perhaps stay in a hotel?
When people have a plan and communicate to you what that plan is, they experience a sense of relief because now they know. They now have control over something that they have previously perceived as out of control.
One thing that will help your clients too is to put the plan in writing. People take in information in different ways and if you have this conversation over the phone, putting it in an email to them may be helpful in solidifying the plan in their mind.
Use This Plan to Manage Your Own Worries
Now that you know how to help clients, you can easily see how this can help you manage your own worries.
Worried about how you’re going to put together the new listing presentation your agent wants? Share your concern with your agent. Do your research, gather some facts, and make a plan for putting it all together.
Worried about how you’re going to tell the buyer that the seller isn’t willing to fix half their repair requests? Express your worry to your agent. What are the facts? Do you know if these things are a deal-breaker for the buyer or are you speculating? Do you know how much they love the house, or are you just guessing they will be mad when they hear this news? Put your script together for how you are going to break the news to them and what their option are moving forward.
The simple fact is, the longer you are in the business, and the more you experience these situations, the better you will become at handling them.
But when you first start doing them, it is natural to worry about how you are going to handle them. I think that’s why expressing those worries to another person is so good for you. Just giving a voice to those worries exposes them and naming your fears inherently diminishes them. Then you get more confidence when you get the facts and make a plan.
What do you think? Can you see yourself using this plan with your clients and with yourself to manage worry? Write in the comments what you or your clients worry about the most. As always, you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org