|Tough Conversations With Clients|
What might be some of the types of tough conversations we need to have with clients ? Perhaps;
• You are negotiating a deal and have to be the bearer of news they will not be pleased with, for example the offer on their home is less than they were expecting
• There is an issue with a client and obvious tension in the relationship
• Something has gone wrong and the client is distressed
In the first scenario when we have to share what could be bad news with a client, an empathetic person can make the mistake of trying to soften the news or ‘rescue’ the client. This doesn’t help anyone as at the end of the day you need to assist your client to accept the situation as it is. They need the facts and have a right to be aware so they can make an educated decision.
I recently studied with one of the world’s leading non-verbal communication experts Michael Grinder and one of the sessions focused on ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ one of the tips was, when sharing negative news, distance it from you by having a third point. For example a piece of paper, contract or offer that is the third point. So when you discuss the negative news, you look at the third point that is separated from you on the table. This communicates non-verbally that this ‘news’ is not attached to you. You are talking about the issue... over there. For years, when presenting offers as a real estate agent I used this technique and found it to be very powerful.
Secondly, when we have a difficult relationship with a client and there is obvious tension. What can we do?
Honesty really is the best policy. Speak from your heart and clear the air. If something has gone wrong talk about it.
It takes practice to get good at communication in particular having difficult conversations. It takes a willingness to let go of anger and your position. You need to accept that you may not be right and be open to their perspective.
When things go wrong we can tend to hide out behind our computer on emails. The most important thing is to get face to face as soon as possible. You need to be able to sense each other’s genuineness and it is very difficult to empathise with an email or read the tone.
I encourage you all to think about someone you need to have a tough conversation with and consider how much better your relationship could be if you were willing to have it.