We asked brokers and sales coaches for their take on how to handle these common questions in real estate.
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How do I handle resolvable differences?

The most important question to ask when dealing with a resolvable difference is, “What can we do to make sure you are satisfied?” If their solution is reasonable and ethical, I will do what it takes. I even have an “Oh, fudge” line item in my budget. Sometimes it’s a small $100 light fixture that someone is mad about that you can make go away.

—Fara Captain, broker-owner, Captain & Co. Real Estate, Memphis, Tenn.

What should I do when a client is demonstrating bias?

It is important to recognize that we all have biases. So when confronting bias, stay calm and, if appropriate, take a moment to educate your clients. I usually refer to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics and the Fair Housing Act. Clients who are unsatisfied with the answer may choose to go with another agent (note I didn’t say REALTOR®). Sometimes the cost of doing business the right way means losing business. But it’s important to stand firm in your belief systems and values and to follow the law.

—Fara Captain, broker-owner, Captain & Co. Real Estate, Memphis, Tenn.

How can I recover from a mistake I made with a client or colleague?

The beauty of life is that we’re all human and no one is perfect. Mistakes happen, and the best way to handle it is by honestly owning your mistake as soon as possible. “I’m sorry this happened. How can I make things right?” is a good place to start. You may be embarrassed to speak up and apologize. Hiding from your mistake only makes the situation worse. The quicker you can step up and take responsibility for your actions, the more likely you’ll come back from that mistake.

—Koki Adasi, senior vice president, Compass Real Estate, Washington, D.C.

I always lean on the acronym L.A.S.T., which reminds me to listen, apologize, satisfy, and thank the client. I have learned that if we listen more and talk less, consumers will tell us their concern, giving us a way to fix it in the moment. Often, a client just wants to vent and get the sense that we care and understand. Always offer an apology no matter the issue. The truth is, we’re hired to ensure a good experience while our clients navigate one of the largest purchases of their lives. If that experience falls short of their expectations, we must take ownership of that and be apologetic. There’s always a win-win. Never allow a client to leave a transaction unsatisfied.

—Charles Holloway, team leader, Keller Williams Elite Peninsula, Newport News, Va.

How do I respond to a client who says, “I want to wait to see what the market is going to do”?

Your job is not to convince them why the market is great. Your job is to show them the data and help them make an educated decision based on their goals. Here are two approaches.

Option 1: Say, “In certain price ranges, there’s still competition for homes due to low inventory and low interest rates. Once we get through the next few months, there will likely be more competition, and who knows what interest rates will be. Are you willing to take that risk? What’s the cost of staying put? Let’s look at the available inventory this week and see if there is anything I can show you.”

Option 2: Tell them, “I can appreciate where you’re coming from. I am not here to sell you on the idea of selling (or buying) because there’s a lot of uncertainty right now. What I want to tell you is that I have some real data to share with you to explain why I think there’s a great opportunity. Here’s where we stand.” Then, show the client month-over-month and year-over-year statistics for your market.

—Tom Ferry, real estate coach and consultant