For most, han­dling dif­fi­cult ten­ants or land­lords is part of the job. How­ever, chang­ing the way we com­mu­ni­cate can turn a dis­pute into a win-win sit­u­a­tion. Deb­bie Palmer ex­plains.

Elite Property Manager - - CONTENTS - DEB­BIE PALMER Deb­bie Palmer is a prop­erty man­age­ment ex­pert coach/trainer and REIQ PM mul­ti­ple award win­ner. For more in­for­ma­tion visit ppm­sys­

Deb­bie Palmer

ACROSS THE NATION we are col­lec­tively known as prop­erty man­agers – but we should be more aptly known as peo­ple man­agers or re­la­tion­ship man­agers. Prop­er­ties don’t com­plain, get an­gry or fail to fol­low through on re­quests, but ten­ants and land­lords some­times do.

Man­ag­ing dif­fi­cult clients is all about un­der­stand­ing re­la­tion­ships, and peo­ple’s emo­tions and be­hav­iours. More of­ten than not, an an­gry out­burst is not a per­sonal at­tack on your abil­ity as prop­erty man­ager but stems from the ten­ant or land­lord’s own fear, con­cern or frus­tra­tion.

As prop­erty man­agers we need to un­der­stand the needs of our clients. Land­lords want their prop­erty cared for and feel like they are re­ceiv­ing a max­i­mum return on their in­vest­ment, with all their needs, wor­ries and con­cerns taken care of. Ten­ants want to feel re­spected, that we care and act promptly on their re­quests.

Get that right and we will have fewer dif­fi­cult ten­ants and land­lords.

DEAL­ING WITH DIF­FI­CULT CLIENTS is about de­fus­ing the sit­u­a­tion, putting your­self in their shoes, mod­er­at­ing your voice, learn­ing the art of truly lis­ten­ing, hav­ing em­pa­thy, car­ing about them, re­as­sur­ing them that the mat­ter is im­por­tant and that you are go­ing to work to­wards a so­lu­tion to en­sure all par­ties are happy.

One of my favourite books is Men are from Mars and

Women are from Venus. It may not sound like a busi­ness learn­ing book, but it re­ally helped me in man­ag­ing re­la­tion­ships on all lev­els, whether it be per­sonal or pro­fes­sional.

Man­ag­ing a per­sonal re­la­tion­ship is no dif­fer­ent from man­ag­ing busi­ness re­la­tion­ships. It is all about man­ag­ing the needs and wants of the peo­ple we con­nect with to achieve the de­sired out­come of mak­ing the other party feel val­ued and im­por­tant.

Of­ten when we are faced with a dif­fi­cult client it is not about us, or what we have done or not done, but how they are feel­ing at the time. Don’t take it per­son­ally, but learn ways of turn­ing the sit­u­a­tion around.

FOL­LOW­ING ARE a few scripts and phrases to use when deal­ing with a dif­fi­cult ten­ant or land­lord:

1. ‘Thank you for draw­ing this to my at­ten­tion’ or ‘I apol­o­gise that you have had to raise this mat­ter with me’

2. ‘I would feel the same’ or ‘I would be an­noyed as well’ 3. ‘I un­der­stand your con­cerns’ 4. ‘I will look into the mat­ter as a pri­or­ity and get back to you’ or ‘I will re­solve this for you and let you know’ 5. ‘This is an im­por­tant mat­ter’ or ‘I will make this a pri­or­ity to take ac­tion and re­solve the mat­ter’

Turn­ing a dif­fi­cult ten­ant or land­lord’s per­cep­tion around is about about CARE – ‘Clients Are Re­ally Every­thing’ – or the hos­pi­tal­ity rule ‘Clients are al­ways right’. Yes, they may not be right, but the win/win is to make them feel you care.

The ma­jor­ity of land­lords and ten­ants con­sider prop­erty man­agers rude, and as an in­dus­try we need to turn this around. Car­ing about your clients is the sim­plest tip to de­fine your agency from your com­peti­tors.

If you have ef­fec­tively com­mu­ni­cated with the ten­ant or land­lord and they are still be­ing dif­fi­cult, you could use the fol­low­ing close state­ments: 6. ‘What would you like me to do?’ or ‘What can I do to make you happy?’ or ‘What would you like us to do, while be­ing fair to all par­ties, to re­solve the mat­ter for you?’

IF YOU LOOK AT ev­ery con­ver­sa­tion with a mind­set of ‘This is a se­cret sur­vey chal­lenge to see if I can turn this sit­u­a­tion around to pro­duce a happy client’, I guar­an­tee your com­mu­ni­ca­tion per­cep­tion will change.

Of course, much more than a few scripts and di­a­logues is needed to man­age dif­fi­cult ten­ants and land­lords. How­ever, this should get you started on how to com­mu­ni­cate more ef­fec­tively, defuse the sit­u­a­tion and cre­ate win/win out­comes. ■


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