Top Performers In Real Estate Investing Are Skilled At Conflict Resolution. You Can Be Too!
Being in property management, Nexus™ deals with issues, disputes, and complaints, on a daily (sometimes hourly!) basis. We have found that most owners have an extremely professional way of settling matters and reaching a compromise. Whether it’s a phone call, a meeting at the office, or an email message, we can gain their perspective, tell them ours, and quickly reach an amicable agreement. When our clients have a solution-focused, friendly attitude like this it makes us eager to do business with them and strengthen our relationship. In addition, when owners approach matters in a civil way, we happily offer partial credits, or in some cases, comp the whole job.
Be Able To Have Objective View.
On the other hand, there are some owners who seem to forget that they are dealing with real people! They are quick to cite certain clauses in our contract word by word, demand hasty refunds, credits, or even free work from us in the future. This type of approach may work in some lines of business, but in property management it is a more personalized, daily relationship that you will have to maintain no matter what company you select to fill that role. Do you think it’s a good idea to become the owner that employees are nervous about or the one they talk about in the break room? Treating the company with respect, integrity, and most importantly, humanizing them will ensure you are setting your properties, your tenants, and yourself up for success. The more difficult you make things, the more your bottom line will suffer in the long run. It’s all about relationships in this business, so make sure you do your best to keep things flowing in a positive manner!
With that said let’s examine three of the best ways to handle a conflict with an owner or tenant alike!
Focus On The Facts Not The Feelings.
The most important factor to consider when trying to de-escalate a situation is having both parties remove their emotions. What do I mean by that? For example, all to often in disputes both parties are yelling, screaming, or engaging you with aggressive body language. These activities feel good at the time, but really are only digging you hole deeper. When you notice a situation like this the best thing you can do is pause completely, lower your voice to a neutral level, and avoid eye contact with the other party until they follow suit. After you both reach the same neutral ground you can attempt to re-engage the conversation and feel more comfortable about it. Each outburst you have will only make the relationship more difficult to salvage!
Stop Making Statements, Start Asking Questions.
The next approach we suggest is to use the tactic of questioning, but not in an investigative or interrogating way. For example, if you find someone has a disagreement attempt to ask them “what is making you feel this way?” It may seem silly, but it is going to help guide you closer to the resolution. From there you can follow up with a question like “what do you think would be the best way I could assist you here?”. This type of question will help you see what the other party is expecting as a solution. After you learn this information you can further navigate your discussions. If you are question oriented your success rate will be much greater compared to when both parties are making statements. In cases like this no one is attempting to learn about the other person’s perspective, but rather forcing theirs across. This is counterproductive!
Work Towards A Good Faith Compromise.
The final tactic you can utilize in conflict resolution is attempting to offer reimbursement/credits. For instance, when we have property owners that are dissatisfied with our maintenance services, we attempt to make compromises such as a percentage discount, free materials, free labor, or even comp the entire job. Situations like this are usually a last resort because it will certainly affect your bottom line. Also, it can cheapen the relationship. What I mean by this is that when money is needed for a solution it means that trust/loyalty are usually broken, and one party feels cheated. Think about other relationship situations that are monetized; divorce, court judgments, etc. It is not as severe as these, but it is in the same ballpark.
So, in sum, my suggestions are that when you are dealing with a conflict start by removing the emotion, and if that doesn’t work move more towards an inquiry. From there, if you are still unsuccessful you may have no choice but to offer a monetary/labor refund to ensure the relationship continues. Conflicts will come up in business daily in one way or another. You will do your best to avoid them but unfortunately it is human nature and they will occur. Accepting this and being able to manage that is where you will fail or succeed as a business operator!
We would love to hear your feedback on this topic! Post a comment below so we can start a discussion!
Gregory Rice is the Vice President of franchise sales for Nexus Property Management™.
Nexus Property Management™ is a National Property Management Franchise that manages all types of rental property from single family homes or condos to large apartment buildings and complexes.
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