Getting Personal: How to Work With Different Personalities

by J. Marshall Pearson


After the searching process has been completed and the clients have found a prospective home, it’s time for agents to negotiate a great price for their clients and keep them satisfied through the end of the transaction. Again, this requires an intimate knowledge of each client’s personality type, and the savvy to act accordingly. In tense negotiations, understanding what a client should be told and the manner in which they are told can be critical to success.

“(A real estate transaction) is pretty much the biggest transaction that they are going to make until they retire. There is a lot of equity in it,” Walsh says. “When it’s that large a part of their life, there’s a lot of fear there. You have to understand what they are worried about, and provide reassurance for that.”

When it comes to negotiating with other agents, their personality types also come into play. No agent representing buyers will have the luxury of performing a DiSC assessment on their fellow agent, and understanding their opponent in negotiation has to be done on the fly.

Black always aims to learn the personality of other agents with whom she is working, both to gain an upper hand and to nurture further business.

“I try to read [agents] and play to what their strengths and weaknesses are,” she says. “I’ll try to make them look good in front of their clients as well. I want everyone to win. Every agent I work with is likely someone I am going to run across again, and I’m very cognizant of how I want them to react the next time they see me.”

Walsh’s priority is his clients. He uses his knowledge of his fellow agent’s personality to his client’s advantage as best as he can, to make his own clients’ experience better whenever possible.

“I have the objective to negotiate with this person, and am trying to do the best I can for my client,” Walsh says. “If I can read the other agent’s personality and use that to my client’s advantage, I’m going to do it. My duty is to my client – to find them the best deal, or if I’m selling, get them the most money. If [the other agent] gets frustrated easily, I’m going to frustrate them. If the other party is very rushed and I can pace the negotiations, I will slow it down and make them wait.”

At the same time, Bomba explains, it is important to remain on relatively good terms with the opposing agent, and it is almost always important to work well with him or her.

“Some agents are more ‘soft and fuzzy’ kinds of folks,” Bomba says. “If I’m negotiating a contract with someone like that, I will call beforehand and share with them in a calm manner what my clients’ point of view is and their counter-offer. In every case, I follow up with an email so that there is no miscommunication.”

“I’m always nice, and usually send a note afterwards,” Walsh says. “You are always going to work better with someone you know than someone whom you don’t. If there is an agent I’ve never met that I’m calling, I always try to find the common denominator. If we’ve established a connection, we can work better together.”

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