Caroline Bolderston: the benefits of emotional detachment

The recent market downturn has spelt an end to easily achieved record prices and vendors viewing agents as superheroes. The risk is now that vendors will apportion blame on you when things don't quite go to plan. Here, Caroline Bolderston explains how you can manage vendor expectations and emotionally detach yourself from the situation so you don't end up as collateral damage.

The recent boom in the market has been a blessing and a curse.

Buyer demand was literally ‘off the charts’, and meeting vendors’ expectations on price was fairly easy.

Relationships between vendors and agents were positive and stress-free.

Fast forward to the radical shift that has occurred this year, and agent-vendor relationships are being tested.

There is fear, regret and blame. Disappointment, frustration and sometimes anger. 

Where has that left you as the agent?

How do you adapt and change your approach so that you can handle these emotions so they don’t become personal and you don’t become collateral damage? 

The best agents in the business have a level of practicality and aloofness around the sales process.

It’s not that they don’t care; it is that they don’t let the client’s emotions – positive or negative – deter them from executing the sales process.

They have mastered one of the critical sales competencies of emotional detachment. 

Here are three strategies to help you master it too:

Stop trying to protect the vendor’s emotions 

Vendors who are upset, stressed and worried can be difficult to experience, especially when they are nice people and they trust you.

This can lead to the trap of wanting to protect them from the reality of the situation.

To truly serve and protect your clients, you must communicate impartially.

How would it be if an emergency doctor became emotionally involved with every patient in pain?

Without emotional detachment, the wrong decisions might be made and critical actions not taken.

My mentor once told me, “the sooner they yell, the sooner they sell,” which was a powerful lesson to learn.

By shielding them from bad news, I was hurting them in the long run.

Action and progress can only occur once acceptance has taken place.

Use process  

The beauty of process is that it gives you a reliable and logical framework.

When you have a thorough and tight process, your conversations focus on benchmarks and milestones rather than opinions and feelings.

You must get ahead of what might happen and educate your vendors about the distinct stages of the campaign.

Explain how the intensity needs to build and that there are indicators that you need to see. 

The most important part of your sales process is the set-to-sell meeting, which must happen well before any inspections occur.

Be committed to taking them through how the campaign needs to play out week-to-week.

Advise that you will measure key indicators against critical benchmarks each week so you can swiftly correct course to remain on track. 

This is all about expectations, but how can they know what to expect if we are not preparing them for it?  

Let’s get clear on where the responsibility lies 

As the agent, your responsibility is to run a thorough and considered marketing campaign, excel in your buyer work and bring objectivity to the equation.

If the market response is poor and you can see from your benchmarks that the campaign is off track, even as early as the first week, your responsibility is to inform your client about this. 

Be clear about the approach – first summarise the current situation, explain the challenge it presents, and then offer three options for them to choose from.

Presenting them with choice shifts the burden of responsibility from you to them. 

Never lose sight of the fact that it’s the client’s decisions that have led them to this point and that they always have a choice. You are their guide and translator of the market.

By building your strength in emotional detachment, you will be able to navigate all market conditions with ease and control.

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Caroline Bolderston

Caroline Bolderston heads up Being Bold Coaching and training, which provides coaching and support for Sales Agents, Sales Teams and Principals. For more information visit