Seeing the Other Side of a Conflict | The Zebra Blog

Seeing the Other Side of a Conflict

two agents in discussion

This week’s topic is on the second point of my conflict resolution formula. As a review, the Conflict Formula is:

Today, we are focused on how to engage the other person’s point of view or thought. This step is extremely important because of how people usually process conflict.  

Picture this – let’s say you are presenting an offer to a listing agent and they are not happy about the price your buyers are offering. Instead of articulating calmly the challenges with the price, the agent says to you, “Well if you had any experience, you would know that that offer is a joke!”


Depending on how you handle conflict, you might shrink away from wanting to deal with this agent. You might not confront the agent and instead go away from that meeting either questioning your ability to price, or spend days thinking about what a jerk this agent is and begin envisioning the terrible upbringing this agent must have had to speak to you in such a terrible way. The conflict becomes bigger in your head because you didn’t engage and dig deeper when you had the chance.

But now imagine instead of ignoring the conflict (because remember – if you ignore it you are giving your silent approval), you decide to tackle it head-on. The first step is to state your facts:

“Agent, I need to stop our conversation here for a second. I don’t know if you meant for that to sound like it did, but that statement was hurtful. I have the experience to write a good offer and I do a great job for both my buyers and sellers.”

All facts! Now it is time for engagement.

“I realize this offer may not be what your sellers were expecting, but is there something specific that you are concerned about in regards to how I have handled this offer?”

Then wait! Keep eye contact and wait for an answer. Most of the time, when people make a strong snarky comment like this, they are not used to being challenged. Often, you are going to see them either escalate or deflate. If they escalate, you will need to keep your emotions down and be firm, but if they deflate, then give them grace. Here is what this could look like:

“Is there something specific that you are concerned about in regards to how I have handled this offer?”

After some hemming and hawing, the agent may come back with the following, “I just don’t feel like this offer matches the research I have done on the market and I think my sellers will be insulted.”

They answered your question with facts, not emotion. Therefore, give them grace. “I understand and respect that. I am happy to show you my research as there is something we both might be missing. But this is the offer my buyers are comfortable with. I hope you will present this offer and allow your sellers to decide how they would like to proceed. I know you want to sell this house. My buyers want to buy this house. Are you open to working with me on this offer?”

The agent is either going to say yes or say no, but by engaging throughout the time you are working through the conflict then you will be creating a conversation rather than just barraging the other person with a lot of facts and overwhelming them. Also, this will keep the other person from putting up their defenses. Furthermore, by giving the other person grace and allow them to back up and try again, you are more likely to have the result you are looking for.

I have also been surprised at the other’s reaction on a number of occasions when I engage them. I have had a person I was in conflict with completely drop their defenses and be completely honest with me:

“No, I don’t have a challenge with your experience. Sorry about that. This is just the fifth offer I have had to deal with in the last two days on about three properties and I am wiped out.”

Wow! Talk about a change of tone that can come about just by engaging the other person!

Next week, we will cover the last segment of the conflict resolution formula: Tell the truth and offer solutions.


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