Q: “Denise, I have been working with a buyer couple during COVID. In our area, we have a rule that only myself and one other person can be viewing a home at one time. The other person has to stay in the car. However, the husband has been sneaking in when I am touring with the wife! I’ll turn a corner and out he pops! I have jokingly asked him to “get outta here!” as I am trying to keep it light, but the other day marked the 3rd time it has happened, so he clearly isn’t taking me seriously. How do I address this without treating him like a child?”
A: Before you agree to view a home with them again, you need to have a face-to-face session with the two of them. It can be in the driveway before you go up to the house. The key is to be calm, strong, and firm. You can say something like this, “Bruce and Gladys, I am really excited to view this home with you, but I have to address something first. As you know, the Governor has indicated there can only be one buyer in the house at a time with me. I am legally required to abide by those rules. I know you are both excited and really want to share this experience together. I get it. I want that too, but right now, we have to think of other ways we can achieve that as you simply cannot (emphasize this word) be in the house at the same time. Can I rely on you to follow the guidelines?”
At this point, they will either agree or not. If they agree, you have made your strong point and you can move forward. If they don’t agree or argue (as they may disagree with the governor or the order) then all you need to say is, “I understand and respect your position. I am legally required to enforce the guidelines. If you can’t promise me that you will follow the guidelines, then I am sorry, but we just can’t do the tour today.” Then stop! Silence. Give your statement the impact it deserves with silence. Silence is powerful.
It is important to not get into an argument or debate about the effectiveness of the guidelines or negotiate a compromise as it pertains to the guidelines. Keep it as black and white as possible, away from politics, and just focus on the guidelines because behavior either fits into the guidelines or it doesn’t.
If they agree and you begin the tour and he pops back in, you should end the tour immediately. Firmly say something like, “Bruce and Glady, I am so sorry, but we have to end the tour now. I can’t be in a position where I am violating the rules. I am going to lock up and clean and I will connect with you to determine how we can move forward with these rules in place.”
You can be polite and strong at the same time.