Breaking up is hard to do... but it doesn't have to be ugly

By
Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Most relationships, whether they be business or personal, end.  Your favorite inspector misses a Big Problem and gets you embroiled into a lawsuit. Your go-to mortgage guy blows a Big Deal for you and doesn't even apologize. Your business partner has a mid-life crisis and vanishes to the Caribbean without warning. Your romantic partner has a mid-life crisis and vanishes to the Caribbean without warning. Your $1M buyer dumps you for his sister-in-law who just got her license yesterday, after you've shuttled him around town for three months.break up

It happens. Relationships come, relationships go. Hopefully you learned something that you can take to the next one. Blah blah blah.

But when a relationship ends, it doesn't have to be nasty. In fact, a wise person might even strive to end his or her relationships with dignity, even on a positive note. After all, you have an investment in this relationship - your time, your money, your energy, your creativity, sometimes even your heart. Why blow that investment by being snippy, vindictive, confrontational or just plain mean? Ever heard the phrase "Don't Burn Bridges?"

I'm amazed how many people would rather burn bridges than find a way to part ways amicably. When I "break up" with someone I have a business relationship with, I really like to find a way to preserve a mutual respect between us, rather than just pissing on each other.  After all, I have time and money invested in the relationship and I hate to see that time and money gone to waste because someone got their feelings hurt. Our business is based on creating mutually beneficial relationships, and he with the most relationships at the end of the game wins!

If a buyer dumps you, be gracious about it. You never know when your replacement will blow it and leave the buyer wishing he'd stayed with you. If you make it easy for him to come crawling back, he just might. If a seller chooses another agent to sell her home, wish her well and offer your assistance if she ever needs you.  If your biggest client replaces you as his property manager, generously offer to assist him during the transition process.

Why? Well, it's just smart business. Never give anyone ammunition to blast your name!

Now, when romantic relationships end, you'll have to ask someone else for advice. I don't have a flippin' clue!

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Comments 27 New Comment

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Ambassador
665,362
Ann Allen Hoover
CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL
RE/MAX Advantage South

I not only think it's wise, but for me it's just easier to be nice.  I hate confrontations!  Good luck figuring out that romance thing.

November 10, 2008 10:14 AM
Rainer
226,839
Ryan Shaughnessy
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com

Good advice - I always am curious when an agent makes a ton of noise when they leave a brokerage.  It is so much easier to be polite, be open and honest, and handle it in a professional manner.   Just because it didn't work out doesn't mean that you won't need a favor in the future.  The real estate community - even in urban areas - is too small to burn bridges and damage your reputation.

November 10, 2008 10:54 AM
Ambassador
1,276,423
Loreena Yeo
Realtor® | Frisco TX Community Ambassador
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Frisco TX Real Estate Co.

I used to be sore - you know that! But I realize that it is business, it is not personal. I continue to be friends and I wont let money come in my way of my friendship. At the back, I have to work on the not feeling so hurt, because I'm only human. Every time it happens to me, I tell myself that it was not meant to be. If it is mine, it will be mine.

Turning around, I'm not sure 100% but who knows if I have been on the other end. With an agent showing but not having representation for a few weeks, then meet me and clicked. Walah! Who knows. It happens and I dont sweat these stuff anymore.

I know whom my provider is.

November 10, 2008 11:37 AM
Ambassador
1,276,423
Loreena Yeo
Realtor® | Frisco TX Community Ambassador
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Frisco TX Real Estate Co.

By the way, I am humming the Carpenter's Song: Breaking Up is Hard to Do in my head now - thanks to you!!!

November 10, 2008 11:38 AM
Rainmaker
432,058
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Author of Sell with Soul
Sell with Soul

Loreena - Me, too! I've been singing it all day, but didn't realize it til you pointed it out! Thanks to you, too!

Ryan - I've burned many bridges in my life and then desperately wished I hadn't...

Ann - Great point!!!! Although I can be snotty at time... but then regret it.

Terry - SO True!!

Mary - She'll be back!!!!

November 10, 2008 11:51 AM
Rainmaker
577,954
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ)

It is so true, our business is so small that you never ever burn a bridge it will do nothing but turn around a bite you on the butt!  and I am right there with you on the personal side... Love coach I certainly am not!!

November 10, 2008 01:24 PM
Rainmaker
109,522
Glenn S. Phillips
CEO, Lake Homes Realty
Lake Homes Realty

Self esteem issues can be such an obstacle to folks... the need to be sure you figure out who to blame so it isn't "our fault."  And so many that take everything personal when really isn't.

Great, great post Jennifer... people would be so well served to keep this in mind everytime something does not go well!  Take care, G

November 10, 2008 01:38 PM
Rainmaker
92,567
Dianne Deming
RE/MAX Realty Group

Absolutely right, Jennifer.  I had spent 2 years shepherding folks around our resort town.  I tried following their lead on what they wanted, and the longer they looked, the less interested they seemed to be in buying anything other than a lakefront home at a bargain price.  When the client emailed me asking about a home a block off their target location, I was on vacation and did not shoot back my usual rapid response.  Not long after the initial inquiry into this one home (3 days?), the client fires me via email for a friend of a friend whom they ran into at a party.  I was devastated.  I sent the client an email wishing them all the best in their search with their new agent.  I did not offer explanations/excuses (vacation), nor did I scold them for their lack of loyalty.  I simply wished them well and let them go.  They closed several weeks later on that very home for $875,000.  I still think I did the right thing in my response to them.  And you'd better believe I make sure whenever I am unavailable to clients, even for an afternoon, that I now set up voice messages on all of my phones and auto responders on my email offering contact info for colleagues I have arranged in advance to handle my business while I'm out of contact.  It was an expensive lesson but one well learned!

November 10, 2008 02:24 PM
Rainer
99,720
Heather Oberhau
Bucks County Real Estate, e-PRO
Prudential Fox & Roach

My poor husband gets the brunt of all my emotional reactions to business.  It allows me to vent my snotty comments to HIM, and then react in the business environment appropriately.  It's ok to feel angry/hurt/betrayed, but when you let emotions color your communication in a business transaction, you always lose.  Better to vent to someone else and not implode the relationship.  The promise of some future business is worth more than the satisfaction of venting some comments on the perpetrator.

November 10, 2008 05:12 PM
Rainmaker
876,913
Joyce Kelley
Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl.
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc

An Old boss told me what seems to be a hundred years ago to remember all the little people on your way up the ladder because you will work for each one on your way down.

November 10, 2008 06:29 PM
Rainmaker
497,577
Susan Haughton, REALTOR Alexandria VA Homes for Sale

I have absolutely nothing to add of any value that has not already been covered above.  I agree with you 100%, although it is hard, hard, hard to do...because sometimes nothing feels better than letting loose a snarky comment with both barrels. 

I have only one client with whom I burned bridges and it's because she was certifiably nuts.  We stopped speaking, I pulled in another agent to communicate with her during the remainder of the deal and we went to settlement without speaking a word to each other.  I collected a very nice paycheck and to this day, don't think I have it in me to say I would have done it any differently under the circumstances. Did I lose business?  Oh, maybe, but believe me, her neighbors all know she's nuts, too, so I'm not losing any sleep over any potential badmouthing.  LOL 

Sometimes you just have to be bad. (But 99.999% of the time I'm with ya, I really am).

November 10, 2008 08:00 PM
Ambassador
1,138,875
Paul Henderson
I always put my clients first in any transaction!
RE/MAX Professionals.

Jennifer,As you say breaking up is hard to do and I have found that with the right wit and patience good things could and will happen. Thank-you for reminding us...

November 10, 2008 08:01 PM
Rainmaker
225,777
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc.

You are so right about not burning bridges.  I had a former BIC burn the bridge with me.  Guess what, 10 month later and he, his wife and his business partner and his wife needed a place to hang their licenses.  For some reason, I just didn't jump and say yes to him.  Go figure. 

No matter what I do I do my best not to burn those bridges.  They are way to valuable.

November 11, 2008 01:39 PM
Rainmaker
217,065
Patricia Beck
Colorado Springs Realty
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE

You never know how that relationship may change in the future so it is definitely wise not to burn bridges.  Relationships constantly change and they can be complicated but are an important component of this business for sure!

November 11, 2008 03:39 PM
Rainer
47,983
Jessica Bigger
Realtor - California Coast Real Estate
RE/MAX Humboldt Realty

Jennifer - Oh this is perfect timing.  Remember the seller I told you about a while back - who no matter all the fabulous things I did for him - he didn't appreciate any of it.  I'm still going to send him a thank you letter anyway - wishing him the best of luck in life, etc.  I'll probably run the letter by you first of course.

November 17, 2008 10:46 AM
Rainmaker
432,058
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Author of Sell with Soul
Sell with Soul

Good for you, Jessica. I promise it will feel much better than blasting him. Whenever I get in a pissing match with someone, I always feel skanky! I'd love to see your letter!

Patricia - I agree - and am amazed when people seem to revel in the bridge-burning!

Kim - GREAT story! Oops, was that me being a little... um... pissy?

Paul - Maybe this realization is part of becoming an adult... sigh...

November 13, 2008 02:03 AM
Rainer
47,983
Jessica Bigger
Realtor - California Coast Real Estate
RE/MAX Humboldt Realty

Jennifer - I posted it up on SWS forum this morning - I vented a little too (forwarning you ahead of time).

November 13, 2008 04:05 PM
Rainer
11,481
Jason Fleming
Jason Fleming Agency INC

I couldnt agree more with everything posted above!  It is always best to take the high road and bite your tongue.  Eventually it should come back to payoff over the long run, so I hope at least from my experience!

November 13, 2008 11:40 PM
Rainmaker
1,843,190
Gita Bantwal
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
RE/MAX Centre Realtors

Good advice. Nice post.

November 16, 2008 08:37 AM
Rainmaker
330,552
Andrew Monaghan
CRS, GRI, EPro Associate Broker
Your Phoenix Home Source

Its so much better to be graceful, say your piece and move on.

If someone leaves you and badmouths you or your company, it damages your brand and they should be sued and forced to defend what they have said.

January 31, 2009 10:10 AM
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Rainmaker
432,058

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

Author of Sell with Soul
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