Sunday, September 15, 2019

Working with an Irate New Home Buyer

Being a new home builder has its rewards. Taking the customer’s raw land and adding a new home where grass used to be gives most of us a real rush.


But what happens when you encounter resistance by your customer during the building process. That can quickly turn a good experience into a living hell for you until you hand them the keys and even then it may not be the last you hear from them.

Very few new home buyers have their house built without some kind of problem with you or your company. We’ve all heard these lines:

“You promised me……….” “You never told me………..” “That should have been included in the price” “My Dad (Grandfather, friend, neighbor, second cousin) said that you should……” “I checked Google and YouTube and you're doing it wrong” “Just when are you going to fix…….” “I called my lawyer and they said you have to ……………..” “What do you mean I can’t move into my own house?”

And these are just a couple of the more frequent ones you hear from your customers. If not handled properly it can mean a lot of pain for you later.

So what can you do about it? How can you break through and dissolve the resistance that is building up between you and your home buyer?


You want to get your point across, but don’t want to fuel the fire. Even if you know what to do, in a heated moment you must know what you are up against. You must think strategically if you want to get ahead and make the best out of your particular situation. A big part of that process is to stop, think and do the unexpected.

Here are seven easy and effective tips that may turn around any situation with a difficult person:

1. Stop, Look and Listen. You would be surprised what this simple action will do. One common reason people put up resistance is because they do not feel heard or understood. Stop, Look and Listening to them to make them feel significant is the fastest way to move forward.

2. Walk in their shoes. Just imagine you are in their shoes for one moment. What do they want? If you were in their situation, what would it feel like? Just this one tip will get you far because most people are seeing one point of view: theirs. Great problem-solvers can change perspective.

3. Resistance is Futile. What you resist, persists. People tend to resist you more when you resist them. Spend a little extra time getting to know their point of view and ask them questions to understand their point of view (and nod your head, yes, as if you understand).

4. Body Language. We communicate not only through words but with our body language. When you tilt your head slightly, people feel heard. Also, this one trick will get you to actually listen more intently.

5. Who Has the Final Say. Find out who influences the difficult person and see if they can help you relate. Think outside the box and know you have many routes that lead to where you want to go.

6. Change the Subject. Sometimes you can change the subject and agree on something totally different than the matter at hand in order to create a bond with the person. Even a negative bond might do the trick, but be careful not to create a habit of negative bonding.

7. Stop Trying So Hard to be Right. Don’t feed negativity. Big responses and long email replies can escalate a difficult situation. Don’t call out the person’s behavior with a grand reply but instead calmly listen with care. The person won’t feel defensive but will feel understood.

Gary Fleisher is a housing veteran, editor/writer of Modular Home Builder blog and industry speaker/consultant. modcoach@gmail.com

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