Helping clients make decisions is one of the most important responsibilities of being a real estate broker. Our clients view us as a trusted advisor; someone that can provide them with objective advice throughout their real estate experience. However, even the most seasoned brokers can find themselves caught up in the emotions of a transaction and have difficulty walking their clients through a rational decision making process. In his book, Decide and Conquer, author Stephen P. Robbins lays out a decision making process that helps people make consistent value-driven choices that lead to the achievement of their goals. Below, I've outlined Robbins’ six steps to better decision making and encourage you to use this process the next time your client turns to you for advice when facing a tough decision or problem.
Step 1: Identify and Define the Problem: Problems exist when a gap occurs between what our clients want (their goals) and their current reality. Helping your clients articulate exactly what it is they want to achieve or experience is crucial in this beginning step. You don’t need to criticize or evaluate their response here, rather try to gain some clarity around what it is they are after.
Step 2: Identify Decision Criteria: Next you must help your client discover and write out what is most important to them when making their decision. Have them write out their interests, values, goals, and personal preferences. When they list these criteria you will begin to have a better understanding of what is driving them and what factors play a role in their final decision.
Step 3: Weigh the Criteria: After their criteria is laid out and the client agrees there is NOTHING else that will play into his decision making, have the client rank each of the criteria in order of importance. Remember if everything is ranked the same then nothing really is important and it will be difficult for you to analyze all factors and choose the best next step.
Step 4: Generate Alternatives: After helping your client define the problem and set criteria it is time to generate a list of solutions that will allow the client to achieve their desired end result. The client may not like all of the alternatives that are discussed so try to keep an open objective mind and list out all possible alternatives.
Step 5: Evaluate Each Alternative: After the potential solutions are noted you and your client need to go back to the criteria that was listed in step 3 and analyze, evaluate, and rate each alternative option.
Step 6: Select the Choice that Scores Highest: The process concludes when you have ranked each alternative and the client is able to objectively and rationally choose the alternative that scores the highest. From a rational standpoint this would be the best choice.
From Experience: From experience I know that people often prefer to go with their gut and make a decision based on what feels right at the time. This will occasionally end up being the right decision in the long run but from the standpoint of being someone’s trusted advisor and a professional; I encourage you to use the six steps to rational decision making whenever possible. When helping someone through a major or life changing event, such as buying or selling a home, the rational approach to decision making is your best course of action.
Question: Do you have a system in place that you use to help people make decision based on their values and goals rather than gut feelings or emotions?
Here is a Rational Decision Making Tool to use the next time you need to help a client with a major or life changing decision.
Choose to make it a great day!