Q. I’m a leasing specialist that loves what I do; for my customers, my team and company. So, I give an excellent tour last week to a couple of roommates and it looks like a perfect fit. They have another property to visit but I’m not worried. I follow-up the next day and I sense the tone of their dialogue has definitely lost enthusiasm. I’m told that they have chosen to go a different direction. I prod a bit to discover the reason and they tell me. It’s because of several bad reviews of our property and our team. When I get off the phone I go to two review sites and read the remarks. I’ve been taught that these sites are populated by the rantings of a few unreasonable people. It just goes with the nature of the job and I shouldn’t take it personally. Well, now I know for sure that the remarks I shouldn’t take personally have just cost me a lease and there’s probably others. My value as a leasing specialist is judged by the leases I produce so I do take this personally. Plus, I’m passionate about what I do every day for people. This is why I’m good and I don’t like how these remarks make me feel. Am I wrong or am I in the wrong career?
A. You are right to take your leasing profession seriously. Obviously you are not going to allow someone that states their opinion on the internet to jeopardize what is likely one of your best adult decisions; to go to work every day and do what you love.
However, as a professional you will need to take such reviews as seriously as any objection expressed to you during a tour. Let’s review your leasing training about handling an objection: first, acknowledge it; don’t be defensive, get it out in the open. Second, explain it; as important as not being defensive it is equally imperative that you have done your homework and put this objection in perspective with a knowledgeable explanation. Third, reverse it; you are going to attempt to show, how or under what circumstances this objection could actually benefit this particular customer.
Okay, now back to a bad review on the internet. Each and every bad review needs to be confronted like an objection. First, admit or acknowledge that this bad experience happened, at least in the mind of this reviewer. If possible, reach out to the reviewer to clarify the details from their perspective and to acknowledge, apologize, explain and attempt to reverse it.
Do your research and you might find out that some unusual circumstances surrounded this reported experience that no longer exist. Maybe other events similar to what the reviewer experienced caused a policy change, a condition was improved, or the offending person is no longer there. You might be able to explain to the reviewer that due to their diligence a better result is now possible. To this reviewer such a result might become the reversal of the original opinion. Regardless, once you have personally confronted this review with the real person you have something to say in a written online response. Let’s say that this process does not make it better for the actual reviewer, or you can’t confront the actual reviewer because they remain anonymous, or you have information but can’t physically contact, or the reviewer actually is totally unreasonable and the attempt creates another round of ranting, or you cannot verify that the events or people described ever really existed.
Here is where the written response is still useful. As you illustrate a willingness to confront in a productive fashion other readers see a reasonable approach to a difference of opinion. Whether you satisfactorily acknowledge, explain and reverse for everyone you will likely succeed to get to either a positive or neutral outcome for those you are working with personally. Regardless, you can see how this process makes you more passionate about being a professional.