How to make the hard decisions

Your ability to succeed in any situation, in any endeavour, I guess, is your ability to handle the tough conversations, make the tough decisions, those hard decisions.

Topic – Mindset for a changing market

Mentor – Rik Rushton

  • How to frame the tough conversations
  • Make the easy decisions and end up with a tough life
  • The house might be for sale but the price indicates otherwise


Kevin Turner: Your ability to succeed in any situation, in any endeavor, I guess, is your ability to handle the tough conversations, make the tough decisions, those hard decisions. How do you do that in the current market? What are some of the ones that you need to face and how do you tackle them?

Kevin Turner: Rick Rushton has been our guest all this week and that’s how we’re going to round the series out this week. Good morning, Rick.

Rik Rushton: Good morning, Kevin.

Kevin Turner: Let’s talk about hard decisions. How do you make them in this current market or how important are they?

Rik Rushton: Well, I think there’s a real interesting philosophy around this current market at the moment, which is how do we have those tough conversations with a vendor who is overpriced, or with a buyer who is not coming up? I think the way we’ve even framed them make them hard for our mind to really get their head space around it.

Rik Rushton: If you think back to yesterday, Kevin, we were talking so much about how we prepare our minds determines what our actions are, and how we think determines how we feel, and how we feel determines how we act. There’s a correlation to those three things. I think what we’re going to stop saying is, ‘hard decisions’ and start making ‘smart decisions’. We’ve got to view these particular clients as smart decisions.

Rik Rushton: I’ve just found that in life, if we make easy decisions, we end up with a hard life. If we make hard decisions, we end up with an easy life. It’s the same in our real estate transactions. It occurs the same. “Mr. and Mrs. Seller, this is probably the hardest conversation I’m going to have today, but I’m going to eat my Brussels sprouts first and just give it to you. Here it is, you need to hear this, ” If we stay at this price right here, right now, we’re going to help other sellers sell their home because we’re going to make their properties look like really good value in the current market.”

Rik Rushton: If you can understand that dialogue, Kevin, about making that hard call, having that hard chat, having that hard meeting, if you started off by saying, “This gives me no joy whatsoever; In fact, this is the hardest conversation I’m going to have today that I need to have with you,” it’s a way of pre-framing the next thing you say to them as being important to them to make a decision around themselves, but more importantly, you’re going to give them a bit of empathy by saying, “Yeah, this gives me no joy. I’m not enjoying this, but we need to shift now.”

Rik Rushton: The challenge for most of your listeners will be it wasn’t maybe two or three weeks ago, or two or three months ago, I was in their lounge room saying we should get this price. We’re telling them we should come to the market with that price.

Rik Rushton: But, again, that’s a hard decision you’re going to make to say, “That information was wrong. I mean, it was right then, but it’s wrong now. It was right back three months ago, but right here, right now, today, it’s the wrong information for the current market. We’ve got the benefit of the last three weeks on the market, or the last month on the market, to know that the information and data we were using to price your property was outdated then. It’s clearly outdated now for the current market. We need to make a better decision as opposed to a hard decision, a smarter decision as opposed to a hard decision.” Just pre-frame it that way, Kevin, and they will see the benefits of making that choice.

Kevin Turner: Reflecting back on what we discussed on Wednesday, the dialogue that leads to a deal, and that beautiful piece of dialogue you used with the seller saying, “Hey, the board says you’re on the market or you’re up for sale, but the price doesn’t indicate that,”. How do you move into that conversation asking permission to give them the bad news? It’s also very important.

Rik Rushton: Yeah. I think what I tend to do very much in my halcyon days of sales was I would say, “You do remember, of course, when I walked through Mr. and Mrs. Smith yesterday.” They’ll say, “Yeah, yeah, we cleared out of the house to give you the time to do it.”. “Well, it was Mr. Smith most particularly who made the most interesting observation.”.  He said, “Whilst we appreciate that the house is for sale, the price point is really telling us there’s better buying elsewhere. He identified three properties that they had seen earlier in their travels that represented a better value.”

Rik Rushton: This isn’t me saying it. This is the Smiths saying it. I’m just, obviously, communicating to you, as you said so eloquently when we were back a couple of days ago, Kevin, we are the conduits to it. That’s very true in that respect.

Rik Rushton: I just think we’ve got to make some hard decisions as a real estate agent in the current market. The first decision to make is to shift the word “hard” to “challenge” maybe to shift the word. Because “hard” sounds like it’s going to be very difficult to achieve. A challenge just says, “Am I ready to step up to the challenge? Am I ready to start articulating the current market as I expect it to be in terms of meeting the challenges?” As opposed to saying, “This is going to be a hard conversation to have.”

Rik Rushton: It’s almost like we teach our kids when they’re growing up, “If you don’t like Brussels sprouts, eat them first, and then you can work your way to the ice cream to the end.” It’s kind of like let’s get through all the challenging stuff first and foremost, and then we’ll get to the good parts of the relationship and the good parts of the deal later, but we have to have the hard conversations, what I would call the challenging conversations, first, and then work our way through that from there.

Kevin Turner: Great talking to you, my friend. Even today, I still leave the steak until the end because it’s the part I enjoy the most. It stays with you forever, you know, doesn’t it?

Rik Rushton: It does. It’s amazing some of the philosophies. I was really fortunate to have great support to write a book that’s gone seemingly quite well, but if I really think about it, most of that book is full philosophies that my parents taught me through their actions, and obviously through my upbringing all those years ago, Kevin. That was certainly one of those, “You want the ice cream, you’ve got to eat the Brussels sprouts.”

Rik Rushton: It was always like that. I had to focus on the big why. Maybe making hard decisions is all about knowing your big why, and if you understand your big why, why you’re doing what you’re doing, it’s quite easy to make those hard decisions, and have those challenging conversations.

Kevin Turner: I hate to say farewell to you, mate, but we have to. We’re out of time. It’s been great talking to you this week. Thank you so much, Rik Rushton.

Kevin Turner: The website for Rick is Check it out. Find out about his book. Get a copy of it. We may even be able to tell you, “Hey, get the download of the audio,” and you hear Rik reading it. We might share a bit of that with you in the weeks to come as well.

Kevin Turner: Hey, Rik, great talking to you, mate. Thank you so much for your time and your wisdom.

Rik Rushton: Thank you so much, Kevin. Appreciate the opportunity.

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