PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Lions, Tigers and Bears

PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Lions, Tigers and Bears
Crystal Hawkins Syska, HGAR President 2021

“So how is the market?” I actually don’t quite know how to answer that question anymore. I am wondering if you feel the same way? The competitive offer situations, the New York flight, 30-minute wait times to get into open houses, what is the world coming too! What I also find emerging is the intensity of the transaction. Everyone is just so stressed and touchy on such a monumental level, I find myself taking mental trips to Costa Rica to just cope. One day I said out loud, “Well we are not in Kansas anymore.” Then it struck me, there are “Lions, tigers and bears” in this market and we need to know how to navigate that.


In the wild, lions roar at the ground to communicate with each other, specifically those of the same pride (family units). It also scares the heck out of their prey. This fear inspiring outburst serves as a way of marking their territory. When lions are threatened, they swing their tails. Even more frightening is when they are hunting. They stiffen their tails, twitch, and just hope you are not in the line of sight.

What does this mean in terms of real estate? Do you have the overbearing commanding client that seems to make those around them jump to attention and when they challenge your recommendations they get eerily quiet and seem to jump at some obscure thing you said to challenge it? Yeah, I am talking about that person!

The rules of engagement for a lion in the wild is the same as in real estate. Stand your ground. You are the market area expert, not them. Like when you deal with a real-life lion, you have to make yourself look bigger…you will do that with your knowledge, facts, figures, transaction count and years of experience. If you are a newer agent, lean on the history of your brand.


Tigers are solitary nocturnal creatures. When communicating they are visual and vocal. Tigers groom a lot; on rare occasions they collaborate with others to hunt. This is the client who doesn’t rely on anyone else but themselves to make a decision. Their homes are immaculate but never seem to communicate during working hours. You e-mail and text and call them early and they get back to you at 7 p.m. or later and act as if nothing is urgent even though their answer was time sensitive. Really frustrating in this market!

Don’t retreat from this kind of client. They will actually come after you, just like a tiger. Take the high road. When communicating with a tiger, be very, very specific in written communications. In fact, put most things in writing. Graphs on the market and showing history are key with tigers. Also, text voice memos reiterating in an abbreviated fashion exactly what you stated in writing. All communications should be in the evening for a response for the next day. And, let them know why you need them to answer by a certain time.


Bears are predictable. When you really understand them, you can avoid bad situations. They are interestingly on the shy side, not territorial and usually social. When they are threatened they will charge at you and then retreat. They also have their “safe space” that when threatened, they will attack. These are your mild, usually friendly clients that can seem intimidating until you get to know them. There are certain things that when told, especially about their home, they really become offended and may aggressively not listen to your recommendations about market conditions or improving their home for sale. However, later they do come around. Keep them focused on the win and about why they are moving and outline the strategies that meet those needs. They can get off track and distracted in this market and you have to keep them on target.

Every market is a micro market and has a shelf-life. How long we are going to be in this one remains to be seen. All the same, managing customer/client expectations and meeting them where “they are” will at least help ease your own mind and heart while you conserve your energy and do the best job possible.

“Lions, tigers and bears. Oh my!”

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