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Client Challenges and How to Handle Them
Being a real estate agent is not just about analyzing and marketing property; you’re handling the emotions, dreams, disappointments, and mentalities of clients and customers as well. An agent is a counselor as much as a real estate expert.
You’ll have to deal with challenging clients throughout your real estate career. The experience of dozens of transactions will be helpful, but there’re a few tips and tricks to effectively manage client relationships from Day 1.
Some challenging types of real estate clients include:
- Know-It-All thinks she knows the real estate market better than you and she may insist on an unrealistic listing price. Ask lots of follow-up questions requesting specifics and refer her to evidence and documentation tactfully.
- Bully, a cousin of Ms. Know-It-All, is loud and pushy. She’ll rant and make demands. Ms. or Mr. Bully may need one minute to vent. Using your active listening skills, refer to a part of her rant and assure her that your job is to help her get the best deal. Offer a solution.
- Negative is pessimistic and has a talent for finding something wrong with everything. Pro/con lists are helpful to focus him on identifying positives about a house or offer.
- Tantrum loves to overreact about anything and thrives on negative energy. Calmly interrupt him, using his name, and reassure him that together you’ll figure it out.
- I Don’t Know will give you nothing, no feedback, no impressions, no comments. You’ll have to pry thoughts and feelings out, but the pro/con list can be helpful.
- People Pleaser is agreeable and loathe to say something negative. Make it safe for him to express negative opinions.
Employ the tips below to avoid the emergence of these problem clients.
Client Control Tips
Screen for Difficult Clients
When you’re interviewing prospective clients, be alert for signs of a difficult client. Some customers will not be worth the time and stress. Some customers have wildly unrealistic expectations. Others are not serious or ready to buy or sell. Some clients expect you to devote 100% of your time to them. Ask them about their objectives, challenges, situation, and expectations. Sometimes it’s not a good fit and that’s OK.
Educator is one of the many hats a real estate agent dons during a transaction. Dispel misconceptions and educate clients on the details of the process and how the agent-client relationship works. Set boundaries and tell them the services you provide and what you will and won’t do.
Being proactive early will prevent problems later.
Listen to Their Concerns
You can learn a lot by simply remaining quiet and listening until they finish talking. Sometimes people just want to vent or feel like they’re being heard. You may learn that they are misunderstanding something or that their concerns are groundless or that there’s a problem you need to solve.
In the beginning of the agency relationship, or during the interview, lay the groundwork for realistic expectations. Some clients get misconceptions about real estate agents and the real estate market from T.V. It’s best to set the parameters early in the process to head off issues later.
Some things you’ll need to establish include:
- Preferred method of communication
- Preferred reports, feedback, or previewing of homes
- Necessary documents
- Process and schedule for showing or viewing
- Services you provide
- Client’s obligations
Repeatedly ask for questions or concerns. Also, make sure they know how long each step in the process takes and what funds will be required. Hard data, like CMAs and pre-approvals, help set realistic expectations for buyers and sellers.
Worst Case Scenario
Prepare your clients for the worst possible outcomes as well as typical, smaller challenges that could derail a sale. Review ways to handle these issues.
Get Ready for Emotions
For non-investor clients, buying and selling a house is a process wracked with emotions. They are choosing or leaving the place they call home. There will be lots of emotional ups and downs as the process progresses. Some people have trouble making decisions and some are procrastinators. Many buyers second guess themselves and deal with buyer’s remorse. Prepare yourself and your clients for these natural emotional phases.
Sometimes you’ll have to deal with an upset client or customer. With particularly difficult person, remember to:
- Remain calm and professional
- Avoid arguing
- Listen and acknowledge the problem
- Offer to fix the problem
- Identify why the person is behaving in this manner
Remember that a little empathy can go a long way. Think back to when you bought or sold your first house and try to see things from their perspective.
Real estate agents juggle a lot of topics, roles, and processes. You’re always on your toes. If you want to improve your game with new skills and knowledge, visit 360training.com, home to prelicense, CE, and post license training online available anytime you need it.
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About the author: Michelle RoebuckView all posts by Michelle Roebuck
Michelle Roebuck is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. After spending more than a decade as a journalist and on-air personality in radio and TV, Michelle moved on to marketing and PR. She has a deep background in retail and food service merchandizing and operations. As a marketing manager for food services in a large suburban school district, Michelle learned the intimate details of kitchen management and the critical importance of safety in all aspects of operation. Michelle is married with two boys and enjoys exercising, shopping, eating out, watching football and traveling with her family.