As Realtors, we face challenges every day with clients and yes, even other Realtors. The realtors I can handle, it’s those particular clients that sometimes make it tough to enjoy what I do. Though the obstacles differ from client to client, we are here to service our clients and give the best possible service for maximum results.
So, how do you deal with that stubborn client who thinks they know better and goes against all of your basic beliefs and advice? It’s rather frustrating, no doubt, and managing a client who does everything possible to avoid being managed is territory we’d all prefer to sidestep at any cost necessary.
Fully pre-screen your client s needs and wants from the beginning.
This is such a brilliant way of preventing any clashes throughout the buying-selling process. Before any real work begins, during the “listening” stage, be sure to ask high value questions. This will allow you to get a clear understanding of their individual wants, needs and non-negotiable items.
This will not only make you have a much better understanding, but it will also give you the opportunity to see what they are like as people. If you can identify personality traits that could cause problems or friction along the way, then you can also plan on how to avoid these clashes.
Pay attention t your clients and really listen to their requests.
If you have an indecisive of non-negotiable client, then one of the most valuable things you can do is listen to them. No better opportunity will arise for you to take note of their wants and needs and dispel any negativity. This approach completely covers your back and prevents your client from becoming unsatisfied with your efforts.
The key approach is to let the client talk until they have finished — this allows them to get all of their initial concerns and queries off their chest, while feeling listened to and in good hands. It also allows you, as the real estate agent, to see if any of their concerns are legitimate. More often than not, their concerns easily solved, but giving the client an opportunity to voice them and dispel them is a vital part of the process.
Whatever you do, don’t panic and don’t lose your cool and say something that you will regret!
You’ll have some clients that are absolute pleasures to work with. And then you’ll have others who are, for lack of better phrasing, less pleasant to work with. This is just life, don’t take it personal. Despite your impulse reaction to deny your services to this client and run far away – there’s no need to throw in the towel just because your client is difficult or stubborn.
Communication is always key, in any relationship.
Some clients don’t care how you get to the finish line, only that you do. Other clients prefer updates every step of the way. When red flags are beginning to show as you work with your client, it’s good to sit down and ask how they prefer you communicate updates, positive or negative. Offer a few suggestions – maybe they would benefit from a weekly touch-point call or even a nightly summary email of the day’s work. Either way, you’ll need to know in advance how to let them know you’ve hit a roadblock. Should a roadblock arise and your client reacts poorly to the news, you’ll be able to reference the conversation you had regarding communication expectations.
Don’t hide behind the computer screen.
Avoid adding fuel to any flames when difficult conversations with your clients arise. In an effort to engage in a healthy conversation, suggest meeting in person with your client. People tend to feel bolder when they’re hiding behind the curtain of an email or passive aggressive text message thread.
If your client brings up their frustration via email or text, kindly suggest that you’d prefer to meet in person. If that’s not possible, suggest a video call. I am a huge fan of Facetime when discussing updates with clients who are unable to meet in person. Remind your client that you want to make things right and the best way to do that will be in person or over a video call. Scheduling a meeting time will allow you to prepare and it will give your client time to cool down. #winning!
Know the line and don’t let anyone cross it.
Sometimes you really will have that client who gets dangerously close to the line. Perhaps they’re taking advantage of you, treating you cruelly despite your best effort, or not giving you the tools you need to be successful. Whatever the case might be for you, it’s important to understand that your wellbeing is important.
There is such a thing as oil and water relationships between service provider and client – they aren’t healthy for anyone involved. Best to kindly wish your client well, refer them to other well-respected colleagues who might be better suited for the project, and respectfully part ways. Sometimes the best thing to do to avoid burning a bridge is to part ways amicably.
Educate your clients accordingly.
As a real estate professional, it’s imperative to be proactive rather than reactive. It’s our responsibility to make sure that we are educated with the most updated practices, methods and housing market trends to impart our wisdom onto our clients.
Once clients have a clearer understanding of the market, they have a more defined appreciation of the hard work and effort put into the process by the agent.
If clients have a better understanding of the depths of your knowledge, then they will be more inclined to take your decision on board, which will make the process a more enjoyable and smooth experience.
Be empathetic with your client during this process.
Often, when we clash with our client and cannot find a connection, it’s because we are trying to make them see things our way.
This is an easy habit to fall into, but it will also be the cause of many client disagreements and will essentially make your work life much more difficult than need be.
Instead of being stubborn, it’s beneficial to take a step back and place yourself in the same situation, how would you behave? What would your expectations be?
Following these simple steps could make your life as a real estate professional so much easier. Difficult clients come with the territory, but it’s important to understand why they are being difficult and have the resources and understanding to provide a solution.
Whether your client’s frustration is justified (the project isn’t going as smoothly as you’d hoped it would) or it’s unwarranted (their frustration is spurring irrationally and they’re not treating you well), keep in mind that you have influence over the dynamic of every conversation. Pause, take a deep breath, and approach every situation with calmness. Remember, your reputation is on the line. Even if you need to end the relationship with your client, you’ll want to maintain your reputation as a professional within your field. So, whatever you do, deal with your difficult clients wisely!
With Love | Nikki xo