Dealing With Tough Clients
Working with people is, well … like anyone would expect. There are highs, and lows, and clients that become lifelong friends, and clients that you can barely make it through the first meeting. We’re here to say that’s totally normal. But also - who wants to be in conflict with a client? Here is our best advice for dealing with those clients that prove to be a bit tougher.
Ahead of Time:
Fingers crossed that it isn’t too late, but meeting and getting to know a potential client before working with them can be a huge headache saver. Sometimes, personalities clash, and no matter how great of an agent you are, it’s going to be a difficult road to travel down together. However, most of all, assuming you do want to take on this client, you are expectation setting on both ends, which makes for a much smoother start than had you not.
In similar vein to meeting and talking about expectations, one of the easiest things to do to avoid conflict with clients is to listen. Really listen. They may be telling you the very things that are then frustrating down the line. Putting yourself in their shoes is also an easy way to empathize and see where they’re coming from.
When Clients Are …
Sometimes, (maybe thanks to HGTV?), clients have their sights set on homes that are far beyond their budget, and just can’t seem to find what they are looking for in their price range. This often leads to many showings of houses that aren’t in their price range when left up to their own devices. For these clients, mapping out exactly the type of home you can get for a given price range, and proactively setting up showings will help keep these clients on a realistic track.
Although we all want to give our clients as much individualized attention as possible, we also know that sometimes clients have higher expectations than can possibly be met. To start, give clear expectations of what you want your communication to look like. Maybe you typically respond at certain times or have off-hours you follow that they need to know. You can also email quick responses acknowledging that you got their email and will respond at a later time, if something requires more of an in depth response than you have time for at the moment. Something else that can help clients move forward without your undivided attention each day, is to give them assignments in between meetings that further their own research, and decision making.
(However, also be honest with yourself if you either don’t have time to take on another client, or need to hire an assistant!)
Because of past experiences, stereotypes of real estate agents or just plain lack of knowledge, clients may come in the with the fear that you don’t know what you’re doing as an agent. For clients like this, it’s best to educate them on the entire process as thoroughly as you can. Then, with each step explain exactly what will happen and how you will be of service to them. With more knowledge, the trust in both the process and you as an agent will grow.
Whether it’s because the client genuinely thinks they are going to get a deal if they come in with an incredibly low offer, or they just aren’t serious about the property, offers that are too low can be a major waste of time for both you and the client. When this happens, educating the client on negotiation best practices, and talking through the offer with the client to get it to a point you both agree on are great places to start. If the client still is wanting too conservative of an offer, helping the client find differently priced properties might be your best bet.