Real estate agents’ challenges include competition, environmental change, shifting political climates, volatile markets, rising mortgage rates, and evolving technology trends. Still, one of their significant challenges comes in the form of hard to please clients.
Working with clients can come with lots of rewards, once in a while or more often than you would think. Every real estate professional will be in a situation where he/she has to deal with a client who is overly demanding, unrealistic, or just rude.
Clients like these come with the territory, but it is only by working with demanding clients that agents genuinely earn the professional title. Below are four ways you can handle such clients to help make the working process more manageable. But before that, here are some of the most challenging types of clients you could encounter as a real estate agent.
Most Challenging Real Estate Clients
- The know-it-all clients who believe they know more about the real estate business than you.
- The people-pleaser client is the one who is agreeable and hates to say something negative. These can be slow to deliver, even though they always say yes. Their personality more often gets in the way of giving the agent honest feedback, thereby hindering forward movement.
- The rant and rave clients who bully you and other people around. These are often loud, pushy and tend to overreact about everything.
- Aggressive clients that feel that their needs should come first. They will consistently act like you do not have other clients and continuously follow up through every means of contact; even those you do not approve of. Likely, they may be aggressive even before you have had the chance to assess the situation.
- The nit-picky, extremely particular, and detail-oriented ones. Sometimes, these clients are unwilling to compromise.
#1 Perform a Pre-Screening to Filter Difficult Clients
Your prospects are individuals with different personalities and personal needs. As a professional real estate agent, you need to identify these personality types and sell to them. Of course, it is tough to please everyone, but if you know the kinds of personalities you work with, you will be better prepared to account for conflicts, deal with them efficiently, and have happy clients.
One way of identifying the personality of your potential client is by conducting a pre-screening meeting. By having a pre-screening arrangement, you get a good idea of how a client will behave once you are working together. Think of the pre-screening meeting as a job interview, with the prospect as your candidate. During the pre-screening period,
- Take notes of their behavior and attitudinal patterns: Are they on time for your meeting? Are they presentable? Are they courteous?
- Explain to the potential clients what you need from them to do your job effectively.
- Ask them about their objectives, challenges, situation, and expectation.
The pre-screen interview is a way to filter out any difficult personality that clashes heavily with yours. If you find yourself with a problematic client you cannot work with, the best way to deal with them is not to take them in the first place.
Let your clients talk or vent until they are finished. Listening serves two purposes. One, they get their concerns off their chests and get to know that you care about them. Two, you find out if any of their problems are legitimate.
Yes, some demanding clients are indeed plain unreasonable. But most of the time, the concerns are personal, and their difficult attitudes are because they do not know how to articulate them. By listening to them, you will find out the issues or misunderstandings. You will also solve their concerns quickly and get them into the first step of closing a deal.
#3 Explain the Process to Them in Simple Terms
Some real estate clients are overbearing or hostile because they do not understand your role or the real estate industry. For example, most first-time buyers and sellers do not know the process of buying and selling. Most people are silently wishing you would take the lead and help them decide by telling them at each stage what you will be doing to service them.
On their part, many real estate brokerages and agents fail to educate their prospective clients as to how interactions should go between the agent and the buyer/seller. By not being honest and open with the clients, you fail to allay their fears and make them confident in their decision. So, instead of being defensive and losing a deal over a challenging client, explain to them the current housing market in simple terms. If they want to look up data and see what other homes in their range are selling for, let them.
However, you should know when to put your foot down and refuse to be tossed about by challenging clients. Doing this not only clears your client’s unrealistic expectations but also provides proof of your knowledge and authority, leading to more trust. Also, it enhances your image and worth as a true professional.
#4 Prepare to Empathize
There is nothing that can make emotions run as high as it does in real estate transactions. Buyers are looking for the perfect building, and sellers choose to leave a place they may have treasured. This can cause clients to procrastinate in making up their minds. So, instead of being stubborn and acting frustrated, put yourself in their shoes. Empathizing can help you design the best agent-client experience for both of you.
Often, when you cannot connect with a client, you are trying to convince them to see things from your perspective. However, when you can see the buying or selling process through your client’s eyes, you can create an experience that better serves their needs and pushes the sales through the finish line.
While empathizing, however, you need to set boundaries. You are the professional in the transaction, so ensure that your client understands what services you provide and what you will and will not do. Ensure they know how long each step in the process will take and what is required to complete it successfully.
Disclose your expectations at the beginning of the relationship (preferably during the pre-screening interview). If there are conditions that need to be noted down and formed into a contract, writing service reviews like Writing Judge and Best Writers Online could guide you to the best contract writers. Such terms of condition or agreement could include a preferred communication method, periods of availability, and needed documents.
When All Else Fails… Breaking Up with a Client
The joy of every real estate agent is to get clients that will generate repeat business and referrals. As such, the notion of ending a client relationship may seem rather odd and overwhelmingly crazy. However, there are times when you will need to stop some client relationships.
Sometimes, some clients are just there to test the waters with no real intention of making a move. Also, others have very unrealistic expectations and are unwilling to understand and accept the market’s realities. Note that ending the relationship may allow the client to find an agent with whom they might make a good fit.
It might also help them recognize any destructive behaviors that may hinder them from success with the next person. On your side, you can keep your reputation intact, have more time to devote to advancing your real estate career, and focus on those individuals with whom you have established a positive relationship.